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.
Being aware of ones on behavior is invaluable so that we don’t send the wrong message with our body language. What nonverbal messages are you sending to others that you don’t necessarily want to? For example, are you showing nonverbal indicators of disgust, when we had no intention of sending that type of message? Being able “to read “peoples nonverbal behavior often helps you better understand their motivations, and intentions. It can help you gain insight about an individual’s personality or credibility and many times give you a glimpse of their emotional or mental state. This skill set is extremely valuable in customer service, sales, in the world of human resources (hiring, employee assistance) leadership development, professional life, social life, and personal life.
Many business schools (Harvard et al) are now exploring or will begin to offer, classes in Nonverbal Communication. Over the last 3 years there has been an ever increasing demand for training in deciphering and decoding nonverbal behavior in the business world. Many companies have started to train their managers and employees in reading nonverbal behavior, to better understand and interact with their employees, customers and even vendors.
My personal experience over the last 15 years in this field, whether it be in security work, business, human resources or personal lives, has shown me that the more aware people are of the world of nonverbal communication, the more successful they are at getting to an issue at hand, deal with the issue and move on with their daily lives.