words that should trip your bs detector

August 12, 2010

in communication

here’s an HR communication lesson for companies trying to inch back up their sagging engagement scores.

two stanford professors have figured out how to tell if a CEO is lying. the professors created a model to test whether they could find clues to CEO deception by looking at earnings transcripts and revised earnings reports. turns out, they could.

“…they seldom referred to themselves or their firms in the first person; ‘I’ and ‘we’ were replaced by terms like ‘the team’ and ‘the company.’ Deceitful executives passed up humdrum adjectives like ‘solid’ and ‘respectable’ in favor of gushing words like ‘fantastic,’ and (not surprisingly) they seldom mentioned shareholder value.”


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