People lies around us very often. But how can one recognize the deceptions? 3 steps to the truth.

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How an investor exposed the big lie

Steve Marks, a Northern California venture capitalist, had a good feeling in the fall of 2005 when he Office of the manager entered. He was a guest of a young, aspiring Company for computer animations to see if these would be worth getting into invest. They seemed a good match right away. In the company, which was located in San Francisco's trendy South of Market district, he met fashionably dressed people Boy Animators busily working at their desks, striding briskly across the long open office space. Marks loved the enthusiasm of the staff and the productive atmosphere of the place. That was exactly what he had in mind. He was aware that the company had reduced its production costs by 40 percent of the industry average. Part of the work was outsourced to the Far East, which created ideal conditions for dominating the market in a few years.

The numbers looked good - all he had to do now was make sure the manager had enough foresight to do that Company to a safe and profitable one Investment close. The CEO wasted no time with a formal one Presentation. Rather, he guided Marks through the various premises, pointed out various aspects of the work and answered Marks' Ask almost in passing. He noticed that he spoke hastily and sometimes got a few words mixed up, but otherwise he was effective confident and composed. He was clearly proud of what his company had accomplished in such a short amount of time, and Marks could see why.

Don't fall for actors

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After the tour, he thanked the manager and went to the elevators. He was practical for surethat he would return to the office with good news. On his way to the exit he passed a desk at which a young woman dressed all in black Ms. sat. With her leather vest and nose ring, she looked more like a party-loving night owl than a conscientious office worker - which wasn't that unusual, because after all it was a young, unconventional company. Marks paused and watched the woman staring intently at the screen. "What are you working on now?" He asked casually.

The young woman looked at him. »What am I working on? Oh, just a software story, ”she said. They talked about innocuous topics for a while before Marks finally said goodbye. He had changed his mind. He knew he wasn't going to invest in the company after all. Marks went straight back to the manager's office, but this time he wanted to ask him some completely different questions. It didn't take long for him to be certain that the young woman and many of the other "company employees" were actually actors. They had been hired for Marks' visit to create the impression of busyness and thriving entrepreneurship - the opposite of what actually happened: the company was actually on the verge of bankruptcy. Marks had thus witnessed the actors collecting fees that were actually intended for staff that did not even exist. Moreover, he had avoided making an extremely bad investment. How did he do it?

Surrounded by lies

Steve Marks' story is just one glamorous example of the kind of deception we encounter every day. All too often we hear in the media of people whose Trust abused - by a dishonest stockbroker, investment adviser, employee or board member who leaked information to the press, and the fatal consequences of such breach of trust. And if the abundance of bad news isn't enough for you, the Eyes rubbing and asking, "Could this happen to me, too?" consider the following statistics:

Why we don't recognize lies

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Repeated studies have shown that the average adult is only 54 percent truthful lie can distinguish. That's as good as guessed! We don't seem to be able to trust our own abilities very much in this respect. Chimpanzees happen to have more or less the same hit rate. It is important to note that this statistic applies only to cases where we already suspect that someone might be scamming us. And: The more convinced we are of our ability to uncover lies, the worse we are at it as a rule.

The reason for this is obvious, although not necessarily obvious. Although our lives are riddled with deception, it is in our best interest, as a species and as a civilized one Society to maintain what psychologists call the "truth assumption." When we have no reason to think the opposite, we humans - and Americans in particular - tend to take what we see and/or hear at face value.

We believe in the truth

From the Trojan Horse to Richard Nixon's "I'm Not a Villain"; from Lancelot and Guinevere's adultery to Bill Clinton's "I didn't have sex with that woman." Or from the playback sung hits that Career-Out of Milli Vanilli meant, until Chinese officials tale which girl sang the national anthem at the Beijing Olympics; from Charles Ponzi to Bernard Madoff, it's a snap to find examples of lies that are both legendary and historical. Lies have changed the course of human history - and not just in large Style, even individual fates did not remain unaffected.

And yet we stick to the assumption that we are usually told the truth. Without this basic trust, our civilization could not survive for a day. Just try to imagine a society where everyone looks at each other with suspicion. Could normal human transactions and encounters still take place in such a scenario? Every trade would come to a standstill, investigations and discoveries would be stopped, even normal parent-child relationships - which are not always the best anyway - would be overshadowed by mistrust ...

There is a lot at stake

As we get better at spotting lies, the more sophisticated the liars' stories become. The more well thought-out their old wives' tales and tales of thieves are, the more ingenious are the techniques required to catch them. We can observe this evolutionary progress almost every hour when we open our e-mail inbox. Even if we oppose the latest spam emails and Online-Defend scam attempts by setting up firewalls and filters, spammers always seem to be one step ahead of us and new ones keep coming ways of Tampering to find. At the present time, phishing causes annual damage of 3,2 billion US dollars in the United States.14 According to current forecasts, the annual damage in Germany is around 17 million euros.15

Although there are numerous examples of cheating, lying and betraying in all areas of life - just think of marriage, religion or politics - it is above all the business world that offers an ideal environment to embrace the constantly changing nature of Take a closer look at lies and deceptions. As business is becoming increasingly global, it has become all the more urgent for us to rethink the basis on which we trust someone, because there is an enormous amount at stake.

3 steps: how to recognize delusions

When someone says, "Oh, I sent the report to you two days ago. Didn't you get my email? ”Then we tend to believe him and assume that the message was lost due to a technical failure in the transmission. It is not just our tendency to believe things or events to be true that blinds us when we are deceived. To make matters worse, while we are trying to spot lies, we are not given a clear indication of whether we actually hit. If you throw your serve out in tennis, the mistake is obvious; Targeted practice increases the likelihood of bringing the ball into the field the next time.

We could possibly put computer chips in our brains to catch our lies, and yet there would still be enough Bernie Madoffs on this one Welt give who could find a way to outsmart. But why is that Problem of lying become more acute? Because deception has now reached epidemic proportions. Because the number of media available today to create and spread lies is growing almost unchecked and there is no sign that this trend will slow down any time soon. Not least because the storm of indignation that used to break out when someone shouted "Liar!" has long since subsided.

How to practice recognizing delusions

One would think that we humans would have been wise by experience a few thousand years ago, considering the amount of evidence that confirms that you just can't trust some of your contemporaries. However, suspicion of deception is not always correctly confirmed. But without certainty, it is difficult to get better at exposing lies. Ask the following questions:

There are always two: Don't agree to the lie

No one can lie to you without your consent. The liar and the lied to work Hand in hand to prepare the ground for the lie. A lie gains power not by being told, but by someone agreeing to believe it.

What to do if you lose trust?

In our society, the brisk circulation of Money and information backed by a basic trust that we take for granted. If monthly salary goes into our account, the bank grants us credit. When we buy food with a seal of approval, we assume that it is safe to eat. When we hire a reputable and talented accountant, he will do our firm's finances to the best of his ability Background and manage conscience. Only when the bond of trust is broken do we realize how much we rely on it to keep ours Shops – and ours assets - to place on a stable foundation.

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