I have a confession to make. Despite being quite harmless, this thing that I do is a very complicated and perhaps hard to understand problem.
I talk too fast.
That I talk a lot is obvious from my blogs, however the advantage of the written word is that you can adjust it to your own personal speed. My talking speed is pretty close to Benedict’s deduction-velocity, however what I say is usually a torrent of information from areas with no connection whatsoever. If people would listen though, listen as in seeing as in paying complete Sherlock attention, then they might read me better than I can. You wouldn’t need to ask whether or not I like cats and dogs, you can just ask me out already, you’ll know if our tastes have anything in common.
Thankfully, it is a natural trait in people to talk more than they are asked for. They want people to be interested, they want to share all the things that had happened to them. When we talk to strangers, our personality comes most dramatically into view. Under the pressure of making a good impression, who you are as a social person bursts into the light.
So how can you discover a particular thing that you know that person is keeping secret, without getting him/her drunk, killed or kidnapped?
While writing yesterday’s How To Get People To Talk Even When They’re Sober, a method of uncertain length and development took form. I have become infamous among my fellow bloggers for the length of my articles (filme-carti.ro that is), so, knowing that such a sherlockian discovery would require more than 100 words to write, I made the tough, yet quick decision to leave it for today. So here you have it.
Good consulting detectives will tell you though that, if you want to get a person to talk, you need to let him do just that. Start the conversation from a normal (dull) subject. What you are hunting in this particular case is not as much words, but correlations, links between ideas which show a deeper association concerning the fact that might be of your interest.
When we lie in bed, thinking, at night, we start by looking at the ceiling. There is a crack in the paint and damp in a corner. Just like the one in that hotel you had spent a whole summer in with your uncles. Boy, was that a mad time or what? We were all there, even Rohan, dear little Rohan, that puppy I had loved so much. He had died so fast… Then you start thinking about your childhood, an old friend, the blasted school, a bad grade, a fight with your parents, bad moments in your life and you end up crying yourself to sleep. Thinking is so masterfully beautiful due to the connections that our brain makes. He’s so good at it, we don’t even realize it until we apply it. Besides emotional anchors, we correlate the weirdest things just because of something that has to do with a part of our hearts.
Making people talk and pulling out information is possible, but it is the hardest method of them all. Getting them drunk is easy, but not always accessible. However, if you want to go on with this way, a recorder in your sleeve would be of great use. People say much more than we actually process. I’ve been transcribing interviews for the last couple of days and it’s complete madness how many words we no longer hear.
You are hunting a correlation. Jumping from an idea to the other is the most common proof of a more personal meaning. If we were talking about HTC phones, I’d refer to Assassin’s Creed, because the high quality of both and a fun photograph I had once seen which made these two connect. A bit of knowledge on the piece of information that you are trying to find out will prove very useful here.
The main idea is to always be in charge of the conversation. Make your opponent feel relaxed, tell him innocent stories about random people. Don’t gossip, for he will shut up, scared that you might betray him. Keep things informative and fun The best way to gain his trust is by talking about yourself. Just like Smiley, try to convince him you are on his side by talking about the things you both have in common. Don’t play Sherlock on him (Threat Alert!). The same way people were weary around him, they will be around you if you know more about them than they want you too. Apply the methods I taught you yesterday. Play the lesser man. Don’t get sassy or overly smart. Brainy is sexy, but it is also scary. And experience teaches that people hate the smart ones.
Next, once you two start talking, you should start getting silent. People want an audience and they rarely need a talkative one. Depending on the type of person you are dealing with, he will need more or less drive to start talking. You, shut up and pay attention. To his body language. To his eyes. To the things he does with his hands. Does he have any nervous ticks? Does he blink very fast? Does he stammer?
If you want to find out the location of a body, don’t mention either. Instead, try and trace the line of thought of the killer and find the furthest connection possible. That will be the point from which you have to be very careful. No sudden movements. Start with the most harmless thing possible and let him talk himself away. If he catches the bait and makes the connection with the thing you’re hunting, you’re great. That’s exactly what you need.
Then move a little bit further. Pay attention to his choice of words. Just like Hound and Dog, the choice of vocabulary shows a lot of what the person connects to most. Hound proved to be an acronym, the use of the French accents may show something, while using only complicated words can show something else. The inflections in the voice are also something to take into consideration. Once you’re safely home, you can rethink them through your recording.
As you move closer and closer to your target, you will also be more exposed. Pay attention to his body, to check if he is tense or not. According to that, you shall time your attack. You wanted to know a location? Mention the surroundings. If he flinches, he knows. If he tenses, he’s guilty of something. If he stays calm, he’s the killer. Watch him very carefully. The bigger the charge, the greater the danger. Stay calm and stay in charge.
If all you had wanted to know was where he had been three nights before, mention random things happening around town at that time. The more he knows of slightly less talked-of things at mad hours, the more you can trace his steps.
Don’t be very specific. Certainty frightens. Talk from time to time. Keep the things cool.
Depending on the outcome, you will have an escape route. If you gained the information you needed, that will depend on how you process the tons of data you have stored on your recorder. If you’re Sherlock, you’ll have understood what you had from the meeting. Home, you can check.
A magic trick such as this requires a bit of practice and a good reading of people. Also, make sure he’s not playing you the way you wanted to play him. All the gold Karla let’s out… Tinker Tailor, anyone?
For a mission like this, you need to stay in charge.