GETTING SENSITIVE INFORMATION
WITHOUT ASKING ANY QUESTIONS
Imagine this is your task:
Go to a local grocery store, approach someone in the produce section, and find out within 60 seconds how much money they make.
Initially, we might assume we need to ask questions. But in our Westernized culture, sex and money are things we don't typically discuss with strangers, much less our circle of friends.
If you approached this person in the produce section and asked how much money she made, you'd likely get a negative emotional response. She'd also probably think you're socially awkward, and refuse to answer the question.
There's one simple rule to getting sensitive information: The more sensitive the information is, the less questions you should ask.
The more sensitive the information you need is, the less questions you should ask.
What if you approached the person in the store and simply made a statement instead?
"Hey, I just heard you guys got a major pay raise in the store to $18.00 per hour! That's fantastic!"
The likely response would be to correct you, and say something like, 'uh...no. We only get $12.75 per hour here.'
There's a natural need in humans to 'correct the record' or 'set the record straight'.
Our statement alone got us the information we need without asking a question at all. She even feels as though she volunteered the information, and the rapport you can build after this disclosure is possible because you're not being viewed as a weirdo.
Using statements, we can get a lot of information out of people.
In our one-day intelligence operations class, we take this to a completely new level by teaching and showing how this works in conversations. The methods are some of the most powerful ways to get information in conversations.
One more technique you can try today is called 'Informational Altruism'.
When someone shares something personal with us, we tend to feel two things:
1. It's okay to share things like this with this person
2. An obligation to reciprocate
If you simply begin sharing something similar, the person you're speaking to is likely to feel a need to reciprocate in most social settings.
RECAP AND HOMEWORK
Next time you're in an Uber, test out technique 1. Tell the Uber driver you just saw an article about how they treat their employees really well. Then just listen.
Test out method 2 next time you're in a conversation by sharing something a little bit personal. The response you get will not only be more heartfelt, you'll develop a deeper conversation with the person you're speaking to.
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