Robin Dreeke received advanced training and operational experience in social psychology, as well as in the practical applications of the science of relationship development during his time in the Marine Corps. Eventually, Robin rose to direct the behavioral analysis program at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Recently retired from the FBI, he is the author of three books, including his latest, Sizing People Up: A Veteran FBI Agent’s User Manual for Behavior Prediction.
He joins the show today to discuss whether there is an art to deception, as well as why some people are better at hiding how they truly feel. Listen in to learn how to build trust with the people around you, what to look for when sizing people up during an initial meeting, and more.
Learn whether it is possible to detect deception through non-verbals alone with @rdreeke, author of SIZING PEOPLE UP. Click To Tweet
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On Today’s Episode We’ll Learn:
- How Robin sizes people up during an initial meeting.
- Whether there are people who can’t be read.
- What congruence is and why it is important.
- The importance of building trust with the people around you.
- How well people can truly read others.
Key Resources for Robin Dreeke:
- Connect with Robin Dreeke: Website | Instagram | Twitter
- Amazon: Sizing People Up: A Veteran FBI Agent’s User Manual for Behavior Prediction
- Kindle: Sizing People Up
- Audiobook: Sizing People Up
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- Full Episode Transcript:
- Welcome to Brainfluence, where author and international keynote speaker Roger Dooley has weekly conversations with thought leaders and world class experts. Every episode shows you how to improve your business with advice based on science or data.Roger’s new book, Friction, is published by McGraw Hill and is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and bookstores everywhere. Dr Robert Cialdini described the book as, “Blinding insight,” and Nobel winner Dr. Richard Claimer said, “Reading Friction will arm any manager with a mental can of WD40.”To learn more, go to RogerDooley.com/Friction, or just visit the book seller of your choice.Now, here’s Roger.Roger Dooley: Welcome to Brainfluence, I am Roger Dooley.Our guest this week is veteran FBI agent, Robin Dreeke. Robin is a returning guest, and his first visit was one of our more popular episodes. He’s a graduate of the US Naval Academy and served as a Marine before entering federal law enforcement in 1997. There, Robin got advanced training and operational experience too in social psychology and how to apply the science of relationship development in real world situations. Ultimately, he directed the behavioral analysis program at the FBI and now he has retired from there. He is the author of, It’s Not All About Me, The Code of Trust and his new book, Sizing People Up: a Veteran FBI Agent’s User Manual for Behavior Prediction. Welcome back Robin.Robin Dreeke: Oh my gosh, Roger. I was so excited to see your name on my list of people I’m going to chat with because we had such a good time last time, so it’s my pleasure. Thank you.
Roger Dooley: Well, I think behavioral science is something that’s of great interest to our listeners, so I think that we can have a good conversation, because then that’s why the last one was good. But I have to ask you, most people encounter behavioral science, particularly FBI behavioral science of through TV shows, movies and books. Been a pretty popular topic. Are there any that you’ve watched or read that strike you as being particularly close or are they all so ridiculously off base it’s not worth mentioning?
Robin Dreeke: So I would never say any of them are ridiculously off base. I will say that they all have some great advisors, and a lot of the science and the things they’re doing is pretty good. But because it’s for television and entertainment, the timelines are massively accelerated, the storylines become grandiose and the office spaces are always much nicer on TV than they are in real life.
Roger Dooley: Right, right. Much like where people…. apartments for people who live in New York city, they’re unemployed, but really, you’d have to be a millionaire to own one of those apartments. And then of course timelines affect most, I think, crime procedurals, CSI type shows and everything else because you’ve got to compress it into such a short period of time and you can’t say, “Well, boy, the results from my testing is going to be back in two weeks or a month.”
Robin Dreeke: Especially in my world of counter-intelligence, I literally had one operation that I was working to the day I retired after 21 years from the time I started till the day I retired. Even in my last five years here after I stepped down from running my behavioral team in my town here in Fredericksburg, Virginia, I had one operation that was five years going and was still going after the day I retired. When you work with human beings, you cannot push the tempo because it’s always about them, not you.
Roger Dooley: Right. Yeah, that would probably not make the most compelling movie or TV show.
Robin Dreeke: If you condense it, it would. You got to condense it. There’s no doubt.
Roger Dooley: Robin, I don’t usually challenge my guess, at least not right out of the gate. But let me ask you, how good can anyone be at reading people? I know that authors don’t write the jacket copy, but the first sentence on the inside front jacket, the flap of yours is, every person has a tale. Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book seems to imply the opposite, that in a lot of cases, even experts can’t really tell who’s lying or telling the truth. We know there’s social paths like Bernie Madoff who was very convincing, actors fool us all the time. You would believe that the things you see, at least from the good actors on the screen, that it seems like real emotion even though of course it’s not.
Roger Dooley: In fact, in Gladwell’s book, he describes a study where expert interrogators really did no better than chance in a pretty good portion of the subjects they were evaluating to determine if they were lying or telling the truth. So anyway, with that sort of a long winded question there, are there people who can’t be read and if so, are they like a tiny group of sociopaths and really skilled actors or is there a larger piece of the population that would fall into that category, that they just don’t show their emotions the way we would expect them to?
Robin Dreeke: So first, I will start out by validating you 100% that the best people in the world are 50% accurate at best at detecting deception. I never in a million years would ever claim I can detect deception in any way. Because you can’t, and because people are really, really good at using word bridging and misdirecting and like you said, great acting and you start edging up on towards sociopath and psychopathy, they don’t have empathy. So the reason the tales just become blank. This book isn’t about that, this book is… It’s so funny, it’s called Sizing People Up. The real core of it is kind of a continuation of what I did before with Trust. It’s developing trust so that you can actually create strong, healthy relationships, and this book is about diving deep to understand other people for the basics of a strong, healthy relationship.
Robin Dreeke: So what I say you can do and that you can predict because every human being… and this is whether you’re a sociopath edging up towards psychopathy or not, everyone is always in their own best interests in terms of what they think is their safety, security and prosperity for themselves and their families. A lot of these times, people can be altruistic, you can be a philanthropist. All these things is what they deem in their best interest. What I found through my life of trying to overcome my own sense of type A… and you read my bio, yes, exactly right. It’s a type A hard charging narcissist, and my books are my manuals on how not to be the self centered moron I was born to be.
Robin Dreeke: So when you take all this time to focus on the other person in order to develop that trust, in order to develop that relationship, because I’ve learned and intuitively I’ll know this, you can’t achieve anything in life without good, strong relationships. You start to understand people at a much deeper level. What I’ve found is the deeper I understood them, the more predictable they became. That’s why it became easier to assign these signs that I’m looking for. It can be a very subjective art form. So what I do is I try to take the subjectiveness of just liking someone, where people assign trust, and move it over to the cognitive thought process of predicting behavior.
Robin Dreeke: The point of it also is not to predict behavior, like I know exactly what you’re going to say, no, it’s predicting your behavior so I can manage my own expectations of what I can reasonably expect you’re going to do for the purpose of maintaining a good, healthy relationship so I don’t get angry at you, frustrated, resentment, all those other things associated with it. So yeah, I don’t ever try to say I can detect whether someone’s telling the truth or not. I can detect stress. Stress is a great indicator of if someone’s thinking a bad thought, having a bad reaction to you or lying. But we can explore a stress, but yeah. Joe Navarro and I are great friends. I’ve looked at Paul Ackman’s work, and the world will say you cannot detect deception through non-verbals alone, it takes a lot of extra work and frankly, I don’t think it’s worth it. I’m always looking for transparency.
Roger Dooley: Great. Well, I’m glad you clarified that, Robin, and in particular about the emphasis of the book, because I think the title or at least the main title, Sizing People Up, is… I won’t say it’s misleading, but it really doesn’t explain what much of the book is about, and that is more about building relationships, working with people and in particular building trust. Trust is such an important thing. We’ve had other discussions about trust on the show, and in fact Paul Zak, the neuroscientist who is probably the originator of a lot of the literature on oxytocin, the trust hormone, found that what characterized high performing organizations was, in fact, trust. They did a whole lot of comparisons and even took thousands of blood samples to compare high performing organizations as indicated by their growth and their profitability and such versus companies that weren’t doing as well, and a key differentiator was trust.
Roger Dooley: Now that’s at sort of the group and team level, but obviously that has to at the individual level too. I think that what you do convey a lot of in this book is how both to build trust, the things that you have to do, and also looking at the behaviors of others to see if they are part of the equation or not. So it’s really a fascinating book, particularly about how people can deal with bosses and of course other people as well. That’s really where some of these sort of behavioral cues come in. It is not a book about body language or something where it’s… For probably 50 years, people have been writing body language books about, wow, you can tell exactly what a person’s thinking by their posture and their mannerisms, which is not… There may be some clues, but not really true.
Robin Dreeke: Right. I couldn’t agree more. It’s so funny when you talk about oxytocin. Absolutely. Each of my six signs of trying to read/understand the other person and assess them is basically, I’m looking for signs, are these people doing things that’s going to release oxytocin in my system? Because The Code of Trust, my last book, was about the behaviors I can do to inspire people to want to align with me. This is a book about reversing it and looking at other people and seeing if they want to align with me rather than… These are both ends of the same equation of, we’re trying to create healthy relationships so I can get dopamine flowing in the brain, serotonin, oxytocin, in the bloodstream so that we’re definitely doing the one thing that all human beings seek and crave, and that’s being affiliated with meaningful groups and organizations and being valued by the same. Because when you have those things going, you have a relationship, you have trust.
Robin Dreeke: I say this all the time, and I’ve witnessed it so much in my life with my own kids, with my own career, with people, beautiful like you, where you could have the greatest genetics and biology and resume on the face of the planet, but without relationships, you might as well be on top of a mountain by yourself, because it’s relationships; good, healthy, strong, professional relationships that are the key to moving forward with anything anyone wants to do in life.
Roger Dooley: Yeah. I have to ask, Robin, did they give you like a pen filled with oxytocin spray for your meetings in the FBI? If not, feel free to run with that suggestion.
Robin Dreeke: No. It’s so funny too, because law enforcement organizations tend to focus a lot on the read technique of interviewing. I never ever discount any training for any purpose that anyone takes because they’re all a great part of a whole, and the whole is understanding what human beings are seeking and craving. But I really think that many organizations, including the FBI, focus so much on a process and a procedure that you get people that start memorizing things that they’re trying to do and have scripts they’re trying to say and they lose track of the thing you’re actually trying to accomplish, and that’s building a connection with the other person through a relationship. In order to do that, you have to do one very, very simple thing, you have to listen to what their priorities are and always talk in terms of them and never invalidate anything they’re saying.
Roger Dooley: Yep. One piece of advice you got early on… Well, I should say that there’s a recurring story that runs through the book about your relationship with an informant named Leo. I guess you’d call him an informant or a person who is assisting you. That advice was that you should not ask what Leo can do for you, sort of paraphrasing John Kennedy here, but what you can do for Leo. I think that is such an important piece of relationship advice, because all too often, we’re trying to get something out of a transaction, a conversation, a relationship, and we tend to focus on what we need. But it’s very sound psychology going back to the principle of reciprocation, that-
Robin Dreeke: Absolutely.
Roger Dooley: … when you can do something for somebody else, they’re going to be much more receptive to helping you. Was that sort of an epiphany for you?
Robin Dreeke: It was. Life is a process, and working with Leo early on in my career… The guy had been helping the FBI for 25 years, and I was like the 14th or 16th handler, that’s the term of art, basically the guy from the FBI that was talking to him, and this was a guy that was totally vested in being a resource for the success and prosperity of the United States, big Patriot. He’s an immigrant from the Ukraine, and he knew a lot. This guy, when I met him, he was well into his 70s, I think he turned to into his 80s while I was in my late 20s and really learning the ropes. If you go into a relationship like that, thinking I know everything, you’re going to fail majestically. Granted, you’re the one that is calling the shots for the things that we’re trying to accomplish and sensitizing him towards the priorities that we had at the time.
Robin Dreeke: At the same time, when it came down to understanding human beings and building relationships, this guy was an entrepreneur that immigrated from a foreign country and became very, very successful in a foreign country and raised a family. That is someone with mad skills in relationship building, and if you don’t open your ears and close your mouth, you are going to miss a lot. So that was some of my first aha moments, was really teaming up with him. That was the big thing. People sometimes, I think, when they look at law enforcement working confidential human sources or snitches, the best ones that you work are just like sales, it’s a cooperation. They have priorities, I have priorities, they have resources, I have resources. What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to come to an accommodation to see if I have resources that align with their priorities and they’re trying to see if they have resources that align with my priorities.
Robin Dreeke: That’s all we do when we’re trying to sell something too. I always say I had the most challenging sales job in the world. I was trying to sell American patriotism to foreign spies that didn’t want to buy it. It was also illegal for me to talk to, so that’s a challenge.
Roger Dooley: Yeah, that’s a great line, Robin. You mentioned a key word there, and that is that he was vest in selling, and you talk about vesting as one of the key principles in building trust. This isn’t the kind of either stock option or retirement plan investing. Explain what you mean by that, Robin.
Robin Dreeke: So vesting is the first sign I like to look for. Granted, all these six signs, you don’t have to have all of them, but I’m hopefully getting at least one or two strong signs from one of them. Vesting is where someone is actually equally interested in your success as they are of their own. So in the case of Leo, Leo wanted me to be successful in my career, because if I was being successful and making my bosses happy by the operations and things we were doing, it would allow him to do the things that he wants to do as a patriot.
Robin Dreeke: At work, in the office environment, signs of vesting from your coworkers or your bosses are, as soon as you come onto a job or you take a new role or responsibility, they’re sending you to training, they’re actually giving you projects that are going to give you the experiences you need to build a resume for the next step in your career, they’re talking in terms of what’s next for you, where do you see yourself in five years? That’s someone who’s actually vested in your success so they can give you those opportunities to advance.
Roger Dooley: I think it’s important that we look at behavior in that kind of situation as opposed to words, because if the boss did send somebody else to that training or somebody else got the promotion, they may well come to you and say, “Okay, yeah, I really have a lot of conference. I have big plans for you. Due to this situation or this reason, I had to make the decision that I did, but you really have my full confidence,” where in fact the behavior in that case is not bearing that out. Now, I guess there will be times when indeed only one person can get the training or the promotion, but when you see those behaviors accumulating, those may be a way more indicative of reality than the words.
Robin Dreeke: Yeah, I agree. So you’re hitting on two areas for me with what you just said. So the first is, I’m looking for a congruence, and congruences are the words being backed up by the emotion. We talked about non-verbals briefly before. Human beings are exceptionally good at picking up on non-verbals, and they’re not even cognating, but our ancient reptilian brain picks up on these things because it’s fight or flight that happens to us. So that’s why when we go into work, without anyone even saying a word, you can tell who’s having a bad day just because there’s a deviation from the nonverbal normal.
Robin Dreeke: So what I’m always looking for is I’m looking for congruence between the words being spoken by someone and their emotion that they have. In other words, they might be saying it’s all about me, but you can kind of tell that every time they’re engaging me, their nonverbal stress shift from being comfortable talking to me to stressed when talking to me, even though their words might be right. Where it’s really been hitting is the fourth sign of sizing people up is actions. Past patterns are repeated behaviors. In other words, if I observe you doing something once, twice or three times, the likelihood of you doing it four or five times the same way as pretty dang high.
Robin Dreeke: So in the case that you just gave, so if they are saying the right words, but the actions then back them up only once, but then like two or three times in a row after that they’re sending me to the train and they’re giving me those opportunities, all right, then these words are congruent and it wasn’t enigma. But if you experienced that kind of encounter where you were passed over for something in action, even though they told you in words it was going to happen, now you’ve got an issue, because I can almost guarantee you the next time it’s going to happen again, unless something, an outside stimulus, is introduced to change it.
Roger Dooley: This is an ongoing relationship we’re talking about, but another thing you write about in the book is your first meeting with a Russian named Sarah J., which was kind of risky for him and to maybe a little bit lesser degree for you. The stakes may not be as high in business, but we often find ourselves in that situation. We’re meeting a potential buyer or a vendor or investor or somebody like that for the first time. In that initial meeting, how do you try and size up the other person?
Robin Dreeke: I think the easiest thing to start off of is really listening to the language they’re using. So one of the things I learned early on working with The Code of Trust is, the best thing you can do with another human being, as I already said, is demonstrate that value that they have in demonstrate how I want to be affiliated with them. Here’s exactly how to do that. It’s not just an assumed knowledge, here’s exactly the things you need to do. If you seek their thoughts and opinions, you find out and talk in terms of their priorities, you validate their thoughts and opinions and their priorities without judging them, and when you empower them with choices, if you do at least one of those four things and everything you say and everything you write and in all your actions, the entire conversation becomes about them, and that’s when the dopamine flows in the oxytocin flows because it’s about them.
Robin Dreeke: So what I’m looking for, and you could hear pretty quickly, is when they’re communicating with you, are they using that same sort of language with you? Are they seeking your thoughts and opinions? Are they trying to discover and talk in terms of what’s important to me? Are they validating all the thoughts and things I’m sharing with them and/or after listening to this? When they’re empowered me with choices, are they giving me choices that are in terms of what’s important to me? So we can assess that pretty quickly on if they’re using languages concerned mostly about themselves or are they seeking to understand me? I think that’s a great thing to look for.
Roger Dooley: What do you do when it does seem that you’re listening to them and it is all about them? Obviously, you could just say, okay, well, maybe this is not a particularly useful person, or that I’m not going to get the deal that I want or whatever. But how do you turn that around? How do you get them to be a little bit more trusting and cooperative?
Robin Dreeke: So here’s the greatest thing, the whole purpose of this entire thing is so that you can make choices without stress, without guessing. So at that point, if you don’t hear them use that kind of a language, now you have a choice. Are you willing to take more time to spend with them knowing that it might take longer to get them to the point where they’re going to shift the focus from themselves onto you, or you’re not willing to do that? Because it will take time. So here’s what you cannot do. You cannot force them or convince them to be more focused on you because this is ultimately up to them. Because if you want to build those relationships, this cannot be… Because if I start talking in terms of my priorities and not talking in terms of theirs anymore, their shields are up and they’re not paying attention.
Robin Dreeke: So it’s kind of a double edged sword where I can’t convince anyone to do anything. The best I can do is inspire them to want to. Because the inspiration is about them, not about me, the only way I can do that is to talk in terms of their priorities, and I’m seeking to see if they’re going to reciprocate at any time. Then it’s just up to me and my bosses and my timeline, whether I have the patience in order to do that at a certain point. Also, I can talk about it with them directly and say, “Listen, we’ve been here for this entire conversation. I’ve enjoyed sharing a cup of coffee with you, sharing lunch with you. I’m curious, I’m not thinking that you’re curious about what it is important to me, and if that’s not true, please share with me what is. If it’s not, if I’m wasting your time, please let me know that as well and I’ll completely leave you alone because I do not want to waste your time because it’s so valuable.” Again, the entire conversation, that statement, completely about them.
Roger Dooley: I’m thinking of somebody who might go into, say a powerful organization like a Walmart, to try and sell them something. I think that in those cases, you might definitely come away with the impression that it is all about them because they’re going to have their list of demands and requirements and have relatively peripheral interest in your needs, unless you simply can give them what they’re looking for. I guess you’re right. What you’re saying then, Robin, is that when you encounter that kind of situation, it’s, first of all, is this worth putting time and effort into or not?
Robin Dreeke: It makes it really easy as a human being and as an organization to start making choices for cost benefit analysis. Is it worth the bang for the buck? Is it worth the time? I was allowed to do… I was given a lot of leeway when doing my sales pitch, which was selling patriotism to a lot of people. Because at the end of every meeting, I was able to come back and when my bosses asked me how it went, I didn’t just say, “All went okay.” Or I didn’t say, “It went great,” or I didn’t say, “It went bad.” I said, “Well, here’s exactly what we talked about. Here’s the prioritization shared with me. Here’s the types of resources I said in terms of them, and here’s what my plan is for the next time we get together to escalate it to this. You tell me your timeline. If we have a timeline that I have to press, well, then I need to be transparent with them about that timeline and see if they’re willing to do that.”
Robin Dreeke: Because again, it comes down to my three mantras for my end goals in every situation. Number one, so I’m trying to create and foster a good, healthy, professional relationship because nothing can move forward without it. Number two, I use open and honest communication with lots of transparency, because you can’t have the relationship without that, and my third, it’s my main anchors, I’m an available resource for their success and prosperity without expectation of reciprocity. The no expectation of reciprocity ensures that this is not an attempt of manipulation. I’m merely going to share my priorities and see if they’re inspired to want to align. If not, then I’ll make other choices about whether to continue or not. I’m available because I do not impose myself in their life, and I use that word prosperity because everyone defines prosperity very differently, and I don’t want to impose what I think prosperity is on them.
Roger Dooley: One of the other factors you talk about, Robin, is longevity, and that strikes me as just a little bit difficult, perhaps, particularly in the United States where my feeling is that often, we are quite transactional in our business relationships. It’s sort of what can you do for me today? We’ve got this deal today. Well, certainly, both companies and individuals do build longterm relationships at times. I’d say that’s not quite as common, particularly when you’ve got management that has a short term mentality in many cases, you have individuals that are getting rotated in and out of places in a year or two and so on. Explain a little bit about longevity and how you build that and use that in this kind of environment.
Robin Dreeke: Sure. Longevity is one of those ones that is, I believe, cross relationship, where it could be business related and it can be personal related. So in the business world, longevity can be established with longstanding clients or potential clients where you establish traditions, you establish custom where, “Hey, when I’m in town, when I come to your region monthly or quarterly, every time I come to your region, we’re going to get together and I’m going to take you out to dinner.” That becomes a longstanding tradition. So when you start establishing tradition, that becomes longevity. At some point, you have to ask yourself, am I getting anything in return for this investment of time and effort and resources. But at the same time, that’s an establishment of a tradition because traditions become longevity.
Robin Dreeke: Longevity also can be where someone just in your own work environment outside of selling, but in your own environment there where someone gives you a project that is looking not to be completed for 12, maybe 24 months, so it’s a longstanding project. So that’s where you’re seeing that someone is actually not only vesting in you, but they’re demonstrating a desire for longevity to have you on board for quite a long time.
Roger Dooley: I guess too it can be somewhat organizational, because you talked about Leo having 14 handlers before you. I’m sure that all of those transitions weren’t smooth, but-
Robin Dreeke: Absolutely not.
Roger Dooley: If you start with an expectation of a longevity and then ensure that when there is a transition that it’s smooth, that you, if you’re the primary person at the moment, that you are involved until the end of seems to be running smoothly, you can maintain that longevity as opposed to just saying, “Whoops, I’m out of here.”
Robin Dreeke: Another thing about longevity, it’s something that you can offer to anyone. You can offer it to clients, new clients or old clients. So if you are coming into their region or you have a routine contact, you can offer them something that becomes routine traditions like, “Hey, I generally go out for coffee at 10 o’clock every day. Do you mind if I give you a call on Wednesday? Do you mind if I call you next month when I show up?” Now, the great thing is, you can hear their response and if they’re open to longevity, if they’re open to that kind of degree of relationship, they’ll tell you and if not, they won’t.
Robin Dreeke: So you can actually start gauging. It gives you the opportunity to use what I call relationship accelerators, which you kind of got to be careful with because again, the tempo of the development of relationship does depend on the other person because it’s all about them. But one of them things that you have is frequency. In other words, how often are you in contact, and proximity, are you talking via text and cell phone or are you actually meeting in person? So when you increase the proximity, the ability to make a deeper connection and get that oxytocin going is much greater as well as frequency is one of them, and then also intensity, the types of topics you’re talking about. Are you just keeping surface, talking about the weather, talking about a quid pro quo for the type of service or product you’re offering, or are you talking deeper about real priorities that they have in their life, whether it be personal, professional?
Roger Dooley: Well, that’s great. To some degree, I suppose they trade off a little bit if you don’t have proximity because you’re separated by a continent or something, then perhaps more frequent communications via other means would help maintain that relationship where if you’re seeing somebody every month in person, probably don’t need to exchange emails or texts that much in between time.
Robin Dreeke: Absolutely. Doing so unsolicited is such a great way to really keep the focus on them. One of the things I used to do really frequently is every time I started working with someone new, I would actually listen to the things they were saying that were important in their lives, in other words, paying attention to their price, and I set a Google alert for those things, whether it was a Google alert for their company, a Google alert for activities that they are involved in or sports teams they follow and I’d get a notification every time something like that would pop up. If I thought it was appropriate and timely, I just send them a quick email validating, “Hey, I just saw this pop up on your company. Congratulations. That’s a great move.” No expectation or anything. But again, unsolicited validation goes such a great long way to build that trust and build a good, healthy relationship. The good thing is it’s completely genuine and sincere because you’re not expecting anything in return. Do you hope? Sure. But if you expect it, then it becomes about you, and that shift, not good.
Roger Dooley: That’s a great update and old strategy, Robin. I remember years ago, I had a friend and neighbor who was a banker, and he did a lot of sort of outreach and sales, had sort of a mixed role at the bank. What he or somebody who worked for him would do is go through the newspaper in the business pages and so on and clip out articles that related to local companies. Every now and then, one would relate to my company at the time, and I’d get a little copy of the clip, I’d get the physical newspaper clipping and little handwritten notes saying, “Hey Roger, congratulations on this. If there’s anything we can do to help, let us know,” and so on, and it was a great little personal touch that I think has… that’s really gotten lost. But today we’ve got such great tools that we don’t have to go through the newspaper or have an assistant go through and clip stuff out anymore. We do have tools like Google alerts and any number of other type of monitoring systems that could help us with that and make it a more efficient process.
Robin Dreeke: Look at that, you remembered it still today. Isn’t that amazing? We have a local politician, and so here’s where it can transcend everything. We have a local politician that is on the opposite side of where my family generally sits. But when my son got in the Naval Academy, we got a personalized letter from him congratulating my son. He sought the newspaper, he sent a copy of the clipping of the newspaper congratulating him, what a major accomplishment. You know who I’m voting for next time? Him. Because it’s all about, did he personalize it? Did he make it about me? Did he talk in terms of my priorities? Did he validate me without judging me? Absolutely. What a great move. Fantastic.
Roger Dooley: Right. Ideally, it should be an honest feeling too, because I actually had a politician in my area a long time ago that when our daughter hit the Adderall or something, I forget what it was, but got a nice handwritten note. Even though he was from the other political party from the one I favored, it was like, well, that was really nice of him and attentive and whatnot. My wife had also gotten into politics after that and happened to be in his office one time when he was signing these things, and all he could do is complain about, “Wow, I really hate this BS.”
Robin Dreeke: Now it’s all done. He blew it.
Roger Dooley: Yeah. She did not say, “Well, we were the recipient of one of those.” Our feeling just really changed about the whole thing, and you in particular. So when you do these little kind gestures, be sure that you’re being reasonably honest about them.
Robin Dreeke: This is a perfect example of what he didn’t display, was a congruence again. There’s incongruence between his words and his emotion. He had a nice false front there, but when you actually pulled the curtain back, you saw the incongruence and then trust is blown. And then once trust is blown, very, very difficult and challenging to get it back.
Roger Dooley: Well, quite true. I think even though that was a totally unique occurrence, that we would be there… my wife would be in a place to observe that lack of match between actions and what he was saying, there are other clues going forward, like if you got a little bit personal. But I’m sure it really fooled a lot of people who never had even the slightest personal contact with him other than that letter. But anyway. Just to wrap up here, Robin, do you have any other sort of quick hack type suggestions for our listeners? We have covered a lot of what’s in the book that they might be able to use in dealing with other people, reading them or in building trust?
Robin Dreeke: I’d say I’d really pay attention to that language, the sign five, we’re seeking thoughts and opinions, talking to in terms of your priorities, validating and giving you choices. I’m looking for that. That’s something you’re going to see right away. The other things I’m looking for that I think are really critical is emotional stability. That’s sign six. When faced with stress and challenging situations, does someone maintain good cognitive thought or do they go off the rails? If they’re consistently going off the rails and reacting irrationally, that’s something that’s going to give me pause because they become very unpredictable in a lot of situations, or at least in the fact that you know they’re going to become unpredictable, so they’d be predictably unpredictable.
Robin Dreeke: And that then goes to sign four which is actions. In other words, past patterns and key behaviors. If I see you do something, like I said earlier, one once, twice or three times, likelihood of you doing it four or five times, pretty high, because I call that… What’s the definition of crazy? Doing the same thing and expecting a different results? That’s where that one came from.
Roger Dooley: Great. That’s a good place to wrap, I think. Let me remind our listeners that we’re speaking with Robin Dreeke, former FBI agent and the author of the new book, Sizing People Up: A Veteran FBI Agent’s User Manual for Behavior Prediction. It’s not obvious from the cover, but a big part of this book is geared to helping you with reading people inside your organization and your boss in particular. The book describes many, many ways to see if behavior is matching up to what you’re told as we’ve just heard. So in any case, Robin, how can people find you and your ideas?
Robin Dreeke: Sure. Easy. I try to keep everyone simple, in one place, that’s peopleformula.com, all one word, peopleformula.com. Lots of good free videos on there. I’ve got a free course on there, and of course there’s always upselling on everything, but you get tons of content on there and also you can reach out to me directly right through there.
Roger Dooley: Great. Well, we will link there and to the new book and to any other resources we spoke about on the show notes page at rogerdooley.com/podcast and we’ll have a transcript of our conversation there as well. Robin, thanks for being on the show.
Robin Dreeke: Thanks again, Rogers, so much. Great talking to you as always.
Thank you for tuning into this episode of Brainfluence. To find more episodes like this one, and to access all of Roger’s online writing and resources, the best starting point is RogerDooley.com.
And remember, Roger’s new book, Friction, is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and book sellers everywhere. Bestselling author Dan Pink calls it, “An important read,” and Wharton Professor Dr. Joana Berger said, “You’ll understand Friction’s power and how to harness it.”
For more information or for links to Amazon and other sellers, go to RogerDooley.com/Friction.
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