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Monthly Archives: September 2007

Too Many Choices – Creating Frustration in Interrogation

If given the time, we could probably come up with a number of
reasons a suspect won’t confess, a hostile witness won’t
cooperate or why the victim won’t disclose.  If we then reviewed
our "list" objectively we might find that we have placed a large
portion of the blame on our subject and were partially if not fully
blind to any problems we may have created.  It’s time to give
ourselves and our subject a break.  The impasse may in fact have
been created because of there being too many choices to be
made by us and our subject.

All too often when entering an interview room, we like to go in
"armed to the teeth" with information and facts.  Being fully loaded
with evidence is certainly not a bad thing but how we choose to
present that information can be a handicap for the interviewer as
well as the subject.  With some many choices to make about what
topics to address, how to address them, what order and more, we
get caught up in the "planning" and can bungle the "presentation."
Because we have too many choices to make we may see a
successful interview as a long and difficult campaign with no
assurance of success and even a higher probability of early
failure.  To overcome this problem, try dealing with and presenting
only one issue at a time and strive to win small battles and not the
whole "war" with one big "atomic" question that tries to
incorporate multiple issues.  You’ll find you’ll be able to focus more
on your subject, miss fewer of the important responses and
increase your chances of overall success.

Far too many choices presented to the victim, witness or suspect
also has a higher probability of negative outcome.  Contrary to
common belief, it is known in the sales profession too many
choices presented to the customer kills more sales than they
make and the same behavior response applies to the interview
room.  Asking for agreement or concession from your subject on
several issues at once makes the ultimate decision by the subject
much more difficult.  When we increase the difficulty of the
decision making cycle for our subject, the longer it will take for the
person to make their decision to comply, cooperate or confess.
The longer the decision-making cycle is extended for our subject,
the greater the chance that the results of the decision process will
be negative and thus harder for us to reverse and overcome.

Review your case before you conduct your interview. Break down
the case interview objectives into smaller more manageable tasks
and move toward your goals of cooperation, compliance and
admission by winning small victories by reducing the choices to
be made at any one time.  You’ll improve your chances of a
successful interview.

Stan B. Walters "The Lie Guy®"