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Don't sound like a liar at work

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Do you want to sound smart around your boss or co-workers? You might think using big words or industry jargon is the way to go, but you would be wrong.

According to a recent study by New York University and the University of Basel in Switzerland, the use of business jargon is more likely to make people think you’re lying.

The study, “Truth From Language and Truth From Fit: The Impact of Linguistic Concreteness and Level of Construal on Subjective Truth,” shows that when you want to seem believable and trustworthy, using simple language is probably the best way to go.

The study by Jochim Hansen of NYU, and his Swiss counterpart, Michaela Wänke, explains that concrete language is the most important way to convey statements and seem honest in doing so.

The duo found that because our brains process concrete statements more quickly, we automatically associate quick and easy with truthfulness. At the same time, people can create mental pictures of concrete statements more easily — and if something is easier to picture, it’s easier to recall and likely to seem more honest and believable.

In the spirit of the study’s findings, here’s an even simpler way to summarize it: If someone has to think too hard about what you just said, they’re less likely to believe it.

Below is a handy list of some key terms you may want to avoid — with possible alternatives thrown in for good measure.

Vault is the trusted source for professionals and students pursuing and managing high-potential careers and employers seeking to engage them. Read more at www.vault.com.

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