So far, we discussed step one, which is to figure out what’s in it for you and step 2 where you demonstrate you’re not a threat (use our cpi certificate). This is step 3, “Find An In.” In discussing step two I mentioned an individual whose vehicle had gone over the ditch. I tried to demonstrate to him that I wasn’t a threat by covering up my badge and helping him to see me as just another person, and not a police officer. When I had his attention, I was able to take it to the next step.
Seeing his vehicle down in the ditch, I said, “Hey, wait a minute, man. Isn’t that the new Camaro? Man, that car looks like it should be one of those Transformers things! Man, that’s beautiful! What happened? Tore that thing up, huh?” In that moment he completely forgot I was Law Enforcement. He was no longer thinking of me as a cop. I knew I had developed a little bit of an “in” with him when he went, “Yeah man…It is a beast of a ride.” I know he was thinking “This man appreciates that car, and how cool it is” Maybe, in his mind he’s thinking, “This is one of those cool cops, he’s going to let me go, I bet!” — (Not exactly what happened, but…)
Find an in. You’re dealing with somebody in crisis and you’ve already demonstrated to them, “Hey, I’m just here to help you. I’m not here to hurt you. I’m not here to make this situation more difficult for you. I’m here to help. Talk to me, tell me what’s going on.” The words you use aren’t that important, just use them to find an in. Maybe it’s an article of clothing the other person is wearing or maybe it’s their hair style, it could be anything. For instance, if I’m talking to somebody who’s angry and I see he’s got a shaved head, I might use that to my advantage. “Hey man, I know you’re really upset, but I got to tell you, I like the cut. I really like the cut.” Depending on the scenario, I’m going to look for an in. I’m going to try to redirect them away from how angry they are at whatever the situation is you’re dealing with, identify something where that person and I can relate, and build a small bit of rapport in those few seconds.
Sometimes all it takes is the tiniest bit of rapport building, and you can get them over to your side.