How to talk Your Way In and Out of Anything
Posted by Pamela S. on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
Communication is paramount in any human interaction, and private investigation is no different. Even if you spend your days alone on surveillance, you still need excellent communication skills.
Yesterday I wrote about interviewing and interrogation skills. It all comes down to learning how to communicate effectively. That includes verbal and written communication. It pays to learn from the experts. I am a big believer in learning from the people who have the skills, even if they use those skills in an entirely different way.
Sometimes you can even learn from those who use those skills for less ethical ways. Someone may be a manipulator, or even a sociopath or criminal, but if you watch what they do, you can sometimes use those same tactics to bring those people down. It can also help get you out of a sticky situation, and as an investigator I have been in a few. Whether you are being harassed or questioned by someone when conducting surveillance, or confronted by a violent person, you need to know how to use words to extricate yourself.
Public speakers, especially motivational or inspirational speakers, know a thing or two about getting people to listen to their message. You may not agree with everything that they say, but listen to how they say it. There are public speakers who have a strong desire to help people and teach skills that are relevant to individuals and organizations.
Unfortunately, there are also those who con people out of their money by convincing the naive or troubled that they need their self-improvement seminar or series of books or recordings. Self-help guru and motivational speaker James Ray was sentenced to two years in prison on November 18, 2011, after being convicted on three counts of negligent homicide. Ray, an advocate of the Law of Attraction, held a “Spiritual Warrior” retreat where two participants died in a sweat lodge. Somehow Ray had the power to persuade wealthy and successful people to spend thousands of dollars to discover his secret to success.
To see how self-help gurus convince people that they can change their lives and become wealthy, confident and fulfilled through firewalking or other pointless exercises, watch Penn and Tellers Bull****, Self Helpless. Warning: NSFW due to profanity. Yes, I know they are magicians, but they know how to influence people even though one of them doesn’t speak. Actions often speak louder than words.
According to the Penn and Teller episode, there are over 30,000 published books on self help in the United States. Many motivational and inspirational speakers do great work. They actually inspire and motivate people to examine their lives and change for the better.
If motivational speakers can use words, either in person or on paper to convince people that they have the answer, you can learn how to use the same techniques. You need to learn the art of conversation and small talk when talking one-on-one. This helps to build rapport with a person. In order to converse you also need to listen. Most of us don’t practice active listening and our minds are often on what we are going to say, or not even in the zone.
Learning public speaking can also help you in a career as a private investigator. If you have to testify in court, knowing how to present yourself and your evidence in front of a group of people will make you seem more professional, confident and sure of your findings.
Many people have a fear of public speaking. I was one of those people. I joined Toastmasters, and it certainly helped me. The ability to speak in front of a group can help you when you have to provide testimony in court, make presentations to clients, train staff, or become a keynote speaker at a conference or seminar. The more skills you develop, the better you will be at your job.
Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Sheer has recruited the best from the FBI, DEA, IRS and Secret Service to build a formidable team at Sheer Investigations. Our private investigators have the sensitivity and experience to handle the most delicate investigations.