“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a congressional hearing, a TV interview or a police interrogation,” she said. “You simply offer the guy a cold drink, and pay attention to his eyes when he reaches for it. A nervous person will watch his own hand the whole time. His eyes will follow his hand to the water glass as he picks it up, while he sips the drink, right up until he replaces the glass.”
“Come on, Julie. Doesn’t everybody do that?”
“Nope. Taking a drink of water is ‘second nature’ for us, like walking. We don’t have to concentrate on it; we’re ‘unconsciously competent’.”
“Ah, like driving,” I said, flashing on the four levels of competence...
1. Unconscious incompetence: A ten year old runs a car into a tree, not realizing he doesn’t know how to drive.
2. Conscious incompetence: A teen knows he doesn’t know how to drive, so he takes lessons.
3. Conscious competence: A young adult goes for his driving test. He knows how to drive, but he really has to concentrate on it.
4. Unconscious competence: An experienced driver no longer has to concentrate solely on driving, a skill which has become ‘second nature’.
“Oh, I get it! When someone’s rattled, they take a psychological step backward on the competency scale, simple stuff requires concentration.”
“Exactly, and they don’t realize it,” she said. “Not to change the subject, but who’s doing the blog this month, you or me?”
“Uh, I’ll do it.”
Sometimes this is really easy…