I mentioned in a previous blog that a deception is a combination of body language and a verbal indicator. I’ll be exploring verbal indicators in the upcoming blogs and posts. Here’s the first one and it involves the non-use of contractions.

A contraction is the process of shortening a word by combination. We use them in our everyday speech. For example, instead of saying “I am not ready to leave yet.” we might say “I’m not ready to leave yet.” We’ve combined two words, I and am, into a shorter word – “I’m”. (I apologize if I brought back bad memories of your elementary school grammar lessons. I too found them excruciatingly boring and tedious!)

According to Laurie Ayers, the Managing Director of Concealed Statements, non-truthful people are less likely to use contractions. They’ll profess their innocence by eliminating contractions from their speech. Here are some famous non-contraction denials.

  • “I did not have sexual relations with that woman… Miss Lewinsky” – President. Bill Clinton, 1998.
  • “I can emphatically say I am not on drugs.” “I have never had a single positive doping test, and I do not take performance-enhancing drugs.” – Lance Armstrong 1999, 2004.
  • “I say that I am innocent of those charges.” – Jerry Sandusky, 2004.
  • “I am not a crook.” – President, Richard Nixon, 1973.

History has proven these statements false. They were bald-faced lies.

It’s important you don’t rely entirely on the use or non-use of contractions as an indicator of guilt. Also look for accompanying body language. The verbal indicators are red flags and should encourage you to dig deeper by asking more probing questions.

Peel back the layers of the onion with well thought out, strategic questions.