Right, so someone approaches you and utters the immortal phrase "I've never told anyone this before but"...
It struck me, as i was typing a reply to another thread, that, just maybe might be worthwhile to give people a few pointers about this situation.
Yes, i know I'm teaching some to suck eggs, but the fact is, the obvious ain't the obvious unless someone states it from time to time?
So a few basics for this who are confronted by this situation...
Firstly.. the basic technique of interviewing people is using open questions. That means questions that cannot simply be answered yes or no. The
difference between saying
"Do you think you saw a UFO? and "What do you think you saw"?
A tiny difference yes, but a hugely important one. It shows you are truly interested in what a person is trying to communicate to you and asking them
for their thoughts in general, not just a definitive answer.
After all, if they already have a definite answer, why are so cautious about talking about the incident and seeking advice?
And there's another hint. Don't immediately plunge in and say.
"Oh so you saw a UFO"?
By doing that, to most people you are actually saying.
"Oh so you are telling me you saw something alien"?
There is very good chance the person wants someone else , with more experience, to tell them what they think about their sighting, not be immediately
labelled as, seeing *aliens*. This is particularly relevant, when dealing with people who, previous to their incident, never gave the subject a second
thought, or thought only *nutters* saw such things.
Furthermore, remember, you are the audience not the performer in this dynamic. Let the person speak without interruption as far as possible. Just make
your body language both open and friendly. Don't stand, or sit arms crossed as if in some kind of judgement on them. Make sure you add the
requisite.."Please carry ons" where someone, possibly, seems to think they are losing your attention because of the subject matter.
People, in theses situations, more often than not, assume no-one wants to hear what they saw, don't come across as if you are fulfilling their fears,
either vocally or via body language.
Let the person finish their tale, before you start asking any in depth questions. The witness does not need to feel they are being badgered, it comes
across as if you are immediately suspicious of their honesty.
One other important thing to remember when confronted with this situation is the following...
When a person, whose life in general, does not include regular * weirdness* has an experience, such as a UFO sighting, they are prone for often,
quite sometime to pick up on dither events, they now perceive as *weird*..
By that i mean this. A person sees a UFO and over the next couple of months they receive several phone calls where there is simply a dead line or
voice saying,,"Oh sorry wrong number". under normal circumstances the person, probably, wouldn't even notice these incidents. However, after a UFO
sighting people's *weirdar*, if you will, suddenly starts picking up information from all sorts of sources and making connections where there , quite
probably aren't any.
In these cases you are not there to simply scoff, there are some cases of sightings where, there are some genuinely strange afters. Listen and if it
seems, that they are just picking up on things that are, normally, run of the mill, fair enough, attempt to calm their fears.
If you take these points on board, you should hopefully, allow the witness to give you the full details and allow you to gently ask a few more in
depth questions , without then feeling, like they are, either foolish for even speaking, or being immediately accused of lying.. You will find you
are given way more details and the person finally feels they have someone, to talk to, who takes them seriously, in short, a good deal all round.
Good hunting folks...