Conversation Techniques to Obtain Information

There are different conversation techniques that can give us information. These techniques for obtaining information range from conversation to interrogation.

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There are different conversation techniques that can give us information. These techniques for obtaining information range from conversation to interrogation. Thus, the different techniques are defined according to the degree of invasion they require.

While the conversation does not require any degree of invasion, interrogation is the most invasive technique. But between these two extremes, there are three other techniques: elicitation, interviewing and debriefing.

In particular, let’s focus on the elicitation. This technique is very little invasive, so it is very close to the conversation. But what is elicitation? Elicitation consists in provoking a response or a reaction through logical processes. That is, elicitation is a conversation technique that focuses on eliciting responses through the use of logic. Well seen, elicitation is a form of manipulation or persuasion.

“The big questions are like that. They are provocative, forcing you to look beyond the obvious, to analyze, evaluate and make decisions.”

-Jill Konrath-

Why does elicitation work?

Elicitation works because it combines relationships with conversation techniques. In other words, it takes advantage of the trust that people place in order to, through conversation techniques, obtain the desired information without being aware of it. In this way, the first step in using elicitation is to build a relationship of trust with the person from whom you want to obtain information. Once this step is done, it’s time to start with the conversation techniques.

By definition, elicitation is not spontaneous. To use it, it is necessary to follow a plan. A beginning is to know the person from whom you want to obtain information. For example, knowing the gender, work, age, having a photograph, knowing the social and economic position, their hobbies, habits and knowing who forms their social circle. Some relevant information, in addition to what has been said, are the motivations of the person and the most salient features of his character.

“Quid pro quo, Clarice. I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, but about you. Quid pro quo Yes or not, Clarice?”

-Dr. Hannibal Lecter-

You also have to know some aspects of psychology. Specifically, about how memory works. The first and last thing that is talked about is what we remember best, as well as what we managed to relate to what we already knew. So, it is vital to try to get the information we want to give it to us when we least remember it.

In this way, the other is much more likely to forget that he gave that information. Likewise, the most important technique in any conversation must also be used. This is active listening, the forgotten ability.

Conversation techniques

These conversation techniques usually have a fairly simple framework. You start with a greeting, you listen, you ask, you make a summary of what is spoken and it closes. From this simple structure, we must implement the conversation techniques, of which we describe some of them below:

Provocative statements: this technique consists of making statements that provoke a reaction. You have to put them between the ropes so that they are forced to decide. In this way they will reveal their feelings or opinions. For example, imagine that we want to know how negotiations between two parties are going:

-The relations between the two political parties are being tense. They seem to be far from reaching an agreement.

-No, quite the opposite. The negotiations are on the right track; They are close to signing an agreement.

Quid pro quo: this technique is based on a human tendency to necessity. When we receive something from another person, we feel obligated to return something. The following example is about knowing the complaints of a co-worker:

– At work I feel underestimated. I guess it will happen, but I’m not happy about it.

-I understand what you mean. The other day the boss threw my work in the trash in front of me.

Disbelief: this technique is used to obtain more details. By calling into question a statement, it will cause you to try to give you more information about it. This example shows how to get more details about a job for class:

-I’m almost finished class work.

-I do not think so, I’m still with the introduction and there’s still plenty of time left.

-It’s true, yesterday I finished the conclusions.

-Then it will be a small job.

-No, it has three parts. I start with …

Adulation: this technique is more an addition. Something you can add to other techniques to make it easier for you to get information. In the following example, a teacher is flattered to know how to do an exercise:

-Professor, you always explain yourself so well. The trouble is that I find it hard to understand the exercises. If you were kind enough to explain it to me again.

In case you have not noticed, in all these examples the information has been obtained without asking a single question. That is the basis of these conversation techniques, get information without asking. However, although it seems simple, it requires a lot of practice. It is not easy to introduce these techniques in a conversation, so it is best to do a good planning and training.

“Flattery and insults pose the same questions: What do you want?”

-Mason Cooley-


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