Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spontaneous Utterance

Australia Celebrates Australia Day

If you are investigating a situation, and have a strong suspicion that a person has done something wrong (such as stealing a few bucks out of the cash drawer at closing) a powerful technique is to not confront them directly about your suspicion, but instead ask them questions where THEY make a leap of logic.

For instance, you confront the the possible thieve saying, "Something weird happened at closing last night, not sure if everything was done right, I mean some of the lights were still on when I opened this morning."

Silence is your friend at this point. The person will feel the need to speak, will cognitively be trying to figure this all out, and will know what he/she has done and may say, "Hey boss I didn't take any money."

This is a Spontaneous Utterance.

You say, "Hey, wait a minute. I was asking you about the lights being left on, and you blindside me by denying something I was even asking you about. I did notice the deposit was a little light... I'm disappointed. Only the person who took it would feel the need to deny taking it?!?! when I wasn't even asking you about it."

This technique can easily be adapted to almost every situation. It is a favorite for police officers on patrol who come into contact with a variety of criminals, who undoubtedly have fishy explanations why they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But this simple technique works just as well if you are trying to get to the bottom of who took the last cookie from the cookie jar.◦