View Full Version : Pre-Contact Communication Tactics

Darren Laur
15th July 2002, 20:44
An instructor once said (don't remember who, but very powerful statement); " If you can get them to talk, you can persuade them to walk". It has been my experience that if I can get a meaningful verbal interaction going between me and the threat, I will likely bring about a successful resolution to the situation. The "KEY" here is to get them to talk

It is my belief that the key skill in negotiation, during the pre-contact phase of a confrontation, is to dovetail outcomes. What do I mean by this ?, you need to fit the negotiation process together, so that everyone involved gets what they want. Obviously, the "presupposition" here is that the best way to achieve your outcome is to make sure that everyone involved achieves their's as well. In my opinion, if you can allow a person to "save face" it will allow for a win/win situation in the majority of cases.

Negotiation, however, is going to be different from person to person depending upon their specific "modality" of communication. If I'm attempting to de-escalate a situation verbally in the pre-contact phase, then I had better be communicating in a "modality" (language of the subconscious) that my threat(s) understand. Notice I said threat(s). In a multiple opponent situation, you may have to use a variety of modalities. I would, however, recommend that you target the language modality of the leader if possible, because he/she makes the call in a pack mentality. If you do not communicate in a modality understood by your threat, it will make the person technically "deaf" to your verbal attempts at de-escalation.

The Communication Language Of The Subconscious (modalities):

There are three primary communication modalities that we should be aware of; Visual, Auditory, kinesthetic (VAK):

1. Visuals:

Visuals understand what you say by what they see. Remember that these types of people turn words into pictures and images. Because of this fact, they understand communication best when it paints a picture for them. This type of communicator will say things like:

-"I wonder what you will look like once I'm through with you"
- "The look on your face shows me your scarred shitless"
- "When I'm done with you, you will look like ground beef"
- Usually have high pitched and/or strained tonality
- Will usually show quick bursts of words and generally have a fast tempo
- Predicates(words) for the visual include:

- Appear
- Disappear
- Foresee
- Imagine
- Overview
- Scope
- Vague
- Enlighten
- Wee
- Clear
- Show
- Watch
- Look

Phrases that visuals might use include:

- I see what you mean
- That's not clear to me
- Don't keep me in the dark
- Point out what you mean
- I am just seeing red
- Just give me the big picture
- Get a new perspective on this matter

These phrases could also be the template that you can work from when communicating with a Visual in the de-escalation stage.

2. Auditory

Auditories are sound based people. They get more information from how you say things than by what you show them. How you say what you say (paralinguistics) are more important than you content. Working like a tape recorder, Auditories play back recordings to get an idea of what you are saying.

- "I'm going to make you squeal like a stuck pig"¨
- " You cry and sound like a little baby"
- Will have clear resonant tonality
- Tempo will be even and rhythmic
- Predicates (words) used by the Auditory include:
- Whisper
- Babble
- Ringing
- Noisy
- Buzz
- Earshot
- Listen
- Sound
- Quiet

Auditory Phrases might include:

- I hear you loud and clear
- Don't give me any static on this
- It was music to my ears
- It was as clear as a bell
- It was all double talk
- Are we in tune with each other

Again, these phrases could be used as templates for you to use as well if dealing with an Auditory in the de-escalation phase

3. Kinesthetic

Kinesthetic make decisions by how they feel rather than by what they see or hear. Information comes predominately from touch, feeling, emotions, gut instincts more than from what you say. These types will get an instant feeling of like or dislike when around you. When they feel good about a situation, they will buy into it

- Kinesthetic talk about feelings in their communication. "I can't seen to handle this situation because it makes me feel so stressed" or " that person just rubs me the wrong way"

- this is going to make me feel so goodˇ¨
- Predicates (words) used include
- Feel
- Handle
- Firm
- Hard
- Soft
- Touch
- Catch poke
- Strike
- Hit
- Press
- Stumble through

- Kinesthetic phrases might include:
- I get the point
- I can't grasp it
- That strikes me right
- It hit me like a ton of bricks
- I need to back off
- He just rubs me the wrong way

Again, these phrases can be used as templates in the de-escalation phase

Once you understand communication modalities of the threat, now you can start modeling your communication style with their’s thus creating understanding and rapport. If someone is painting a picture using visual words, when speaking to that person, you should paint them a picture as well. If they are talking about how things sound or feel to them, speak in similar terms. Remember, if you treat a visual like a kinesthetic, the visual simply won’t respond. You have to be able to recognize this and shift into the modality that allows you to communicate more effectively. Once you have accomplished this, you can now begin to use specific communication techniques with appropriate modalities:

Some Communication Techniques I Use:

- Ask people to repeat what they said. " I'm sorry I didn't quite catch that, would you please repeat that again"¨ This allows one to think, formulate a plan and to clarify a problem
- Ask questions, who, what, where, when, how, and why. Again clarifies an issue and shows concern
- Interrupt by using their name if able. A person's first name is the most important name in the dictionary due to the fact that it allows you to personalize the contact
- Use "we" instead of "I", when using we it indicates that what you are saying is not an order. Instead of saying "I want you to go over there so that I can talk to you" maybe rephrase "why don't we go over here and discuss this"
- The use of a pattern Interruption technique. This can be very useful in derailing a person's thought process from something that was pissing them off. These happen all the time in our lives. In the middle of a conversation someone enters your officer and interrupts your thought process often causing amnesia. Not uncommon to hear a person say ˇ§ now, where was I, I've lost my train of thought. Pattern interrupts are most effective if you use them just as the trouble or problem begins. At that point, a pattern interrupt can be used to stop the trouble before it starts. By breaking the flow in the behavior conversation, you may rescue it before it turns sour. A pattern interrupt could include, coughing, sneezing, dropping something, swatting a bug, exclaiming, loud noise ect.
- Matching predicates or Buzz words

One must remember that there is a time for talking and a time for fighting. If I'm fighting, I WILL not be talking. Wars have been started over words,the meaning of those words, and what was said by both sides. In the pre-contact phase, where communication is a valuable tool for de-escalation (where appropriate and reasonable to do so) , one needs to become just as skilled in art and science of communication, as they are their physical combatives.

Please realize I have only skimmed the surface on the science of NLP. I would encourage all who study combatives, to take a basic NLP course.

Strength and Honor

Darren Laur