• Sam Wilks

Why so Serious?

Have you noticed the change in a police officers or security officers body when they have to use their “persuasion voice”, they get very serious, all of a sudden.

I notice the same thing happening when negotiations begin. Everyone is having fun, building and creating rapport, but when negotiations begin, everyone becomes very serious.

What I notice however, is that these sudden changes in posture, tone, and behaviour are not congruent with how the relationship began. This immediate change or shift in personality breaks apart rapport, and can heavily escalate any feelings of fear, and doubt.

As a past sales and business manager it was my responsibility to ensure that I taught the subtle differences in creating rapport to creating a friendship. For instance, it is important to initiate the conversation asking questions about what you believe the other party is interested in. It is important to stay off irrelevant subjects and topics. In security this can be far more inclusive of many different aspects of the patron’s life. You may need to engage other family members, understand cultural boundaries and accept inbred cultural and racial bias.

Unlike sales where I would teach staff to stick to topics congruent with the reason you are there, for example, discussing employment, financial requirements and timeframes in Real estate. In Security you may need to engage in far more diverse topics to create future redirection, or themes for refocus, to deescalate a situation.

In security it is important to understand the needs of your patrons and clients. The need to feel significant and respected, can be attended to by speaking to the person by name. The need to feel engaged and connected is by giving the situation the required attention the patron needs. The need for certainty is met by repeating the issue/s presented and taking attentive notes.

It is important to create rapport, whether it be in Sales or in Security, but it needs to remain in context for the use of your goal. Having a local patron start small talk, so that they can engage and then ask you for a dollar is a common tool in the local Darwin community to create rapport in context. The context by the patron may seem incongruent to the security officer at the time, but not to the patron.

Asking questions, creating rapport, takes time and practice, but those who master the skill of context have the skill of persuasion. The skill of influence and persuasion are extremely important when deescalating aggressive situations and curbing anti-social behaviour.

Having an unaggressive posture, a smile and engaging in eye contact creates immediate rapport.

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