Can the Head of the FBI’s CounterIntelligence Training Center Build Rapport?

The short answer is yes.

Robin Dreeke is the lead instructor at the FBI’s CounterIntelligence Training Center in all behavioral and interpersonal skills training.

He knows a thing or two about a thing or two related to building rapport.

To sum his book up in one sentence: It’s not about you, it’s about them.

If you focus on them, you’re off to a good start.

Here is his list:

  1. Establishing Artificial Time Constraints – Let people know you plan on leaving. If you say you have to leave shortly but you want to ask a quick question, the person knows they’re not in for a long conversation.
  2. Accomodating Nonverbals – Smile, stand at a slight angle when talking to people, and have a slightly lower chin angle when talking to avoid giving the impression of looking down on somebody.
  3. Talk slower – Self explanatory; slower talkers sound more credible.
  4. Utilize sympathy or assistance theme – Ask people for a quick favor, either advice you need, or help with a decision you’re trying to make.
  5. Ego suspension – Don’t interject with your own stories. It’s not about you.
  6. Validate others – Listen, be thoughtful, and validate their opinions.
  7. Ask How, When, and Why – Anchor or solidify relationships by asking more in depth, open ended questions.
  8. Quid Pro Quo – Give a little information about yourself if you feel like the person is introverted or guarded, or if you think they’re conscious of how much they’ve been talking.
  9. Reciprocal Altruism – Give gifts (material or non-material). Keeping your focus on the other person is a gift.
  10. Manage Expectations – Avoid looking like a salesman by ensuring the focus is on them, not you.

This book was a very quick read and highly recommended.

Robin Dreeke also did a podcast where he discuss his book which goes over in more detail what’s mentioned above.

You can also find his top 10 list here from his website

I was also able to dig up some articles he wrote for the FBI Bulletin. One about behavioral mirroring in interviewing and the other about the behavior analysis program.

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