Psychologists say people who are lying tend to use a few revealing words and phrases which can be used to betray their dishonesty.
For example, if an innocent person is accused of, say, stealing something, he or she will simply protest “No I didn’t steal it!”
A guilty person however, will be more likely to say: “Believe me, I didn’t steal it!” or “The honest truth is I didn’t steal it!” or “Let me be clear, I didn’t steal it!”.
And now – according to very interesting research by the Academy of Executive Coaching – we can now reveal the 10 most common phrases which cause distrust particularly when used by executives and politicians.
The ten most commonly used phrases which arouse suspicion and point to dishonesty are:
Interestingly – but not entirely surprisingly – a quick check of recent speeches by Theresa May, shows she uses them extensively.
Her speeches are literally peppered with them:
So there you are, experts confirm what most of us knew all along anyway.
Don’t trust Theresa May.
Here’s the full press release from the AoEC:
PRESS RELEASE: 11 JANUARY 2017
HONESTLY, MANY PEOPLE THINK THE ACTUAL TRUTH IS THAT, IN THESE CHALLENGING CONDITIONS, THERE IS, TO BE CLEAR, A REAL AND GENUINE PROBLEM WITH THE USE OF, FRANKLY, INSINCERE LANGUAGE
The use of supposedly reassuring words and phrases such as “honestly”, “believe me”, “trust me” and “let me be clear” when spoken by politicians and business leaders cause instant distrust, backfiring spectacularly by suggesting the exact opposite of their intended effect.
The use of complicated language is also likely to cause people to distrust what they hear, according to an online poll by the Academy of Executive Coaching. 83% of those surveyed were more likely to trust someone who used simple language than someone hiding behind more complicated wording. 57% were also more likely to believe someone giving short, concise answers rather than going into more detail.
The ten most commonly used phrases which arouse suspicion include:
Gina Lodge, CEO of the Academy of Executive Coaching, said: “If someone repeatedly has to reassure you that what they are saying is true, that is an instant red flag that they are trying to mislead you. Similarly, a long, complicated answer is likely to be seen as evasiveness – trying to find a way to avoid telling the truth without actually lying.”
The survey also found that the three qualities that are most important to how trustworthy a politician or business leader appears are emotional openness, calm rationality and benevolence. Displays of aggression, competitiveness and outspokenness were likely to cause people to question the trustworthiness of public figures.
“This may come as a surprise given recent events in the US,” said Gina Lodge. “During the election campaign, we saw how Trump deliberately used provocative language in his speeches. But he also used openly emotional language. He talked about his opponents being ‘mean’ to him or making ‘rude’ comments. He avoids speaking in managerial clichés and uses simple, direct language. This, more than the meaning of what he says, is why he was able to connect with people in such a powerful way.”
The AoEC recently partnered with John Blakey, author of The Trusted Executive, to identify what leadership qualities help inspire trust. John Blakey said: “The boardroom has traditionally been a very aggressive, competitive space – illustrated by candidates on the Apprentice talking about how they’re ‘not here to make friends’ but as we move to a more open and transparent business landscape, this no longer works. Ideas of benevolence are becoming more and more important.”
Gina Lodge added: “Many companies pride themselves for understanding ‘soft skills’ and talking about the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). But this is not enough. The word ‘intelligence’ makes it sound like a head skill when what is required is to speak openly from the heart, embracing benevolence, kindness, evangelism and love.”
John Blakey added: “I speak to lots of companies about the importance of evangelising about your business in order to win over new customers. One company asked if I could use a different word instead of ‘evangelise’ to make the message more in line with business talk, even though my whole point was that organisations need to move away from the cold language of the boardroom and adopt the same tone that we use among friends and family – the people we trust most of all. If we use honest, transparent language at home and connect with each other there through recognising positive emotions, then it also makes sense to use this approach in business.”
– Ends –
About the Academy of Executive Coaching (AoEC)
The AoEC exists to both provide the highest quality accredited coach training to individuals and to manage culture change at all levels of an organisation with both small and large scale developments. We do this through a combination of expert consultancy, coaching, training of internal coaches and leadership and management development.
AoEC have an International faculty, the largest pool of coaches trained to the highest global professional standards and an expert consultancy team.