I found this article in The Economist reporting on a study regarding lies on conference calls interesting.
David Larcker and Anastasia Zakolyukina of Stanfordâ€™s Graduate School of Business analysed the transcripts of nearly 30,000 conference calls by American chief executives and chief financial officers between 2003 and 2007. They noted each bossâ€™s choice of words, and how he delivered them. They drew on psychological studies that show how people speak differently when they are fibbing, testing whether these â€œtellsâ€ were more common during calls to discuss profits that were later â€œmaterially restatedâ€, as the euphemism goes. They published their findings in a paper called â€œDetecting Deceptive Discussions in Conference Callsâ€.
Here is a summary of the tells the researchers found.
- more references to general knowledge rather than specific details
- more extreme emotion words
- avoiding “I” to mean taking ownership of results
- fewer hesitation words
- more frequent swear words
Here is where archives of work’s town hall meetings or even important emails could be very enlightening. Looking back through my own emails I obviously need to clean up my all too often references to “the DBAs” rather than “I”.