LP Magazine

MAY-JUN 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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continued on page 14 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. Thought and Gesture: Part 2 I n our last column, we discussed some of the geographic differences when using gestures in other cultures. We also touched on the differences between an emblem and gesture, plus some cultural variations in emblems. Our focus here will be the view that gestures and language are created together as a single process delivered together seamlessly in a choreographed fashion to convey understanding to another. Spacial Context Gestures are unconsciously created as the language is chosen to support the communication and understanding of the speaker. Gestures can have a full range of meaning that is designated by the speaker, which could be spacial, descriptive, or a motion. But the gesture itself may also reveal the internal mental image the speaker is using when describing the thought. For example, the gestures can be almost like a diagram providing a context for the story to unfold. When we use a diagram as part of the interview, the subject uses it to convey information in a clearer way. The diagram provides a spacial context for the witness's description of events. Pointing to a space in the room gives that topic a frame of reference to a particular place, and another gesture made to that same spot later in the conversation adds further context to what is being said. So an interviewer might become aware the witness has pointed to a place in front of her when she says, "Jill's house." That point in space now represents Jill's house. But later she says, "We had talked earlier about going to Jill's, then stopped at the house" (pointing to a different location in front of her than she used before when referring to Jill's house). From this sentence we might assume the house referred to was Jill's, but then why is the gesture mismatched from the location she indicated before? It would seem the gesture indicates a physical location other than Jill's house, and it would have been more appropriate to say "her" rather than "the" house. On some occasions a gesture can also help the observer determine the point of view the speaker is taking when reporting his narrative. For example, Robert is known to be an ultraliberal Democrat, often espousing liberal positions to anyone who will listen. Yet when he describes a meeting between Republicans and Democrats, he says the following: "The Republicans"—gestures and touches his chest—"and Democrats separately gathered at different ends of the room." Robert's self-touch to his chest might indicate that he was a Republican, but this is a mismatch based on what we know about him. A more likely explanation is that he was standing with the Republicans as he was describing the two groups in the room. The self-touch here was an indication of his spatial orientation in the description instead of an indication of his political affiliation. An interviewer can use gestures to establish the meaning of space in the interview room. Pastors often do this as they preach, indicating spatially around them where good and evil reside. Generally, the pastors use space directly in front of them to indicate goodness, and somewhere off to one side or the other is the space where evil resides. They use the spaces and their gestures to support their preaching. Interviewers in the same way can use space in the room to indicate good and bad. For us, the good space generally occupies that immediately in front of us and somewhat down. When we talk about positive things our hands are open palms up as though delivering a gift to another, while the bad space occupies one side or the other and slightly behind our bodies. Once these spaces have been identified, we can now use gestures as a subtext to indicate positive and negative aspects that we may not want to explicitly identify using our language. While offering one or another rationalization, we can gesture either to the good or bad space to provide additional meaning to what we are saying. In general, when delivering rationalizations, we use the third person (he, she, they, them, and others) rather than the word The diagram provides a spacial context for the witness's description of events. Pointing to a space in the room gives that topic a frame of reference to a particular place, and another gesture made to that same spot later in the conversation adds further context to what is being said. 12 MAY–JUNE 2019 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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