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February 5, 2013

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Revealing True Happiness – Smiling Eyes

Every time you walk into a room, you naturally begin to assess all of the people around you.  You’re looking through the crowd to determine if there is anyone that you need to keep an eye on because they are showing hostility towards and also looking for any familiar faces. Beyond recognizing people we know, realizing who doesn’t like you is a huge reason why learning to read true facial expressions (expressions convey emotion) is so important.

It has been a while since we’ve written any articles about facial expressions but during a class last week I watched a boss tell one of his employees a joke (the joke wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very good either) and watched the employee do his best to put on a “happy face” to appease his boss.  I don’t know if the boss knew his joke was a flop or not, but realized we should talk about expressions.   In social settings,

November 27, 2012

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Threats Inside The Wire – Finding Common Ground

The reason that I led yesterday’s article off with the example of Nidal Hassan’s attack in Fort Hood might not be for the reason you would imagine. While this was a terrorist act in nature, the characteristics of his attack mirror those of a workplace violence incident.  In fact, it meets the exact definition of a Type 3 Workplace Violence incident as defined by OSHA.**  Nidal Hassan walked into a building where he was an employee/supervisor and committed a violent act against coworkers.

The situation in Afghanistan, where uniformed Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) open fire on their “coworker” American trainers, is no different.  To get further and further left of bang, we first need to understand

November 13, 2012

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Turning The Map Around – How A Company Looks At Hiring

In the military, every operation gets looked at from two perspectives.  The first is from the friendly perspective (as a Marine or Soldier looking at the enemy.) The second is from the enemy’s perspective (what he would be thinking looking at us.)  This is done to ensure a comprehensive approach to mission planning and, while we can’t mitigate every risk, it allows us to begin thinking about how we can predict and influence the actions the enemy may take in the future.

One of the hurdles people often face during the job search is that it can be difficult to put yourself into the shoes of a corporate hiring manager.  It can be difficult to turn the map around because people haven’t worked in human resources or truly understand how these managers look at job applicants. 

November 12, 2012

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Looking Back On A Failed Job Search

When I was first preparing to separate from the military, I failed in my post-Marine Corps career job search.  About ten months before I was set to leave Camp Pendleton, I sent my resume to over 50 companies over a two-month period and didn’t get a single response.  I couldn’t believe it.  It went against all of the promising things I was told as a Marine from people in the business world.

–       Your proven leadership experience will be sought after by companies in the private sector!

–       You’ve commanded more Marines in Iraq than your peers have managed at this point in their career!

–       The discipline and adaptability that they instill in Marines are traits that the business world looks for when recruiting from the military!

–       You have proven your ability to handle stress, work ethic and to meet timelines – this will separate you from your civilian peers!

I couldn’t even get a straightforward “no” from a business. 

November 1, 2012

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Closing The Deal In The Boardroom, On The Battlefield, Or In The Bar

We’ve all been there before.  We thought we had done enough to get the “yes,” whether it was for a new contract, an agreement with a village elder in a foreign country over the placement of a new well, or the number for the girl you’ve been talking to at the bar.  In fact, we were probably so confident in our presentation that a “no” was no longer even a real possibility in our mind.  Because of this, we probably stopped looking for the cues that could have alerted us to the impending and humiliating rejection that was around the next corner.  It might not always be an outright no either.  At first it could even be a “yes” just to get us to stop talking which also provides them the time for the “buyers remorse” to set in and have the deal breakdown later on.  Where did we go wrong?  It started by failing to

October 23, 2012

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From Science to the Streets – Motivating a Prospect to Buy

I posted an article last week that highlighted Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation. The problem with theory is that it isn’t always clear how that translates to real world application.  Lately, I’ve been following the Presidential debate and listening to the candidate’s plans to secure our energy independence, so let’s use the example of a company providing green energy as an example of how this theory can be applied to real life interactions.  How could a sales consultant use an understanding of motivation to improve their ability to sell?  By talking to prospects about what interests them.

October 16, 2012

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The Behavior Of Building Relationships – and a CrossFit Gym

I’ve always enjoyed healthy debate as a route to learning.  Having to defend an opinion or point of view makes a person stronger and plays a huge role in developing a deeper understanding of a topic.  There are few people in my life that have challenged me as frequently as Rick Gonzalez, making him a person that I continually rely on when I need to get past a superficial understanding on just about any topic imaginable.  While serving together in the Combat Hunter Program our conversations often led to new insights or new ways to reach students.  Because he has since gone on to open CrossFit Carlsbad in Carlsbad, CA our conversations now focus more on the challenges of starting and running a small business.  He recently offered up his thoughts on developing the relationships needed to grow your business to stability and success that I wanted to pass on to readers here.

Listen to Their Body Language – Not Your Voice

written by: Rick Gonzalez

For the past 3 years I have spent my time as a Marine teaching other Marines how to proactively identify threats in a combat environment.  Through the use of body language and other environmental cues, Marines would have more data gained from the world around them to make fast and frugal decisions.  When I separated from the Marine Corps, I assumed those skills were not transferable to a world of business.  I was wrong.

October 2, 2012

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Great TED Talk about Dominance vs. Submissiveness

A great talk from Amy Cuddy about the effect body language has on the person, definitely recommend taking the 20 minutes to view it.

After you are done, take a look at some posts that tie in similar concepts:

– She talks about what we refer to as Dominant and Submissive behavior: read what comprises those clusters.

– See how people respond to dominance here.

June 12, 2012

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The Clusters Have Been Updated

We have gone through the 6 different clusters that we use to define a person’s body language and expanded the possible behaviors that you can use classify the people you are observing.  The more you practice identifying these clusters will allow you to quickly establish baselines for individuals as well as notice the subtle changes in that can alert you to shifts in their moods and intentions.

To see the updated information, follow the links:

Dominant vs. Submissive Cluster

Uncomfortable vs. Comfortable Cluster

Interested vs. Uninterested Cluster

Some gestures bridge the gap across clusters and can fit into multiple clusters.  Continually look for three indicators that lead you to the same conclusion and determine if that gesture fits the baseline.  Finding creative ways to train yourself to identify these will allow you build the file folders you need to become an effective profiler.

March 12, 2012

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From Science to the Streets – When Your Confidence Is The Problem

After having a conversation with another Combat Hunter instructor about the how confident students should be making decisions immediately following our course, I wanted to find some more information about people’s confidence in reading nonverbal cues.  We want our students to be confident after the course, because without confidence in the accuracy of their observations, they may not take action to prevent a crime or an attack from occurring.  But, at the same time, we know that confidence is certainly not an indicator of capability when it comes to any skill, and we have all seen those people who are so overconfident in their assessments that no one takes them seriously.

So we want to instill a level of humble confidence in your students, humble enough to keep learning and being realistic about your capabilities, but confident enough to take action when you see something. You should also have confidence communicating why you did what you did.  Think about a police officer who has to take the stand to discuss specifically what they observed before they arrested the person, or a Marine whose actions have been called into question as to why they chose to shoot a suspected insurgent.  Your ability to confidently recall what you observed and why that information is valid as an indicator of threats can greatly influence the credibility of your actions.

December 11, 2011

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Book Review – Nonverbal Communication In Human Interaction

Of the “Must Read” books listed on the recommended reading list, Nonverbal Communication in Human Interaction, 7th Edition, by Mark Knapp and Judith Hall is at the bottom for a reason, but not because it is a bad read or without great information.  It is there for the exact opposite reason; it is absolutely full of incredibly well researched content that directly applies to Combat Profiling.

It is at the bottom of the list because when you read it, we want you to have already read What Every Body Is Saying, we want you to have read Lie Spotting, we want you to be comfortable with the content here on the site and we want you to have already gone out in town and observed all 6 domains of Combat Profiling in unscripted scenarios before you read it.

November 6, 2011


Understanding Body Language: Uncomfortable

The foundation of any behavioral analysis program begins with a deep understanding of what a person is conveying through their nonverbal communication.  Tying the domains Kinesics and Biometrics together allow us to quickly make decisions about a person’s intentions, capabilities and emotions.

The six clusters that we use to classify an individual’s behavior (Dominant, Submissiveness, Uncomfortable, Comfortable, Interested, Uninterested) are the science behind our observations.  With all of these clusters, don’t forget about the Combat Rule of 3’s – that we are going to look for three indicators that all lead to the same cluster before we make a decision.  If you have the science part of the observation down, you are ready to apply the art of the observation and decide if that cluster you have identified fits the baseline or is an anomaly.

The following are gestures on the body that I would put into the “Uncomfortable” Cluster.