Security expert Carl Maccario (Founder, Center of Nonverbal Communication) talks about the expression of messages through facial expressions, gestures and body language as an important tool for analyzing politicians, terrorists, and even job seekers. For White House Chronicle on PBS.
With the latest attack in Turkey, I feel even stronger that the security perimeters at airports needs to be reexamined . I have always been a proponent of pushing security layers to parking garages and vehicle checks before actually entering the airport proper. This attack is the second airport attack where the terrorists came by taxi. Where is the vehicle checks on taxis? I remember when I was in Israel back in 2010, heading to Ben Gurion airport and my taxi was stopped by Israeli security at least a half mile out from the airport where I was asked a few brief questions. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. There also needs to be more trained observers in these areas to look for suspicious behavior. More trained eyes and more scrutiny will certainly harden targets as much as they can be. You can’t protect against everything but you certainly can take steps to make it more difficult to kill innocent people .
– Carl Maccario
” Be vigilant.” “If you see something , say something.” We hear this from all the experts , police and homeland security experts, on all the media outlets. But what are we really telling people to do? Are we giving them the right information to do what we ask. We need to expound on these cliches. We need to tell the public and everyone for that matter, to look for things that are out of the norm for your work place, your neighborhood and places you frequent. Chances are those “anomalies” are nothing. Nonetheless, in this day and age, we can’t afford to dismiss anything. The public needs to take notice of anomalous/ suspicious activity. Note vehicle types, plate numbers, clothing, the actual behavior that caught you eye , number of people involved, what they were doing, how they interacted and anything else you noticed that was out of the norm. Adding this to our “see something , say something, be vigilant” announcements can yield valuable information to law enforcement personnel and hopefully interrupt any terrorist or criminal planning or operation. It will give a little more meaning to the cliches that are currently missing….
The most recent attacks in Paris and the innocent people who were killed , prompted warnings from around the world for the public to be more vigilant. In our world of texting, Facebook, Twitter, Snap chat, I pods etc. its a daunting task just to get people to actually have a conversation and / or look at someone, never mind being aware of their surroundings .We are so absorbed in out techno world that we barely are present in the here and now!
It’s a new world we live in and that world requires each and everyone of us to be more aware than ever. Paying attention to what is going on at work , at school, at public places, even our neighborhoods, could help detect and deter the next attack. In the world of SEE SOMETHING ,SAY SOMETHING, folks need to look for behavior and activities that may be out of the ordinary, anomalous and potentially suspicious. We can no longer dismiss something as “nothing’ “weird’ or “odd”. Educating the public and getting people to “pay attention” is unfortunately going to be the order of the day for the foreseeable future. Which may bring many of us to actually have to pull their ear buds out, put their phone down, and be “present” in the here and now. Who knows , that could actually produce some live encounters where people actually look at each other and have a conversation. Imagine that!
The New York Times , on December 26, 2014 published an article about the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks using micro expressions, a form of nonverbal communication, to help find players and recruits that may be a better fit for the Bucs and their organizational goals. Micro expressions are sub conscious, cross cultural, expressions of emotion that come across the face very quickly. The existence of micro expressions were first brought to light by the research of Paul Ekman and Wally Freisen. There have been well over 100 studies that show the existence of micro expressions. This form of nonverbal communication can be extremely valuable in gaining insight into a persons true feelings. Does one’s facial expressions contradict their words? Is there more to be told than the person is revealing? The applications are endless. However, keep in mind that micro expressions are only a piece of the nonverbal picture . Nonverbal communication is like putting a picture puzzle together; the more pieces of the puzzle you can put together, the clearer the picture becomes. Just one more example of the value of understanding nonverbal communication! and oh yes…….. , we can teach you how to recognize these micro expressions!
Well folks, yet another research project that reinforces the value of talking to people as part of effective security. According to new research published by the American Psychological Association (APA), conversation based screening caught mock airline passengers with deceptive cover stories more than 20 times as often as agents who used the traditional method of examining body language for suspicious signs. I have long said that the formula for an effective behavior detection program, is behavior observation AND engagement; the engagement piece being the focal point. Having said that, asking the right questions and the unanticipated questions is where the value and skill set really plays a role. Engaging complete strangers is not a skill or ability that everyone possesses. Therefore, selecting and training the right people for this process is paramount. As we see the threats of terrorism increasing around the world, I believe teaching security officials this skill will enhance our ability to better detect possible threats.