A conversational strategy to extract specific information from people that may be otherwise difficult to procure in everyday conversation and professional interrogation.
Small talk exists to segue subjects and maneuver conversational patterns to get to certain info.
This is done naturally for most people in conversation and is how we eventually reach the important parts of what we want to talk about or learn about.
The ‘hourglass’ method is done with deliberate and strategic purpose to extract specific information from a subject with “small talk” as a baseline.
Conversation in this process is the opportunely timed transition from macro scale to micro scale subjects.
Macro scale subjects regard to very broad and or nonspecific topics and micro scale subjects regard to very focused and or specific topics.
In macro scale subjects, this is where you put the target at ease, gain rapport and build momentum to loosen the tongue. Such as talking about the city you’re in; its weather, culture, food etc.
At the right time, the conversation should transition to macro scale subjects. Timing is everything.
This is where you narrow in on what you really want to talk about and learn about from the target; the city’s recent terrorist attack, specific location etc.
After the target opens up with the sought after intel or gets close to it, it may be time to transition again back to macro scale subjects if the target closes up, shows apprehension or gets suspicious.
Then back to macro scale and so on.
Regardless of the scale, it should be somewhat related to best be able to segue into each other.
Visualized, the conversation looks like an hourglass.
[The featured photo was taken in Baghdad, Iraq.]