Verbal clues during conference calls
S.L. Mintz of BNET writes about research out of Stanford University about company earnings conference calls that parses what executives say and how they say it for clues as to whether they’re lying.
Mintz writes, “As a financial journalist with an abiding interest in CFOs, one more finding grabbed my attention. CEOs and CFOs use different speech patterns when they concoct deceptions. Compared to straight-shooting counterparts, untruthful CEOs refer to themselves less often. They prefer third person impersonal pronouns, fewer words that express certainty and they tend more to tout good news.
“For their part, CFOs did not betray deceptions with extreme positive or negative emotions and avoiding the first person. They were more apt though than CEOs to overstate certainty.
“Nuance matters, of course. Indictments should not hinge on verbal clues alone. But in the high-stakes scramble to discern fragile truth during conference call Q&A sessions, unwitting word choices by executives might tell you something ominous that that numbers conceal.”
Read more here.