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Today’s Crisis Prevention thoughts:

Listen to What’s Not Being Said!

Of equal importance to what is being said, you must also pay great attention to what is not being said (at least verbally).  There are many statistics and studies out there regarding body language, hand positions, stances, eye contact vs. no eye contact, etc.  All of these things are critical to getting inside of the individual’s mind during a crisis.  Many persons in crisis cannot fully verbalize what they are feeling without extreme outbursts of emotion.  Vulgar language can color the sentences and cloud the listening ability of the responder if they are not prepared or ready for such words.  Tone of voice and inflection are very important when listening to the actual words that are said.   

There are several good resources for further information on this topic. If you are interested in learning more we recommend taking some type of crisis intervention classes.

Do you hear stress in their voice—apart from the possible anger, do you hear tension or fear?  Listening carefully and watching where the eyes are directed can also tell you quite a bit about the intentions of the person.   

In law enforcement, they teach recruits to always be careful of the individual who keeps looking at your holstered weapon.  If they are looking at it, it is likely they are considering getting ahold of it.  You are taught to adjust your stance, or “get off the X” (meaning that you need to quickly move from that spot) as the individual may be triangulating on that location to lunge.  By moving to a new spot, the mind is briefly delayed and/or thrown off and has to readjust the plan.  This can buy you time and distance when needed.   


The thought that came to mind when I first read this was about buying a car and that experience. Think back to when you last bought a car. Remember how you drove up to the lot, and spotted a car you liked. I’ll bet you were reluctant to get out of your car because you know as soon as you do, the sales guys are going to hound you. You dread it. As a side note, did you know they leave the parking spots around the building open for that very purpose? That way they can see when a visitor arrives and pounce on them before they even get out of their car.  

So, instead of getting out, you drive around the lot, see a car you like, leave your car running, jump out, and you go check the sticker on the window. Then, like a little sneaky snake you didn’t even see coming, there’s the sales guy. He just pops out and he’s like, “Hey, how you doing? What do you think of that Camaro?”  “Great looking right?!” Right off the bat you get feeling one way or the other. He either seems genuine or you immediately know he’s not a standup guy. For this salesman, it’s all about the commission; it’s all about the dollars. Your intuition proves right as you start communicating. The questions he asks are like, “So, what type of monthly payment are you looking at?” “Are you trading in your car?” They immediately start talking money, and you realize that, instead of being persuaded, they’re sizing you up for the sale right off the bat and preparing to sell you a car that you really don’t need or want. He’s being pushy. He hasn’t figured out the art of selling, he is only focused on the science of the sale.  

Then, there are those times when you’ve gone to a dealership and you manage to develop a bit of a friendship with the sales guy, for whatever reason.  They feel like a friend.  They make you believe you are on the same team.  You two against the dealership. That’s the one who ends up making the sale. That’s the guy you feel comfortable calling and saying, “Hey, I’ll be right in, I have to bring my wife in to check it out,” and it’s like you’re buddy-buddy. There’s no pressure. They’re not being pushy. Now, don’t misunderstand. Of course, they’re looking to make the sale but they’ve figured out how to be persuasive. They sell themselves as someone you can trust and they easily convince you that you need that car with the navigation system, and the leather interior, the heated seats, and all that other stuff you didn’t want or need but they’ve done it so well, you think they’re helping you.  They helped you through the difficult car buying “crisis”.  

Why You Need CPI Certification Online

So, the next time you find yourself involved in a crisis situation, try to remember that it’s better to be persuasive, not pushy, and work your intervention like a piece of art.  Get the right training, and save a crisis from happening.