How To Question Someone to Get to the Truth. How to Question and Employee

In my Establishing Credibility and Trust and Detecting Deception Workshops, I teach questioning techniques similar to the ones described in the article at the bottom of this post.  

When I first taught interviews and interrogation techniques for a law-enforcement training center, the few books on the topic suggested the kind of forceful bullying interrogations you see on detective shows. But, I believed that the best technique to get to the truth was to establish rapport and trust and to listen carefully and observe body language. And I believed and taught then and continue to teach that interviews with victims and witnesses especially those who experienced fear or discomfort of any kind require great patience and empathy.

I teach programs for HR professionals, managers, C-Suite executives and business owners to interview all the parties in a Human Resource issue.  Here are two kinds of questions you that may surprise you with their effectiveness at getting to the truth.

1) Non-Judgmental Open-ended questions are essential.  Instead of creating stress by saying, "Tell me every detail you can remember..." "Or tell me all the details..." 

What are you able to tell me about your experience?
What can't you forget?
What stands out about your experience?

2) Sense Memory Questions 

Our sense of memory in a real experience is very strong.  If someone is telling the truth they experienced a real situation or situations with all their senses. They heard, saw, smelled and felt the experience. If,  in your workplace, you have an employee that is sharing a bad experience and asking for help and they are having trouble sharing the experience the questions below can help them recall it. If you doubt the veracity of someone's story you can ask "sense" questions to test their story. Liars tend to create a "word" story in their neocortex. They didn't experience it the true experience.  
Asking "Sense" questions will create a cognitive overload that is likely to create stress so you may see them struggle to answer simple questions and give nonverbal tells of stress.  With a sense memory question, you have the possibility of helping some "Re-fire Up" their memory as memories are recalled when we activate a network of interconnected neurons.  Because information comes to us through our sense of sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. When we recall a memory we re-fire the same neural paths that we used to sense the original experience and in a way, we recreate the event.

What are you able to recall about what you saw?
What you able to recall about what you heard or smelled?” 
How were you sitting standing or moving?
Describe the temperature, the sounds and the other feelings of the experience

(The five basic senses are sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. There are other senses such as the vestibular sense, thermoception, nociception, and proprioception)

I love that the team below where trained in interview techniques to help victims tell their truth 

Here is an excerpt from the articles. 
“.,.,,questions are open-ended and empathetic — more an invitation to share than a relentless hammer to provide a precise chronological account. “What are you able to tell me about your experience?” takes the pressure off the victim to figure out what the investigator wants and allows for actual recollection. “What are you able to recall about what you heard or smelled?” taps into the victim’s deeper sensory experience. “What can’t you forget about your experience?” bypasses what the victim has forgotten and offers an entryway into other memories.

This article also shows the power and bullying behind the mask of a psychopath and malignant narcissist. This is a man who fooled the pubic posing as a great guy while behind the scenes he abused, bullied and smeared the credibility of his victims.

Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at