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Silence & Listening

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. 

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