“First impressions are not just lasting impressions; first impressions are the only impressions.”
The only thing worse than trying to explain the results of a complex fraud investigation verbally is having to listen to someone else trying to explain the results of a complex fraud investigation.
Listeners often experience droopy eyelids, unsuccessful attempts to hold back yawns, or sudden urges to respond to every text message they ever received. All of these are red flags that you are losing your audience. If you see all three, you're really in trouble. Even when you do an outstanding job of conducting an investigation, if you can't hold the interest of others while briefing them, it's game over.
Let's think about some of those case presentations from the perspective of a criminal or civil prosecuting attorney who is listening to an investigator's or fraud fighter's boring/dry verbal summary. The prosecutor probably has many thoughts going on in his or her head during the briefing. Some examples might be:
- How can I get out of this meeting?
- Is this investigator ever going to shut up?
- I have to stop drinking decaf.
- Why did I ever say I wanted to prosecute fraud cases?
- When is my next meeting?
- Maybe the fire alarm will go off.
- Ring phone! Ring!
- I hope this investigator does not ask me if I understand what he is talking about.
- Should I say I decline to prosecute now, or wait a few more minutes?
- Does this investigator really think I can ...