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Interrogation Techniques

Try a Little P.A.S. in Your Interview

by Stan B. Walters, CSP
“The Lie Guy®”

We’ve discussed in class and in a past issue the four step process of Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation® – orientation, narration, cross examination and resolution. After the subject has presented their statement or alibi during the “narration” phase, the interviewer then takes the opportunity to address any incomplete answers or contradictions in the subject’s statement as well as obvious conflict between the statement and forensic details.  The “cross-examination” technique chosen is the one that most closely matches the subject’s personality type – emotion, sensory, logic or ego dominant.   One way to organize you thoughts for this cross-examination phase is to use a very common and very effective sales formula called P.A.S. or Problem – Agitate – Solve.  Dan Kennedy who is one of the country’s top sales professionals says that this technique “may the most reliable sales formula ever invented.”  Isn’t the interviewer doing a little selling?

The first step is to illustrate in some detail to the subject the “problem” with the facts of the case and his or her statement on the contradictions found in their statement.  For example, that despite their protestations that they were not at the scene that there are witnesses, computer logs, video tapes, credit card transactions, etc. that suggest the contrary.  Highlighting these problems can focus on the victim’s statement,  implausibility of their statements, memory lapse, etc.  Articulate in detail the “problem” as you see it and why the proof supports your position.

After you have established that there is a problem in a clear and forceful manner it’s time to get the subject “agitated” about the problem.  We do this by tapping into either their emotions about the evidence, the significance of each of the pieces of detail, the logical weight of the argument that is against their position and supports yours or the what will be the most likely public perception of the arguments that support your proof.   The idea is to force the subject to realize the futility of sustaining their argument or agree with the proof that is mounting against them.

Now that you have stated the “problem”, “agitated” the subject to the point that they are mentally wringing their hands you are going to unveil the answers to his problems. This is when the subject is desparately going to be looking for a way out of this delimma that have gotten themselves into and you are the only person who has got the “solution.” At this point you can now lay out the options the subject has available and the possible consequences and alternatives to each.  Isolate the “good” and “bad” choices that he or she has available to them and the possible outcomes for each. Be prepared to listen and to and watch your subject for verbal and nonverbal cues that indicate that an admission or confession will be imminent.

More often than not our perceptions of the difficulties and complexities of the interrogation process are often larger in our minds than they are in reality.  Sometimes a simple approach is all you need and the proven technique of “Problem – Agitate -Solve” or P.A.S. is all your need to create the foundation of a successful interrogation.