Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Getting Introverts to T alk

We were asked by the S.W.A.T. team officer:

My name is XXX and I am a SWAT negotiator with the XXX Police Department. One of my jobs is to find new recourse's and training for the negotiation team. Your article intrigued me because we often deal with people who are non responsive and show very introverted traits.

It is essential that we communicate with people in crisis regardless if they are introverts or not. Often times when my team arrives at a scene, the person in crisis does not want to respond.

Do you have any additional information on how to break the ice with Introverts?

How to get people to start talking with us when they're in crisis?

Thank you for your time,

XXx XXXPolice Department HNT Team

Our answer on behalf of introverts everywhere ...

This is from my technical, spiritual and menu advisor Dave who taught me everything I know about MBTI!!.
Relative to MBTI types, there are two distinct types of Introverts. The Introverted Sensing types will always notice and (hopefully) recall more data than any police officer needs. They observe and remember everything and only need to be made to feel like they are part of the team in order to share this information. Of course, you can't make them part of the team if you bully them or pressure them. This is especially true of ISTP/ISFP's. Judging types tend to naturally understand the need for order and closure.

Introverted Intuitive types are more of a problem since they are not naturally very aware of their surroundings. They might not even notice key details that could provide helpful information to the police. It is very hard to share information that you never collected. Fortunately, only a very small percentage of the population are IN-types.

Lets use an example here. Bad guys try to rob a bank, cops show up - hostage situation at hand. Bad guys released 12 Introverted hostages in good faith. Police need to interview the released hostages. All 10 of the IS types notice what the bad guys were wearing, how many guns they had, how much ammo they had, whether their nails were dirty or they needed a shave.
In the back of their minds, the ISTP/ISFP Artisans would take this robbery personal. The ISTJ/ISFJ Guardians would view it as an attack on the system (that they love).

The Introverted Intuitive would look at it from a broader perspective.
The lone INFP is probably wondering why they were robbing the bank for in the first place, why would they pick that bank, wonder about the bad guys family life, what drove them to crime, etc. The INTJ is wondering why they would rob a bank so close to a police station, and why they didn't have a better getaway plan. The INTJ just knew they could do a better job robbing a bank.

Obviously, this is a gross exaggeration - but it does make my point.
Information is not the same thing for everyone. This is a very important consideration.

My take on this is that you are pretty much on the money except it might not hurt to consider the shadow personality thing. Fear can make Extroverts clam up tight as a drum. It call also make Introverts talkative. The most important thing to do is take fear out of the equation for Extroverts and to allow the shadow side of the Introvert to show itself. I would not decrease the pressure on the Introverts - I would increase it. Of course, I am a prick sometimes. Let me re-state that. I think that all of what you suggested in great, especially the part about the calming voice, creating a comfortable atmosphere and even a being able to write down thoughts. It is always a good idea to give an Introvert a notepad to write on as you are asking questions. These same things should all work well with Extroverts too, in my untrained opinion, as you are trying to calm and manage their energy.

If the above doesn't work, then I would push really hard. Introverts will usually revert into themselves under pressure - they will find their comfort zone and hide there for long periods of time. To extract information, you need to push them out of their comfort zone by being demanding and intruding. The only sure way to get them out of their space is for you to get into it and push them out. This will lead to a lot of bad feelings and resentment - but it is quick and effective.

I hope this helps. Thanks for sharing with me...


These are my suggestions that he is referring. Take what you like and leave the rest. “Intention” always rules! As my grandmother used to say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

First and foremost, mirror their body language EXACTLY. Continue to do this throughout your time together.
> 2. Have several people to choose from including at least one woman. Ask them, “Who (which one)do you want to stay here with you?” Use
> those exact words, don’t mention talking.
> 3. Give good eye contact one time (make sure it happens) and then look down or away for the rest of the time.
> 4. Keep your voice well modulated (no quasi military bullshit)
> 5. Say “we” instead of “I”
> 6. “We need some information. It will be days before you can really organize your thoughts, we understand, so you can answer one-word answers and we’ll let you write it out for us later or come by and hear the whole story and exactly how it happened in a few days. For now it’s ok to just answer in one word. Ok? It’s ok if you need to cry, too, or smoke or anything you need to do, ok, we can still understand your words. Nod your head when you’re ready ... when we can begin, ok. One word is all we need. We’ll help you with the rest.” [I am purposely using vague and winding language so s/he can get used to the sound of my voice. At a crisis situation sounds are horrifying to an introvert, way too much noise and stimulation. Use your voice to calm the person down.]

7. Especially the aforementioned infp type will want to know no one will be shot or convicted on the basis of information they came up with on the spur of the moment and under duress.
> 7. “Would you like to continue somewhere else?” Introverts are very territorial and very sensitive to their surroundings. They may overtly want you off of their property or out of their living space before they can calm down.
> 8. “Would you like me to hold your hand?” Expect an emphatic yes or no and don’t take it personally – there are 4 different types of introverts.
> 9. In every group of people there is always someone with a calming VOICE. Be on the lookout for this person and try to recruit them L OL
> 10. “All we need is for you to do your best with your one or two word answers. We’ll let you correct it all later if you need to. Just do your best.”
> Regarding people one-step removed from the crisis
> 11. IF the person isn’t directly involved in the situation convince them how IMPORTANT it is. Introverts hate small talk and won’t say anything if it isn’t going to be taken seriously.. “Lives have been saved by seemingly casual information from bystanders like you.” “We feel you may have critical information to add to the big picture .....”

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