There’s a Tell For Everything

Earlier this year I was invited to deliver some sales training for some clients in Dubai. It was over three days and I trained over 60 people. Nothing unusual about that, but carting 60 sets of workbooks through the skies meant I had to take out with me 2 large suitcases, one completely filled with workbooks.

Naturally, on my return journey I still had two large suitcases, again nothing odd there. But if you factor in that I was a businessman in a suit returning from a business trip in Dubai with two huge suitcases, it does start to look a little out of the ordinary.

The customs official at Heathrow airport thought so too and beckoned me over as I passed through customs. Here comes the suitcase search I thought, thinking about missing my train home.

He began by asking me some odd questions:

“How are you today Sir?” – Fine

“Do these suitcases belong to you?” – Yes (obviously, since I was carrying them)

“Have you been to Dubai on business?” – Yes (obviously really since I was in a suit)

“Was it warm out there?” – Yes (obviously again, it’s always warm in Dubai)

I soon figured what he was doing. He was observing me closely, looking at my physiology – body language, facial expressions – he was observing my signals when I said the word “yes”. I knew what he was going to do next. Do the same thing with the word “no”.

“Did you manage to get any sleep?” – No (obviously – it was a daytime flight of only 6 hours)

“Have you been doing any dangerous sports in Dubai sir?” – No (good odds that most business meetings in Dubai don’t involve bungee jumping)

“Do you have anything in those cases, that shouldn’t be in there?” – No (this was the truth).

“Off you go then Sir, and sorry to trouble you”. And I left.

You see he had calibrated my physiology for when I said no and was telling the truth. The body doesn’t lie, there’s a tell for everything and he found it for the word “no” and didn’t even bother to search the case. Clever man.

The police do this, barristers in court. I do it with my three children and I know when they’re lying.

Remember, physiology, there’s always a tell for everything you do.

Thankfully I managed to catch my train home, it was a long arduous journey and I was keen to get the train so thank you NLP calibration for helping me do this.