One of the most important skills for any investigative interviewer is not being a great talker, it's developing the ability to truly LISTEN. I came across the TED Talk below by John Francis, a gentleman who made the decision to stop talking and to be silent for 17 years. Yeah, 17 years! He initially planned to be silent for only one day, and that led to 2 days, then 3, then 17 years, and what that revealed to him was that he wasn't truly listening to people...he was listening just enough to be able to respond to what he thought people were saying. Not listening to understand, but rather listening to respond. This struck home with me as an investigative interviewer and trainer, because I know many detectives and police officers within the law enforcement community as well as investigators within the private sector such as loss prevention, corporate and banking fraud and insurance claims investigations, do this very thing; they listen to respond and not listen to understand. To gather information, to truly understand, and to get the truth, it is important to develop the skill, patience, and attention to focus of the person you are talking with, ask appropriate questions at the key areas within their story and truly LISTEN to what they are saying. You don't have to take a vow of silence to learn to listen, but the training you invest in should include communication & listening skills. This is part of the curriculum within BELIEF Interviewing as well as Investigative Statement Analysis; Truth through what they S.A.I.D.
One of my favorite topics to teach and write about is Investigative Statement Analysis...the analysis of the words people use when communicating. Having this skill provides an interviewer or investigator with tremendous insight into the thoughts and actions of the person you are talking with, leading to insights of truthfulness or deception, as well as implementing an effective questioning strategy. As we wind down 2016 and head towards 2017, give some thought to the words YOU use. I'm not talking about from an investigative or interviewing perspective, but from a personal perspective. Just as we teach with Investigative Statement Analysis, the words people use provide great insight into the person we are talking with, and they provide insight into you as well. I came across an article today which suggested "shifting" your vocabulary to be more happy, successful and fulfilled in life. Check out the article here. Words are powerful...use them wisely! :-)
One of the best ways to distinguish between deception and truthfulness is to look at the content within the context of the interview. That means focusing on the words, the language, the story being told. That should be the guideposts for your questioning. By improving your questioning skills and interview strategy, utilizing evidence strategically within the interview and by identifying key points through linguistic analysis, the effectiveness of the interview compounds. This is the foundation and basic premise of BELIEF Interviewing. For training information go to: http://truthsleuth.com/training.html