How much do I want to read more? 8/10
We may not realize how trust is important in our everyday life.
There would be no life without trust, it's as simple as that.
At first, we may think we are not concerned.
but if you relate with this, you're concerned:
"how to assess others, and determine their needs, wants, desires, intentions, and fears. Once you understand that and establish trust, all else follows.
People want to be appreciated, cared for, loved, trusted, and respected. But they also want to be understood, and if you master the skills to achieve that, you truly become exceptional. You become one of those people we often read about—someone who is well respected, well liked and sought after. That is the power of trust.
this book is for anyone interested in understanding themselves, and more important, understanding others."
From the start this book seems not only interesting, and not only do we feel concerned, but it also shows to be profound. I love this:
"To inspire trust, put others first."
"Success comes far faster when you inspire others to merge their goals with yours and forge ahead with you, in unison."
This book sounds solid like good old classics. What I like is it favors the good and sincere traits that last a lifetime over the "short-sighted attractive burst" manipulation that will put you down sooner or later.
I love even the style of the author, how engaging it is, how respectful to the reader, how conscious about the time we spend reading it.
"I’ll be brief. Your time is valuable, I’m grateful for it, and I promise to finish as quickly as possible. This book is about you, not me."
So many golds in there:
"You don’t need to impress people—I later learned—if you put their needs ahead of your own. They’ll naturally trust you—and like you, too—because when trust comes first, people will feel good, and light up every time you walk through the door."
"Getting people to like you is not how you make them feel about you, it’s how you make them feel about themselves."
So far, the most valuable piece of this book to me is this one:
"Determine your own ultimate goal: the prize that justifies your sacrifices. Choose it carefully, and follow it faithfully. Don’t get distracted by lesser goals, no matter how pivotal they may appear at the time. Second: Learn the goals of others, and find valid, honest reasons to respect those goals. Third: Seek ways to align your goals with theirs. As you begin this process, look for ways to make their goals part of your goal, and your goal part of theirs. If you’re successful, you’ll achieve the power that only combined forces can attain."
Without trust, life would be bleak.
Food would be unsafe, cars would be dangerous, the firefighters and paramedics might not respond, and depending upon a pilot to safely fly us where we wanted to go would be a coin toss.
Trust—one concept—underpins virtually everything we value. Without trust, we would be merely surviving, not thriving.
Fortunately for us, trust is a universal attribute. It is something we all want.
It is trust that allows us to establish relationships quickly. Lack of trust, though, is what ruins many relationships, at home and at work.
But as important as trust is, how do we establish it? How do we keep trust? How do we fix trust issues? How do we better imbue trust? How can we gain someone’s trust in a few hours, minutes, or even seconds? How do we know when others are not worthy of our trust?
Perhaps you have never thought about this. Most of us don’t.
We live in a world where trust is required, although you may not always see it. Trust is the social tissue that binds us together, so that we can get things done, work together more effectively, and grow our relationships.
Trust must be established not over a lifetime, but, more often than not, in minutes, if not seconds. Yes, seconds—that is how quickly our fast-paced, interconnected, transient e-reality world works.
So, how do we do it? How do we garner and establish trust?
We are both pilots, we both worked for the FBI as Special Agents, and we were both in the FBI’s elite National Security Branch Behavioral Analysis Program. More important, we are both in the people business.
In the people business, how we interact with each other is anchored in trust.
how to create and nourish trust
this is something we can all use.
A guide to understanding trust, how to exercise it, and how to make it work for us is so important and so needed.
insight into how to assess others, and determine their needs, wants, desires, intentions, and fears. Once you understand that, and establish trust, all else follows.
People want to be appreciated, cared for, loved, trusted, and respected. But they also want to be understood, and if you master the skills to achieve that, you truly become exceptional. You become one of those people we often read about—someone who is well respected, well liked, and sought after. That is the power of trust.
When your job is commanding others, or catching criminals and spies, you can’t help but master the art and science of what works—and nothing works faster than trust. In those high-stakes situations, trust is critical.
If the skills practiced by the knowledgeable few who work in those high-stakes positions are effective for them, they will certainly be effective for you, in your daily life.
Written in a very practical style, full of examples and anecdotes, this book is for anyone interested in understanding themselves, and more important, understanding others.
PART I - THE LEADERSHIP POWER OF TRUST
1 - BEYOND MANIPULATION: THE CODE OF TRUST
Trust in the Streets of New York
I AM GOING TO TELL YOU how to inspire trust, and rise to the rare level of leadership that only trust can confer. It’s a simple lesson, but not an easy one.
First: Be eminently worthy of trust. Second: Prove you are.
The first part is hard, and the second is even harder.
How many people in your life—and even in history—do you consider worthy of absolute trust?
Who would you trust with your life? The lives of your family? Your life savings? Your deepest secrets? Your career? Your reputation?
Would you trust your best friend? Would you place your full trust in our current president, a past president, or any current office holder? What about your doctor or attorney? Your boss? Your business partner? Your brother or sister? Your spouse?
Would you follow that person’s lead implicitly, and do whatever you possibly could for them, with minimal questioning?
You probably would do that for some of these people. That’s common—especially if they’re family—and it’s healthy.
That said: it’s just as hard for people to trust you.
I’m going to tell you how to make it easier for them.
When you do learn how—and you will—you’ll have the central quality of character that defines all great leaders. People are happy to follow those they trust, and rarely follow those that they don’t trust. That’s a wise and deeply embedded element of human nature.
The world isn’t perfect, but it does reward and empower those who have earned the honor of being trusted.
Those who inspire trust are the only people who can retain the power of personal influence for a lifetime, and wield it without revolt or resentment. They are the great people in history, and the great people in your own life: strong, humble, and dedicated to your own best interests.
Some people are natural born leaders who can inspire trust without even trying. But most people who inspire trust need to be taught, and they often learn the lessons through pain, failure, and humbling moments.
I’m not a born leader. I thought I was, until I finally looked at myself with unblinking honesty. Like most people who long to be great leaders but have to learn the art, I paid dearly for the lessons.
The only way for me to become the man that people now trust was to analyze every hard lesson I learned from the fine leaders around me, and characterize it, categorize it, prioritize it, test it, tweak it, and integrate it into a system.
I’ll teach you that system, and make the lessons easier for you than they were for me.
There definitely are books about how to manipulate people into trusting you, but this isn’t one of them. Manipulation is about pushing people. Trust is about leading them.
To inspire trust, put others first.
That single, central action empowers all legendary leaders.
It is so grounded in common sense that—like other self-evident truths—it is often overlooked.
It’s easy to lead people when you put their needs first—but it’s almost impossible when you’re only serving yourself.
If you adopt another person’s goal as part of your goal, why shouldn’t they follow your lead? If you don’t, why should they?
Many books teach the dubious arts of manipulation—but there are no other books that offer the lessons in this one. Trust me. I looked for one before I started writing.
It’s also widely believed that the fast track to success is to carefully narrow your focus to your own goals. But that’s one of those lazy shortcuts that just slows you down. Success comes far faster when you inspire others to merge their goals with yours, and forge ahead with you, in unison.
My system is based on two straightforward, tightly linked components:
- The Code of Trust: a set of five rules of engagement that must be embraced by all who wish to inspire legitimate, lasting trust.
- The Four Steps to Inspiring Trust: an action plan that implements the Code of Trust. It shows people that you are a person to be trusted with the fates of others, and the responsibility of leadership.
Most people can master this system, but it presents a steep learning curve for those who are still trapped in the outdated but still common attitude that the best way to achieve compliance with one’s wishes is through crafty manipulation, appeals to emotion, velvet-glove coercion, and by outmaneuvering and out-thinking others.
If some elements of that approach apply to you, you’re probably looking for a better way to lead: one that’s more effective, simpler, and more equitable and attractive to others. You want leadership that lasts a lifetime. We all do.
If you’re truly conscientious and self-aware, you may be questioning, at this point in your journey to leadership, if you really do deserve the full trust of others.
It’s very possible that, yes, you do deserve trust—but just haven’t yet mastered the ability to inspire it in everyone around you.
Perhaps you haven’t yet achieved the ability—or understood the power—of putting the needs of other people first.
Character is never a constant in a world governed by change.
Inspiring trust is truly an interpersonal art form. But even in its complexity, it is—as you’ll see—the kind of art that can be achieved through the paint-by-numbers techniques that comprise my system. The techniques are derived from social psychology, evolutionary psychology, neurobiology, classic codes of morality, business tradition, historical fact, and common sense.
Even people who aren’t very career oriented still want to be trusted. We all want to be the type of person who makes friends easily, and keeps them. We all want other people to trust us enough to share their secrets. We want to be the type of adult that children naturally gravitate toward. We want to be trusted by our wives or husbands: in our relationships, and our partnerships. We want to lead our families without rancor, and show our children how to lead. And we want to be the person who gets treated in an equally friendly way by supervisors, subordinates, strangers, store clerks, and old friends.
None of this is possible if you don’t exude authentic trust. By the time you have internalized the five rules of the Code of Trust, and mastered the actions of the Four Steps, you will be the person that others naturally turn to for direction.
A tenet of behavioral science is that approximately 40 percent of what we say every day is about ourselves. That’s natural and normal, and is absolutely necessary for the introspection that creates self-knowledge and growth.
as you read the story in the first chapter, try to figure out the five rules of the Code, and the actions of the Four Steps, before I spell them out at the end of the chapter.
While you do it, make a mental note of how many of them you already knew. If you recognize several of them as old friends that are part of your existing character, it’s a good sign. If you don’t, it means you’re learning, and that’s good, too. I’ll be brief. Your time is valuable, I’m grateful for it, and I promise to finish as quickly as possible. This book is about you, not me.
New York City, 1997
“When our guy gets here, I’m going to promise him that we’ll finish this as quickly as possible.”
“Because his time’s valuable, and I’m grateful for it. This is about him, not us."
“If he thinks we’ll drag this out, he’ll pull away. If we get to the point, it shows that we respect him—as a professional and as a person—and nothing opens the door to trust better than plain-old respect. So talk nice to him, and make a connection.”
“We’ll find a reason. There’s always a good reason to respect someone, and there’s never a good reason to judge them. But that doesn’t mean we have to be friends.”
“Then we’ll ask him about himself, and figure out his context.”
“Spy talk: It means, what kind of guy he is, where he’s from, what he likes. We’ll ascertain his context. Learn important stuff. We don’t make small talk.”
“And then we make small talk: all of it about him.”
“To make friends.”
“You can never have too many friends,”
When we walked into the restaurant to meet our Access Agent—the guy who knew the spy we wanted to expose—Jesse nodded slightly at some of the staff and they nodded slightly back.
Choosing the right place for a meeting is part of an investigative technique called crafting your encounters.
The creature comforts were critically important, because in a first encounter—or any other in which you’re trying to inspire trust—it’s important to treat people well.
HUMINT, is often considered more valuable in clandestine operations than information from any other source
IMINT, imagery intelligence
OSINT, public knowledge, known as open-source intelligence
Rationality is the brick and mortar that creates a firm foundation of trust. It keeps things real, reflects only honesty, and helps you determine who people actually are, and what they really want. Emotion builds a foundation of sand, ever-shifting as moods change, creating sinkholes of confusion, doubt, and dishonesty.
I absolutely did not know that the grand key to leadership is as simple as: it’s all about them.
You don’t need to impress people—I later learned—if you put their needs ahead of your own. They’ll naturally trust you—and like you, too—because when trust comes first, people will feel good, and light up every time you walk through the door.
Getting people to like you is not how you make them feel about you, it’s how you make them feel about themselves.
adjustments to where we sat, who could see us, who our waiter would be, and what we were wearing.
He wanted my sport coat off, and my tie in my pocket. He said that a more casual look provoked less defensiveness.
He told me to keep my watch visible, though, because it was a Darth Vader watch that my daughter had given me for Father’s Day. Can’t beat that for casual. Jesse liked props. There was always a chance, he thought, that some prop, even if only used subliminally, could bring people together, on common ground.
“When he gets here, try to find something that we can do for him—some favor—anything that makes him feel appreciated. If he says something you disagree with, keep it to yourself. Because this is his meeting, let him take the lead, and don’t try to force any agenda. We’ll see what his interests and needs are, and then find goals we have in common. We don’t need to be manipulative, or even want to be.”
Jesse was one of the most successful agents in the Bureau’s modern era, but one of the most humble. He’d received the FBI’s highest honor, the Director’s Award, but the only ornamentation in his office was a pen holder made out of a Tropicana orange juice can.
“No, like, smelling. I love the smell of steak in the morning. Smells like … victory.” I looked blank—because he was usually too humble to even think in terms of victory—so he said, “That’s a joke. It’s from a war movie.” Jesse loved humor. It’s one of those universal things that brings people together.
adept at following orders—earning the ranking of #1
when leadership became the determining factor in my ranking, I plummeted to number thirty:
good followers aren’t always good leaders, even though they’re often promoted to leadership—and they’re never good leaders when they let it go to their heads.
As a young Marine, my perception of the world was that I had finally become a fantastic, charismatic guy, a hardcore officer, a great friend to everyone, and a real solid professional.
As you may have noted, all of those perceptions about the “world” were really about me, with the blithe assumption that the world and I were one in the same. I still had a lot to learn.
At Lejeune, there was about as much water in the air as in the bay, and there were mosquitoes that rivaled the size and maneuverability of Harrier fighter jets. Both of these burdens created the level of esprit de corps that comes only from shared suffering.
Half asleep, I heard shuffling feet, then I felt hands all over me, and realized I was getting duct-taped into my bag, and tied to the cot.
In short: as a newbie looie, I’d screwed up, and they’d sent me a message.
It was another humbling moment: the priceless moments that teach humility. They’re best learned in books. In real life, you pay retail.
Turns out, one of the guys wasn’t happy with me, and that meant that his friends weren’t, either. And this guy was far more aware than me that you can never have too many friends.
He had taken a brief, proactive, self-selected leave to see his wife for a few hours. I, in contrast, had played by the rules, and dropped a dime on my buddy to a superior.
As night became day, I was informed that an officer does not build esprit de corps by diming-out a buddy.
The men told me that I hadn’t thought about the needs of my fellow married officer, and that if I thought that the ultimate goal of our training was to be Playground Leader, I was not the type of officer that Marines would follow into peril.
“Your role is to listen to him. That’s my role, too. We’ll try to find a way to help him, and we’ll let him know what we need—but in a subtle way, without demanding anything. Then we’ll hope he helps us. So just be yourself. Don’t say anything that’s not true,” Jesse said. “Don’t put on a show. And don’t show off.”
As Steve arrived, Jesse held out his hand and said, “Thanks for coming on such short notice. I appreciate the favor.”
Even that was a lesson. One law of behavioral psychology is that if somebody has done you a favor, it makes them more willing to do you another favor. The theory is that if they’ve done you a favor, they assume that surely they must like you.
Steve stood by the booth with a telltale demeanor of what-am-I-doing-here? Jesse—an expert in nonverbal communication, like Joe Navarro—defused the awkwardness by tilting his head slightly and flashing a shy grin as he shook hands.
an Army officer named Clyde Lee Conrad earned more than a million dollars funneling military secrets to the Soviet bloc—before he met my friend Joe Navarro, and spent the rest of his life in prison, as a convicted traitor. Joe later wrote a book about it, Three Minutes to Doomsday, which at this time is being developed as a movie.
Most commonly, the spies that are recruited befriend people who have access only to open-source information, but who understand the OSINT so well that their perspective is very valuable. Because these well-informed people are quite innocent, and have nothing to hide, they’re often good Access Agents. Steve was one of those people. That’s why we were buying his lunch.
Steve knew a person that we suspected of being a recruiter and a spy. This person had become the subject of our investigation. He was therefore referred to, in spy lingo as—guess what?—the subject. Steve probably liked the subject, and had a certain degree of trust in him. But when I say a certain degree, I mean trust that was a mile wide and an inch deep.
Before the day was over, we wanted to leverage the mutual trust that Steve shared with our subject, and get a better idea of exactly what the subject was up to, and what his priorities were. Then, with enough patience and work, we could make sure our subject was out of business, and facing the appropriate consequences of his actions.
After Jesse finished shaking hands with Steve, he introduced me. “This is Robin,” Jesse said—no title, no last name—as if I were just a buddy. Casual in the extreme.
“Robin’s gotta go pick up his daughter in about an hour, so we’ll wrap this thing up before you even finish your steak.”
We made small talk for about ninety seconds and then our waiter magically appeared, quickly took our order, and vanished just as magically.
“So,” Jesse said to Steve, “I’ve heard that you’re an expert on Eastern Europe. I’m really interested in that, too. I was hoping you could give us some insights and opinions on what’s happening over there these days.”
“I’m happy to,” Steve said. People love to talk about their own area of expertise: It makes the conversation about them.
As Steve outlined the issues and major players of Eastern Europe, Jesse seemed genuinely impressed, and gradually steered the conversation to the country that our subject worked for.
Even in a casual conversation, a judgmental remark like “I love Kobe Bryant but hate the Lakers” can be a nonstarter.
“Do you know any other people who know the inside stuff on that country?” Jesse asked.
Steve rattled off a few names—including the name of our subject: Terrence Bonney.
“I’ve heard of Bonney,” Jesse said. “He’s one their diplomats, right?”
Steve said that, yes, Bonney was a diplomat, assigned to the United Nations—and Jesse dropped the subject.
The pivotal point is that Jesse acted as if Terrence Bonney and the other people that Steve mentioned were just names on a list that we had been tasked to compile.
If you’re Microsoft and I’m Apple, who’s the good guy? Often as not, the good guy is just whoever you happen to work for.
So the job of superspy Terrence Bonney was to approach some executive or bored bureaucrat, buy him lunch or a few drinks, talk shop, share gossip, maybe mention a company that’s looking for somebody with his skills, and develop a relationship—of trust, naturally.
We all long to be appreciated and respected, and we all want people to understand our motives and goals, even if they don’t always approve of them.
Not everyone wants to hear it. Millions of people need to feel superior—usually because they have an inferiority complex.
Most important: when people work in tribes of trust, they make the dreams of those they care about come true, and achieve a feeling that transcends even personal glory.
I can tell you on good authority, though, that if you make the mistake of cherry-picking the techniques of trust to serve selfish and manipulative needs, they will eventually backfire on you. People will sense your hypocrisy, turn away, do their business elsewhere, and fulfill their personal needs with other people.
You don’t work for your country by being greedy and playing dirty, day after day. That’s what brings countries down. You work for your country by playing fair, and letting this increasingly skeptical, cynical world see that your country wishes only the best for the rest of the world. That’s trust.
“Were you the spender or the saver?” Jesse asked.
“I thought so,” Jesse said. “My motto is, you can’t take it with you, and it’s easier to be happy when you’re young than when you’re old.” I wondered if that was really how Jesse felt.
Steve looked better. It didn’t matter if that was how Jesse really felt. When somebody is hurting and reaching out, you help.
“I feel for you,” Jesse said, simply and quietly. I knew he meant it. Sometimes, he’d tell a little white lie, to make somebody feel better—but he never said a false word about anything remotely important. Honesty and trust are married.
Steve gave Jesse a look of gratitude, took a breath, and for the first time that day he looked like he was really present. “Thanks,” Steve said. He started talking about how his wife had never really seemed to love him as much as he loved her.
Jesse and I listened carefully, and I’ll always remember what Steve said next: “I don’t think two people ever love each other in exactly the same amount. But I know this. The one who loves most is the winner.”
At that moment, Steve, Jesse, and I were a tribe. Maybe it was the tribe of men—or the tribe of married men, or fathers. Maybe it was the tribe of people who’d been hurt. Didn’t matter. What mattered was that we were all linked by something bigger than the business at hand.
"My wife loved me for who I was. The next woman I’m with is going to love me for who I am.
Steve was finding his own path out of the darkness.
For each of us, there is only one path: our own. That path was made for our steps alone.
We talked for over an hour about women, love, kids, work, and family.
Toward the end, Jesse said, “I only have one piece of advice. Don’t put anything in an email that you don’t want read in Family Court.
Jesse often used humor at the most important moments. He said it put everybody on the same level, and made all of us smarter and softer at the same time.
“You said some good things,” Jesse said, finishing his coffee. “It was like they were meant just for me. That’s how I can tell they’re good.”
“I think I spooked him,” I said. “It’s my fault we didn’t have a more productive meeting,”
Jesse seemed a little insulted. “It was very productive.”
“What did it produce?”
“Trust. That was our goal, wasn’t it? Getting the next meeting? It’s the second one that counts. You seemed to learn so much today that I thought you knew that.”
My Other Jedi Master
Most people, while you’re talking, are thinking about what they’ll say next, and how they can say it in the most interesting possible way. They consider that the art of conversation. It’s not.
Now I regard a focus on growth in the same way she did back then—as the only thing that really matters.
When you develop character, your career takes care of itself.
It took me the next twenty years to get the Code and Steps into this format.
The Code of Trust Five Rules to Gain Trust and Be a Leader
Suspend your ego
Each of us, by the very nature of our existence, is and must remain the focus of our own life. To gain the gift of another’s trust, you must grant them that natural, normal focus. Their life, regardless of all the people they’re responsible for, is all about them. Not you. If you accept that, they will open the door of their trust to you. The single most compelling trait of trust is simple humility.
Respect the opinions, attitudes, ideas, and perspectives of all people—no matter how foreign, or even opposed to your own. No one trusts people who look down on them, and no one trusts people who don’t understand them. Not being judgmental is the greatest invitation to trust that you can possibly offer.
There is common decency in every person—regardless of their opinions—and to be worthy of their trust, you must recognize their common decency, show them your own, and join them in that shared respect. All of us are born with the sacred right to our own ideas, and not one of us was born with the desire to destroy or alienate others. Common decency is the common ground of humankind.
Resist every temptation to personalize, emotionalize, debate, exaggerate, manipulate, or coerce. Stick to the facts, and be honest. Only those who rely on reason, reflected by honesty, can create the foundation of rational, shared self-interest that all enduring trust rests upon. Trust inspired by mere emotionalism lasts only as long as the next emotion. Leadership inspired by fear is simply fear. Give people a good reason to trust you, and they will.
Don’t expect to receive the gift of trust unless you offer a gift of your own. People do not allow themselves to trust those who create one-sided relationships. Selfishness repels. Generosity attracts. The most generous gift you can offer is your own trust. The most lasting gift you can offer is the loyalty of enduring trust.
The Four Steps The Action Plan for Inspiring Trust
1. Align Your Goals! First
Determine your own ultimate goal: the prize that justifies your sacrifices. Choose it carefully, and follow it faithfully. Don’t get distracted by lesser goals, no matter how pivotal they may appear at the time. Second: Learn the goals of others, and find valid, honest reasons to respect those goals. Third: Seek ways to align your goals with theirs. As you begin this process, look for ways to make their goals part of your goal, and your goal part of their’s. If you’re successful, you’ll achieve the power that only combined forces can attain.
2. Apply the Power of Context!
To successfully align yourself with others, you need to discover their desires, beliefs, personality traits, behaviors, and demographic characteristics: the central features that define their context. When you know where they’re coming from, you’ll be able to know them inside and out. You’ll know who they are behind the personality that they’re trying to project—or, possibly, the person that you fear they may be. Knowing others includes knowing how they see you. If they get the wrong impression, show them the real you. Because people are who they are, approach them on that level, without trying to make them into something they’re not. In short: never argue context.
3. Craft Your Encounters!
When you meet with potential allies, plan the meeting meticulously: especially the first one. Create the perfect environment for it. Know—before the meeting begins—its proper mood, the special nature of the occasion, the perfect time and place, your opening remark, your goal, and your gift: what you have to offer. With well-crafted encounters, you’ll be able to travel toward trust with the force of a river to the sea, carrying everyone present on the same current.
To successfully align your goals—and maintain the alignment—speak the same language: figuratively, and literally. Words—and the character traits they reveal—are the primary tools that build trust. To create strong, lasting relationships that fulfill goals, speak the language of reason, respect, and consideration. The language of trust—verbal and nonverbal—does not express egotism, judgment, irrationality, or selfishness. It is a language—and a lifestyle—of understanding, validation, and help. It’s about them, not you. Even when relationships change, and goals are forgotten, words and the sentiments they convey can remain in the brain forever.
South Beach - The End of the Beginning
Cliff said—in a quiet voice that indicated he was tweaking the rules—that we could have the kayak: for free.
He shook my hand, and I felt that unique mind/body surge of it’s-a-wonderful-life that you get when a stranger is suddenly a friend, and you join a new tribe: in this case, the Tribe of Beach-Loving Good Guys.
“When he does, can you call me—and let me surprise him?”
“Absolutely, my friend.”
Another lesson, this one from Cliff: If you’re going to say “yes,” say “absolutely.” And “my friend” never hurts, either.
“Robin, this is Sea Base. The eagle has landed.”
“Roger that, Sea Base. Out.” Now we were in the tribe of Junior G-Men.
The first technique I used is called “third-party reference,” in which you don’t invade someone’s space, but simply comment upon something in your mutual environment. In this case, I used the kayaks.
I eyed them skeptically as I stood near the guy. “Are those things safe?” I smiled and turned my head only halfway toward him, a nonverbal technique that helps people feel at ease.
“They better be,” he said.
I laughed. Who can resist somebody who laughs at their jokes?
After I’m done with this, can I buy you a drink at the pool cabana?
“Only if it’s got an umbrella.”
“I’m Terrence Bonney,” he said, holding out his hand.
“T-Bone! I’m Robin Dark.”
That was the beginning of the end of Terrence Bonney’s exploitation of the American defense industry, his use of his country’s security budget as his own ATM, and his day job as a military attaché.