Posted 07 August 2009 by Chris Farmer
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How to get to the truth
I was in SAUDI ARABIA this week running a management course. We were discussing the problem of asking incisive questions to discover the truth, or specific facts.
Mohammed, a delegate asked me: "Have you got any tips on how to get at the truth, when interviewing another?".
I said "Yes".
He said "What are they?"
I said ... "There are three categories of thought on this issue:
- Things to ask about
- Things to listen for
- Things to watch for
1. Things to ask about
1a. Ask about any Negated language
Negated language is language which says "what is not".
Whenever you hear somebody talking about:
- What they are not going to do
- What they are not able to do
- What they do not want to do
Then, ask them for the affirmative.
Ask them specifically:
- What they ARE going to do?
- What they ARE able to do?
- What they DO want to do?
Keep off "what is not": Ask them specifically to talk about the affirmative
1b. Vague nouns
Nouns are words that reference things, ideas, and people.
For example: "Things" might mean....
Ideas might mean.....
People might mean..........
Nouns can be specific or vague
If you hear a "vague thing", ask for "the specific case"
Example questions for "vague things":
Cars? What cars? - Ford cars.
Furniture? What furniture? - The chairs in the lounge.
Plants? What plants? - Red roses.
Have them be more specific when they are talking about "concrete things".
If you hear a "vague idea" ask for the specific case
- Honesty? : How do you mean?
- Fair trade? How do you mean?
- He has a good character? How do you mean?
Have them be more specific when they are talking about "vague concepts".
Verbs are words denoting ACTIONS
Words like: Travelling, working, and recuperating
Verbs too, can be specific or vague.
Verbs are words denoting ACTIONS; if you hear "vague verbs phrases' ask for "the specific case".
- Travelling? How exactly?
- Working? On what exactly?
- Recuperating? How exactly?
Have them be more specific when they are talking about "vague actions".
Things to listen for:
A contradiction occurs when a person makes two or more statements that do not correlate.
i.e. They say something, which later they deny or change
For example: Early in the conversation the man says, "I never even saw the REYNARD documents!"
Later he said, " I m sure I gave the REYNARD documents back to you last week".
- Whenever you detect a contradiction make the alarm bells ring.
- Because something is wrong!
If you hear a contradiction it means one of the following:
- The other is lying
- The other is unsure
- The other does not know and is guessing
- You have mis- understood the others message
Do not let contradictions remain unchallenged.
If in doubt- check it out!
Investigate any perceived contradiction.
Things to watch for:
Watch for In-congruence.
There are two ways to communicate:
- With congruence.
- Without congruence: in- congruence.
Congruent communication occurs when the speakers' words, voice tone and body language correlate and confirm each other.
Your words "go together with" your body language and your voice tone.
In-congruent communication occurs when the speakers' words, voice tone and body language DO NOT correlate and confirm each other.
My words "are mis- matched by" my body language and my voice tone.
For example; I say I am happy, but I look and sound depressed.
If you perceive in-congruence- it means one or more of the following:
- The other does not know and is guessing.
- The other is lying.
- The other is unsure.
- At least- you know that the other has more than one idea in his-her mind at once.
They are struggling with more than one idea on the same issue.
Do not let in congruence's remain unchallenged.
If in doubt- check it out!
Check any perceived incongruence.
Do you want any tips on how to get at the truth, when interviewing another?
Things to ask about:
Ask about the affirmative - what IS, (not "what is NOT")
Ask people to be more specific in relation to:
Things to listen for: Investigate any perceived contradiction.
Things to watch for: Check out any incongruence's .
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