Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Baiting the Hook

Imagine that you are at a dinner table, enjoying yourself immensely.  Everything looks great, tastes great, you are comfortable, happy, and secure.

Then suddenly, there is a slow motion moment when your seat tips back, and you are falling pendulously into a tubular, slick-walled pit.  You land with a squashy thud, only to discover that you are knee deep in quicksand, slowly and inexorably being swallowed whole by an apathetic trap of nature.  

You are doomed.

Or are you?

Above you, you see someone's head appear.  They could save you!  But instead, they are throwing something into the pit.  

Sandbags!  Great, big, heavy sandbags!  Weights that come raining down on your head, their effect on landing is only to stir the appetite of the slurry that holds you bound and with each falling sandbag, you sink deeper and deeper into the ground.  

Every moment a sandbag falls only hastens your demise.

You look about frantically, but there is no way out.  No escape.


Yes.  The person above appears to have a rope.  They are willing to lower it down.

In your eagerness to be free of this mess around you, you flail wildly at what you take to be a lifeline, catching it and clinging to it tenaciously.  

It is only when you are near the top of the pit that you notice that the rope to which you cling and on which all hope rests is...a hangman's noose.


I know.  But I wanted you to remember the process for catching a liar and this seemed an unforgettable analogy.  

Over the past few weeks, we have examined a liar's proclivities, studying their body language, what they say and how they say it, and how to gather more information by using the powerful weapon of silence.  But we haven't really addressed the serious subject of confronting them with the truth.  

And so, the above picture.  

Each part is important.

First, you must catch your perpetrator when they are feeling pretty good.  Remember - in the story above, they were eating a delicious dinner, feeling that all was right with the world.  A surprise attack will leave them unsettled.  And what you need is a surprise attack.  Something that isn't so direct, but which will leave them anxious and worried.

For instance, a very innocent sounding question like "I hear from corporate that someone's been stealing, do you know anything about it?" will take the brightness out of life for a moment.  It isn't accusatory directly, but it doesn't shy away from the topic.  An innocent person will be eager to address the subject and exchange perspectives.  A guilty party will exhibit the physical signs of distress typically linked to the Limbic system's involuntary response, and be eager to escape from the situation.  You may note flushing, sweating, twitching, and self-administered reassuring rituals (Again, "What Every Body is Thinking" by Joe Navarro is a great book for beginners and touches on this in tremendous detail).

The question is, after you've tipped their metaphorical chair over, does your suspect look like someone who has just fallen into a pit? 

 If not, your suspicions are likely unfounded.  But if they do, it is time to get some sandbags.

So, what are the sandbags?  

Have you ever seen a police drama where there is some little bit of evidence the police uncover that results in the conviction of the once smug and untouchable suspect?  And then Officer comes up to Thug and says something like "There is no such thing as a perfect crime!"

Well, the sandbags are the little bits of evidence that just don't fit with the beautifully and intricately woven piece of deception that your friend has been peddling.  Any little thing that you have been able to work out by going over the lie should be aired here.  Along with a LOT of potentially damaging hearsay that can't be immediately fact-checked.  

For instance:

"It is a good thing that we just had security cameras installed!  Upper management was right to keep that close to their vests!"

"I know they think they got away with it, but evidently a neighbor got a partial plate number and the make and model of the vehicle.  All I know is that it is someone who works HERE!"

Now, they aren't just stuck in a situation they can't climb out of, but there are very damaging pieces of information being dropped on them.  Each "sandbag" only serves to trap them further - and they are dropping thick and fast.  Their carefully calculated lies can't stand up to fresh evidence.

What they need now is a way out.  A friend.

And that is when the rope is lowered.  It looks like a lifeline, and they don't take too long to examine it. They are desperate and need help.  This way leads to safety.

It may sound something like this:

"I wish I knew who did it, as I could advocate for them. I like everyone here and don't want anyone to get into trouble.  I have a lot of sway in HR and with the higher ups, and I overheard the boss mention that if the responsible party came forward BEFORE the police are called in, this can be dealt with internally - ESPECIALLY if the person had a good reason for what they did.  They would probably even keep their job."

So now our man in the quicksand sees a glimmer of hope, a way out of the situation he has landed himself in.  He grabs onto the rope, and it is only when he has made a full and frank confession after he has been successfully withdrawn from the pit that he discovers that the rope he was given is a hanging noose and that he is in a roomful of people who are inclined to use it.

I know that it is a ghastly allegory, but I daresay that when you need it, you will remember the process.

I'd like to say thanks to all those who watched last week's video and PM'd me.

None so far has got it right.  And I will say that anyone suspicious of the cards or used or of the handling should watch the video below.  To prove the use of influence, I got a different subject to choose the Queen of Diamonds - the same choice as was made in last week's video.  You will note that he could have chosen ANY card from that face-up deck, and that they verify that every card they saw was different.  

Yet they chose the Queen of Diamonds.

Curious, isn't it?

Stay tuned - Next week's subject might actually put cash in your pocket!

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