“I’m really glad to be here,” the executive said on a Zoom call.

That’s funny, I thought. Someone should tell his face.

I know this guy and he’s a decent human being. He was probably distracted or irritated or anxious, so he unintentionally lied with his words while his face told the truth.

Pro listeners know that emotions often reveal the truth no matter how much we want to hide it. And that truth is that we’re telling ourselves stories all of the time.

  • If I’m disappointed (aka sad), I may be telling myself that something I had hoped for hasn’t happened and may never happen.
  • If I’m anxious (aka afraid), I may be telling myself that something ominous is lurking around the corner.
  • If I’m embarrassed (aka ashamed), I may be telling myself that others are looking down on me.
  • If I’m irritated (aka angry), I may be telling myself that someone is stepping on my toes or poking me with sharp elbows.

Pros know this. So they listen with their eyes and their hearts. They notice mismatches between what a person says and the emotional cues they give off. When they see those mismatches, they get curious. They slow down. They watch more.

That’s how they learn the truth. That’s how they discover what’s really going on.

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