Advertising
Advertising

How to Detect Crap Talk

How to Detect Crap Talk

When was the last time you told a lie? Whether we like to admit it or not, we all engage in day-to-day deception. In fact, research shows that during a typical day, the average American adult tells one or two lies.[1] We may tell lies to avoid criticism, rejection, or to avoid losing out at work or in our personal lives. However, some lies are particularly more toxic. They are fabrications designed craps to hurt or manipulate. In other words, people can talk complete crap to gain control over others. For the sake of your own wellbeing, it’s essential that you learn how to spot crap talk.

Why do people talk crap?

Most people talk crap for purely self-serving purposes. They may lie to protect their image, for instance by denying that they have committed a violation of the law or broken a social rule. It’s also common for liars to engage in deception to protect something or someone they want or value, or to evade a punishment they would receive were someone else to discover the truth. You can think of this kind of talk as a suit of armor. A liar can hide behind it, and over time can even construct an entirely false persona.

    Unfortunately, when lying works, someone is more likely to repeat the behavior in the future. This drives a wedge between them and others, damaging their relationships. Lies can also hurt others directly. For instance, when someone tries to offload the blame onto others or spread malicious gossip or fake news, relationships can be destroyed and reputations ruined overnight.

    Advertising

      Luckily, once you understand how to detect crap, you can protect yourself against it.

      Disarm crap talk

      You should actively expect others to talk nonsense from time to time, and accept that they are going to lie to you. When someone tells you something that doesn’t quite feel right, be sure to investigate further.

      Advertising

        Questions—your best weapon against crap talk

        When something doesn’t add up, ask the speaker a few probing questions. Questions such as “Why do you think that?” “Can you explain your reasoning here?” and “What is your evidence in support of that view?” push the other person to fabricate details, and they will eventually get caught out when their story doesn’t make sense. If someone tries to push a statistic or so-called “fact” on you, ask to see their sources. If they can’t send you a reliable link to a good source, chances are that they are misinformed or talking crap in order to advance their agenda.

        Another sign that someone is talking crap is a reluctance to discuss the issue further, because they know that they will be exposed if you keep asking them questions. For example, if someone argues that redundancies in a company are “unavoidable” but then become evasive when asked to outline the decision-making process that resulted in this outcome, it’s likely that mistakes have been made and they are just covering up for their own incompetence.

        Jargon is a big red flag

        Sometimes, we have to use jargon in discussion. For instance, medical jargon will crop up in conversation among doctors and nurses. However, overly-complex words and needlessly elaborate jargon are often used to conceal lies or distort the truth. Don’t let anyone make you feel stupid. If you don’t understand something, keep asking clarifying questions until the speaker distills their message down to plain English. If they can’t or won’t do this, you should consider the possibility that they are trying to deceive you.

        Get a third opinion if you can, preferably from someone with a background in the area. They will be able to tell you whether the jargon you have been hearing is just technical talk, or merely a vehicle for crap talk.

        Advertising

        Here are two examples of how someone might use jargon to conceal what’s really going on:

        “We are attempting to think outside the box and undergo and extensive company restructure that will facilitate the dynamic interpersonal collaboration of our two largest departments.”

        In plain English, this means that the company is taking a new approach (“thinking outside the box”) by laying people off (“extensive company restructure”) and merging two departments together (“dynamic interpersonal collaboration”).

        This kind of crap talk is used to confuse people and stop them asking questions that get to the real heart of the matter, i.e. the full story behind these changes and what it will mean for those whose jobs are on the line.

        Advertising

        If all else fails, give it time

        Not only does time heal all wounds, but time tends to reveal all crap talk. If someone tells a significant lie, it’s a matter of time before the truth comes out. For instance, a wife may deny that she is having an affair, but in the end she will likely get caught. To use a business context, a manager may maintain that everything is just fine in his team, but one day he will probably snap and tell the junior staff precisely what he thinks of them!

        If someone is adamant that their view on an issue is correct, this should be verifiable via other sources. Depending on the situation, this might be mutual friends, colleagues, news sources, your personal experience, and scientific evidence. Don’t be afraid to confront the speaker with evidence that disproves their position if you can.

        Cut the crap

        The next time your gut instinct kicks in, pay close attention to what someone is saying and how they are saying it. If someone is speaking the truth, they won’t mind answering reasonable questions or explaining ideas in simple terms. Although it isn’t nice to think that most people lie at least occasionally, equipping yourself with the tools you need to spot lies will at least save you hassle at both work and home.

        Featured photo credit: Deviant Art via e400.deviantart.com

        Reference

        More by this author

        Anna Chui

        Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

        The Desire to Be Liked Will End You up Feeling More Rejected Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering This 4-Year Old Girl’s Explanation On the Problem with New Year’s Resolutions Is Everything You Need What You Really Need to Feel Secure in a Relationship 12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

        Trending in Social Animal

        1 If You Think You’re in an Unhappy Marriage, Remember These 5 Things 2 6 True Struggles of Interracial Relationships (and How to Overcome Them) 3 The Desire to Be Liked Will End You up Feeling More Rejected 4 How Divorce Affects Children: The Good and the Not So Good 5 How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on March 14, 2019

        7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

        7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

        Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

        For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

        Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

        1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

        A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

        It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

        It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

        How it helps you:

        If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

        Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

        2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

        Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

        Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

        Advertising

        How it helps you:

        Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

        Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

        If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

        Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

        3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

        Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

        Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

        How it helps you:

        This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

        For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

        Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

        Advertising

        A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

        4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

        To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

        A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

        How it helps you:

        One word: hierarchy.

        All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

        In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

        If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

        5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

        Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

        Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

        How it helps you:

        Advertising

        Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

        If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

        This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

        6. What do you like about working here?

        This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

        Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

        How it helps you:

        You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

        Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

        Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

        7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

        What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

        As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

        Advertising

        How it helps you:

        What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

        First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

        Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

        Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

        Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

        Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

        Making Your Interview Work for You

        Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

        Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

        More Resources About Job Interviews

        Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

        Read Next