As part of our Executive Roundtable Interview Series, we sat down with Lisa Mitchell – CFI, Founder, Power Body Language.
Lisa Mitchell is a communications expert and experienced operations executive with expertise in communications strategy, change management, technology, and forensic interviewing. Lisa specializes in helping companies develop effective executive communications strategies, executive coaching and development, and making large transformational initiatives less painful through effective organizational communications training and coaching.
Lisa holds a Masters of Management from Indiana Institute of Technology and is a Certified Forensic Interviewer (CFI) through the International Association of Interviewers.
We asked Lisa to to share her unique perspective on how to conduct better interviews and investigations by understaning the power of body language. You can hear Lisa at the upcoming ISCPO 2020 Conference where she’ll present her keynote session: Winning High-Consequence Conversations.
Tell us a bit about your business.
I founded Power Body Language to help people build their confidence and feel really good about how they are walking into a room every single time. Understanding how you’re showing up and also
being able to decode what is happening on the other side of your face during an interaction gives you the opportunity to create the best possible experience for everyone involved and makes getting what you want a lot easier, and who doesn’t want that?
What is the science behind body language?
We are constantly sending data points and messages with our body language and non verbal cues, whether we are being strategic about it or not. In fact, when you look at the “weight” of communication modes, body language and non verbal communication carries more impact than verbal communication so it really is more about how you communicate versus what you are saying in many cases. We are naturally really good at reading body language and getting a feeling about someone when we first meet them, but learning the science behind body language helps give you even better data to work with about how someone really feels, how they are experiencing you, and even what their intentions towards you might be.
How can body language be translated to our industry of security and investigations and what are the benefits for this industry?
Understanding body language and non verbal cues is a powerful tool for security professionals and those conducting investigations because it helps you more accurately decode the information and presentation of the person or people you are interacting with or investigating. Most people who are involved in some sort of dishonest or criminal behavior will leak indicators of discomfort, nervousness, and deception while being watched or questioned and a skilled security professional who knows what cues to look for, and more importantly what those cues mean, can leverage that during the course of an investigation to gain more information, formulate more targeted questions, and know when to dig deeper to uncover the truth.
Understanding how your body language and non verbal cues set the temperature during an investigation and interview is also imperative for making sure that you are managing yourself in a way that helps you get to the truth, not in a way that shuts down the subject or creates an environment of fear or distrust. When I work with law enforcement and LP/AP pros, we spend a lot of time on understanding how their body language, facial expressions, and vocal cues are impacting their interactions and the outcomes they can expect based on how they are showing up in the room. It’s powerful knowledge and it does increase the odds of a successful interview.
What’s next for this field?
The fields of communication and technology are both advancing at a staggering pace and when you combine the two, it really opens up a whole new way of interacting with people, completing investigations, and managing security environments. There is some really interesting and promising technology emerging, including facial recognition programs, behavior tracking software, and even body language decoding programs to measure everything from client experience to potential threats and it’s going to require security professionals across all industries to continue to enhance their communication skills as a priority in order to leverage those tools and technology to their maximum benefit.