LP Magazine

MAR-APR 2019

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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INTERVIEWING by David E. Zulawski, CFI, CFE and Shane G. Sturman, CFI, CPP Zulawski and Sturman are executives in the investigative and training firm of Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates (w-z.com). Zulawski is a senior partner, and Sturman is president. Sturman is also a member of ASIS International's Retail Loss Prevention Council. They can be reached at 800-222-7789 or via email at dzulawski@w-z.com and ssturman@w-z.com. © 2019 Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates, Inc. When gestures do not match the words intended or emphasize or extend beyond the end of the sentence, an investigator should continue to explore these areas of concern. continued on page 14 Thought and Gesture " W here the heck is that file? I know I just had it." "It's right over there." I said pointing at the file. Then I noticed my extended index finger aimed directly at the missing file at the point I said "there." How had that happened? I hadn't thought about pointing, but somehow, I had done it as part of my answer. The pointing finger is clearly understood to direct another's gaze or attention to a particular area, but here it appeared without an apparent conscious thought on my part. This became a topic of conversation around the office—thought and gesture. Have you ever consciously thought about making a gesture while you were talking, or do they just happen naturally as part of the conversation? Certainly, actors plan some of their movements as part of a well-choreographed performance, but in day-to-day conversation gestures just seem to appear perfectly timed matching our words and meaning. So how does that happen, and what can we learn about the seemingly perfect natural selection of the right gesture? Cultural Differences People who use gestures generally fall into one of three large groups of users depending on culture and geographic regions of the globe. The groups that use gestures the least are the Nordic countries, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greenland, and Denmark. Plus, you could include Asian communities such as China, Korea, and Japan who also make little use of gestures as part of their communication. The second group makes moderate use of gestures to communicate, which may increase as they become more excited. This group includes the Russian, German, British, Dutch, and Belgian peoples. The final group uses gestures extensively in communication, and they have historically culturally influenced others in the world. Here we think of the Italians, Spanish, and Portuguese whose language incorporates gestures heavily to convey meaning. If we take a historical perspective, you can see their influence on the communication style of those in the Middle East and South America where early colonies were under their rule. The United States is a melting pot of people, and the gestures here vary depending on the concentration of a cultural norm. While nationality might play a part in the level of gesturing, the cultural norm is clearly more important. Common amongst all people are the basic human emotions—fear, anger, surprise, sadness, happiness, disgust, and contempt—but gestures themselves can be unique and geographically diverse. Gestures versus Emblems Somehow, the gesture must be linked to thought and language in a specific way that does not require a person to consciously select and incorporate it in the conversation. The actions we take when getting ready to leave an encounter are predictive of what we are about to do. Shifting our feet and bodies, we start to turn toward our point of exit physically announcing our intention to leave. The trunk of the body moves away from the other speaker, eye contact diminishes, and we begin to collect our items, further suggesting the conversation is at an end. Sometimes these gestures and behaviors are conscious and other times not; we just do them without thinking. For example, when we feel anxious, we may use self-touching to reassure and support ourselves. The hands may hug or touch the face or body to comfort ourselves with the emotional support we feel we need. The term "gesture" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "a movement usually of the body or limbs that expresses or emphasizes an idea, sentiment, or attitude." The spoken language and gestures are so closely related that unless they are consciously done, they must be part of the same process. Language is a series of descriptive terms strung together to communicate an idea while the gestures add depth to them by providing emphasis and spatial characteristics to the story. One could almost think of gestures as being a picture or drawing to add dimension and context to the words. 12 MARCH–APRIL 2019 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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