Bennett Group Financial

Dawn Bennett, Host of Radio Show "Financial Myth Busting," Interviews Jack Shafer, Psychologist, Professor & Former FBI Special Agent


Washington, DC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/20/2015 --BENNETT: Jack Schafer is a psychologist, professor, intelligence consultant and former FBI special agent. He spent 15 years conducting counter-intelligence and counterterrorism investigations, as well as 7 years as a behavioral analyst for the FBI's National Security division. Jack has recently come out with the new book, The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over, which, he believes, will teach readers how to improve their likability and spot lies both in person and online. Jack, welcome to Financial Myth Busting.

JACK SCHAFER: Glad to be here. Thank you.

BENNETT: Jack, what is a key approach to get information out of somebody you are interviewing or profiling? Let's say, for example, a terrorist.

SCHAFER: The best way is to get that person to like you, because if that person likes you, they are going to be willing to give you information. If you scare them or torture them then they are going to not give you good information, and they are going to have their defenses up. So there are a few things we can do get people like us right away.

BENNETT: Compare this to the boardroom. How does somebody use these techniques and tactics to dominate the boardroom?

SCHAFER: Interestingly, the same techniques work in the boardroom as we used to get terrorist and spies to like us. Some of the techniques are: you've got to send off friend signals if you want to be friendly and you have to send off dominant signals if you want to be dominant. Some of the friend signals are the eyebrow flash. The eyebrow flash last about last about sixth of the second and it's just a quick up one down movement of an eyebrow and that just tells people that you are not a threat. Because what our brain does, it scans the environment for threats. If we see a threat, then the brain pays the attention to it. If the brain sees a friend signal, the brain has a tendency to ignore it and focus on the threat signals. So if you give an eyebrow flash this is a signal that says, "I'm not a threat." The second thing is the head tilt. When you tilt your head you are exposing your carotid artery that's a very vulnerable part of your body, and what you are telling to a person, you are saying to the person is "I trust you." And the last thing is a smile. If you smile, it gives you shot of endorphins which makes you feel good about yourself. And the other piece is if person feels good about themselves and then you are sending the message non verbally that, "I like you." Now, if you want to send a dominant signal in the boardroom, you don't tilt you head, you keep your head up right, and that sends a dominant signal. What is interesting is when I tell people these things, they come back and they say, 'Gee, I didn't realize I did these things. It must all be subconscious.' And it is, in fact, almost subconscious. So if you are aware of these things, then you can send a proper signal in the proper environment.

BENNETT: On police shows and in movies, interrogators put their subjects in a room for hours, and it looks like they are browbeating them. Is that not the way to get intel nowadays?

SCHAFER: No, that's not going to work, because if I start browbeating you, are you going to be more positive or more negative towards me? You would be more negative, of course.

BENNETT: Of course.

SCHAFER: Your shields are going to go up and I won't be able to convince you to do anything.

BENNETT: What about the unspoken signals that send the message that you are unhappy with somebody? Like when you're turned off during a date, or just don't like someone.

SCHAFER: Typically, what we do is we orient our body towards a door, or an exit, or away from the person when we are trying to send a message, 'We don't like you.' We will avoid eye contact; we will often set up barriers between ourselves and the other person; we will turn our torso toward the door; our feet start running in place. Those things are clues that the person doesn't like you and they want to leave. They will look at their watch a lot. They will look over you into other parts of the room, over your shoulder, not directly in your eyes.

BENNETT: Let's backtrack a little bit, so my listeners can get a sense of where your expertise comes from. Can you talk about what you did at the FBI and what you where training agents to do, and how you did it?

SCHAFER: I was a behavioral analyst and basically what we did is we visualized human relationships, and we identified the individual non-verbal and verbal cues that make up human relationships. Once we identify those, then we can develop strategies based on the person's psychological makeup and be able to find ways to convince them to do the morally correct thing.

BENNETT: I know one of your jobs was recruiting Soviet spies. What is the profile of an ideal spy? In James Bond's situation of course, you need to be extremely handsome and charming and seemingly lack any emotion when your love interest just got killed. What is it like in real life?

SCHAFER: The thing you want to look for is unhappy people. Happy people don't commit crimes. They don't commit espionage. They don't commit terrorist acts. Unhappy people commit those types of acts because they are looking for something that would make them happy. Happy people do things to make sure that they remain happy. Sad people do things to make them happy. So, unhappy people are the people we are focused on because they are also people that have needs and those needs we try to fulfill; either personal, psychological or physical.

BENNETT: Your book tells the tale of a Russian spy who was recruited to work for the U.S. Can you describe how such a thing was accomplished?

SCHAFER: The way we normally build relationships is first we have proximity with people. If we can just have proximity with people that predisposes us to like that person. So if we are just hanging out with somebody, not even talking to him, they are going to like us. And the second element in a personal relationship is frequency. We have to frequently be by them, or in their same area, and then that for many reasons causes us to lower our threat indicators so we become more and more comfortable with that person and see him as a friend versus a threat. Then what you have to do is slowly increase duration because the longer time you spend with somebody the more influence you have over them. The last thing is of course intensity. And most of those are those non-verbal things such as eyebrow flashes, smiles, close proximity, leaning forward—those types of things that indicate that there is some intention. You know, like chin nods, head nods. If you add those things up together in that formula then you will be able to develop a relationship. The reason we know it works is because that's how all human relationships are formed, not just when you are trying to recruit somebody.

BENNETT: When you're trying to recruit a Chinese spy, or a Middle Eastern spy, you do the same things?

SCHAFER: Absolutely, because these are the basic fundamentals of human relationships and what's great about it is it crosses over cultural diversity, cultural barriers and gender barriers. Because if you are a human, then you're going to want to build relationships this way.

BENNETT: I mentioned being on a date earlier. Has anybody used any of your techniques to have better luck meeting girls or guys in bars? Is there crossover there?

SCHAFER: Absolutely. Actually, when I teach my classes I teach some of these behavioral skills to my college students and they come back and they can't say enough about how they got a date over the weekend. Friends of mine have said, "I used the friendship formula it works." And I think the takeaway is that if you want people to like you, there is one technique that works 100 percent of the time without fail and it's a very simple technique. If you want people to like you, you make them feel good about themselves.


SCHAFER: Because if they feel good about themselves, then they will want to come to see you again. The magic part of this is you won't have to ask them to come see you again, they will willingly want to come to see you again. They are going to think of any excuse they can to come to see you again.

BENNETT: What about employees that are trying to ask for raise? That's a more complicated situation, of course, but is there any technique you could share with our listeners to help them get that raise?

SCHAFER: First thing you need is something to go to your boss and say, "I have accomplished so many objectives this quarter or this month." And the second thing is, you are going to have to get your boss to like you. So what you want to do is to make sure that you are sending off friend signals, make sure that you are building that relationship over the period of time you're working towards getting a raise. The other thing I think that I can give you a nice cue is the lip purse. If you are asking your boss for a raise and you are giving him all these things that you've done, or you are asking for different resources for the project you are doing, if you see a lip purse, that means your boss has already formed a sense in his mind that's in a direct opposition to what you are saying. So the key here is to get your boss to change his mind, in his mind, because once he articulates 'No' it's going to be a lot more difficult because of the psychological principle of consistency. When we commit to something, we have a psychological predisposition to be consistent with it.

BENNETT: What about the lip purse in negotiations? I've seen it over and over again in my 30 year career, working with clients. Does it mean something different each time, or does it always mean they are not interested, or are angry?

SCHAFER: It doesn't mean necessarily that they are not interested or angry. It means they formed some opposition to what you said. If you say, 'I can use this to do this; this will cost you x amount and I will be able to do this particular thing on my widget', and they purse their lips, they are saying to you, 'I don't think what you are saying is true."

BENNETT: Uh-huh.

SCHAFER: So once you see that, you know already with the topic is. You say, "I bet you are thinking this won't work for your company." And then you will see a nice little head nod that means, yes, that's the thing. So now you have to convince him before he has a chance to say, "No, I am out," because that gives you a psychological advantage.

BENNETT: If you are thinking of starting a business and trying to maneuver over skeptical investors that lip purse is actually something that, if you see it, you can try to turn it around before they decide to make their final decision. How can entrepreneurs use body language in general to project competence and a sense of trust?

SCHAFER: People buy things from people they like, they employ people that they like, you get better service from people when they like you, especially when you have a complaint. So the big thing is to get someone to like you and you can do it very easily by sending off the proper friend signals.

BENNETT: We have listeners that work for tips, taxi drivers, waiters, waitresses. What can they do to increase their tips?

SCHAFER: The number one thing is for females, if you put a flower in your hair, the research shows that you're going to get a higher tip.

BENNETT: A flower?

SCHAFER: If you put even a barrette in your hair, you are going to get a higher tip. If you call that person by their first name, the customer. I'm sorry, I mean, if you say, "Hi. My name is so and so. I'm here to serve you." If you use your first name with them, then you are going to get a higher tip. If you repeat the menu back to them, you are going to have tendency to get a higher tip. And of course, good service doesn't hurt.

BENNETT: And a nice smile.

SCHAFER: Yes. And a smile, and a head tilt and an eyebrow flash. Just think about it, all the people you tip—especially me, I tip to the people I like. I tip them higher because I like that person. I want to do something for that person not because I have to. Sometimes I feel I have to tip somebody although I got a bad service so I give them the absolute minimum. But I tip heavily to the people I like. So the key is to get people to like you either in the short-term or the long-term. It's not difficult if they can feel comfortable.

BENNETT: Jack, go back to the flower in the hair and a barrette. Those are two different things, why would it produce the same results?

SCHAFER: The research isn't real clear on that but what they are saying is if there is some ornament in your hair, you are going to get a higher tip and the flower is the one item in the ornament class that got the highest tips. I'm just saying these are great ways to get a few more dollars...

BENNETT: And to get an edge. What about people who move to a new city for work and start out by being completely alone. It can be difficult to figure out how to start making friends. Can you share one tip on that?

SCHAFER: Yes. If you are going to a restaurant, you just be in that restaurant and stay in the restaurant and keep going back to the restaurant. Then you want to get a curiosity hook, you want to bring something into that restaurant that people who are going to look at you will say, "What are you doing that for?" And then what happens is somebody will come up to you and say, "Hey, this is interesting, what are you doing?" And typically, it's going to be a waitress. If you take the next step and they like you, what's going to happen is that other customers in that restaurant are going to ask the waitress about you and she will be your ambassador. Or he.

BENNETT: Jack, thank so much for being on Financial Myth Busting. Jack's book is called The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over, and you can find it on Amazon.

All data sourced through Bloomberg

Securities offered through Western International Securities, Inc., Member FINRA & SIPC. Bennett Group Financial & Western International Securities, Inc. are separate and unaffiliated companies.

About Dawn Bennett
Dawn Bennett is CEO and Founder of Bennett Group Financial Services. She hosts a national radio program called Financial Myth Busting

She discusses educational topics and events in the financial news, along with her thoughts on the economy, financial markets, investments, and more with her live guests, who have included rock legend Ted Nugent, as well as Steve Forbes and Grover Norquist. Listeners can call 855-884-DAWN a as well as take podcasts on the road and forums for interaction.

She can be reached on Twitter @DawnBennettFMB or on Facebook Financial Myth Busting with Dawn Bennett or