in: People, Podcast, Social Skills

• Last updated: September 29, 2021

Podcast #364: How to Know When Someone is Lying (From a Former CIA Officer)

Have you ever been burned by somebody because they told you an outright lie? It can happen in your personal or business life – you’re on cloud nine when your girlfriend says she loves you, only to find out later she’s been cheating on you for months; a client says their business is solvent, but they end up bankrupt, and you lose a ton of money on an account.

Wouldn’t it be great to avoid these situations by being able to tell right then and there if someone is lying to you? Well, my guest today spent his career in the CIA sussing out deceptive behavior and developed a system to help other agents know when someone is lying or telling the truth. His name is Michael Floyd, and besides being a former CIA agent, he’s also the co-author of the book Spy the Lie. On today’s show, Michael dispels some myths about lie detection, like for example, there’s really no such thing as lie detection. Rather, Michael argues, you should focus on behavioral and verbal cues that suggest someone is deceiving you, and when you see those cues, to investigate further. He then walks us through the system he used during his career as a CIA agent and now as a corporate consultant to flush out liars. 

Show Highlights

  • Michael Floyd’s background and how he got into study lying and deception 
  • Can you really be a “human lie detector”? 
  • Why polygraph tests aren’t actually lie detectors 
  • Why is it so hard to know if someone is lying? 
  • Why you actually need to ignore some truthfulness in detecting lies 
  • The idea of “professional skepticism” 
  • Clusters of behaviors to look for when spotting a lie 
  • How do you both observe and listen for deceptive behavior at the same time?
  • Verbal indicators that people might be deceiving you
  • Non-verbal indicators — automatic reactions — that people might be deceiving you 
  • Why eye contact is no longer used as a deception indicator 
  • How liars use aggression when they feel cornered 
  • Questions to avoid in trying to spot deception 
  • How to ask the right questions, and ask them well
  • How to respond to peoples answers when trying to detect lying 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Book cover of Spy the lie by Philip houston, Michael floyd and Susan carnicero.

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

Available on itunes.

Available on stitcher.

Soundcloud logo.

Pocketcasts logo.

Google play podcast.

Listen to the episode on a separate page.

Download this episode.

Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.

Podcast Sponsors

Saxx Underwear. Everything you didn’t know you needed in a pair of underwear. Get 20% off your first purchase by visiting

Proper Cloth. Stop wearing shirts that don’t fit. Start looking your best with a custom fitted shirt. Go to and enter gift code MANLINESS to save $20 on your first shirt.

Barbell Logic Online Coaching. For the past two years, I’ve worked with Starting Strength Coach Matt Reynolds in my barbell training. In those two years, I’ve gained 40lbs of muscle while taking an inch off of my waist and I’ve hit PRs that I never thought I’d hit at my age. If you want to get stronger and healthier, get started with Barbell Logic Online Coaching. Go to Barbell Logic Online Coaching and use code AOMPODCAST at checkout to save $50 on your registration.

Click here to see a full list of our podcast sponsors.

Recorded with

Read the Transcript

Coming soon!

Related Posts