How To Build Relationships Using A Model Of Reference

by | Oct 19, 2023 | DISC Training

The Chris Voss Show Podcast is rated Top 1% of most popular shows out of 3,131,148 podcasts globally for 14+ years and 1500+ episodes. It’s led and hosted by Chris Voss, featuring great guests such as CEOs, US Ambassadors, White House Presidential Advisers, FBI, US Justice Dept, Astronauts, TV & Print Pulitzer Prize Journalists, and more.

In this podcast episode, I was the invited featured guest where I enjoyed my time talking about why and how the Four Temperament (DISC) Model of Human Behaviour became my model of reference in becoming better at interpersonal relationships.

Video Transcription

I apologize beforehand for any potential translation inaccuracies in both the French and English versions. Note that this translation has been generated using an AI.

Chris Voss: We’re going to be talking spy craft today on how you can use the tools and techniques of spies – or “spooks” as they’re sometimes called in the business – and how you can learn that to analyze people to understand people better to evaluate people and also use that in how you can do business deals, negotiations, and how to get more out of your teammates. Because if they don’t do what you want, you have the black helicopters, pick them up, and ship them off to Poland in some dungeon thing. And then you strap on the battery packs and then jumper cables. We’ve all wanted to do that to “Bob” in the office because he can’t work the paper copier right. But that’s another story. We’ll see if we can get our current guest to do that.

Today we have an amazing gentleman on the show, JJ Brun. He is known and basically trademarked as the Retired Spy, and you’re gonna learn a lot about his stuff. He’s Operative 431 as a seasoned veteran of the intelligence branch of the Canadian Armed Forces. He served with distinction as a contract handler on the ground in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He spent years in the discrete world of human intelligence and counter-human intelligence, having driven his desire to understand human behaviour and intricacies, and pass on the complex notion of interpersonal communication. He’s retired from active duty now, and he realized that much of what he learned could be utilized in the civilian world based on the Four Temperaments or better known as the DISC Model Of Human Behaviour to better understand and maximize human dynamics. His exclusive training programs provide a comprehensive analysis of communication techniques, empowering individuals to enhance authentic relationships, work, trust, innovation, and productivity, or send them to the shadow realm.

Welcome to show JJ how are you?

JJ Brun: Excellent. Thank you.

Chris: There you go. It’s excellent to have you. I’m losing my voice. Go ahead and give me your full name. I think we set up in your dot coms wherever people can find you on the interwebs.

JJ: My full name is in French, it’s Jean Jacques Joseph Brun, and I go by JJ. When I was working overseas, they couldn’t pronounce my name. So then it became Jean Jacques. “Hey Jean Jacques!”

One day, I was working at the safe house when a British colleague came into the ops room. He needed something on my desk, and he just said, “Hey, JJ.” I thought to myself, who’s JJ then I connected the dots…oh Jean Jacques..JJ. So I turned and answered him. And that’s how I got branded with the name JJ.

Chris: There you go.

JJ: The [moral of the] story is, if you don’t brand yourself, somebody else will. For me, it worked out because it made it easier for everybody to remember my name. And also, when I messed up overseas, Canada did not know who this JJ was because that was not my official name on paper.

Chris: Now I’m assuming that’s your real name? Do we get I think we did, did we?

JJ: Yeah, it’s as simple as Everything is there. And it’s in both the official Canadian language, French, and in English.

Chris: There you go. So give me a 30,000 overview. Give us a summation of what you do, how you do it for your clients, and the work that you’re doing now.

JJ: The bottom line for us is equipping people for works of service. So with 20 years in the military, I specialize in the field of human intelligence. I had to go to a war zone to learn how to build relationships. And I was going to be evaluated by my ability to build relationships. And from there, I just saw the value of having a model of reference that quite often, whether it’s in your business or in your personal life, if you do not have a model or reference, you will often find yourself at a disadvantage.

So I got interested in temperaments, personalities, people’s character, people’s preferences. And from there, I was able to discover mine so that I could see others and then how to flex and adapt, and then how to apply it with everybody else within an organization. On the civilian side of things, I said you know what, after 20 years in the military, it was time for me to pull the pin.

But now I do more work for the Canadian government – whether it’s the Federal, Provincial, or the municipalities – outside than when I was in uniform, and it’s all about providing them the resources for them to utilize a model of reference when interacting with people. At the level that I’m at, I train their trainers. So as opposed to having me on site, I will go and train their cadre so that they can start doing their own internal training inside their organization. So from law enforcement to the Canadian Revenue Agency, to the Canada School of Public Service. I train their trainers for them to apply the four temperament model – often referred to as just a DISC Model – to their specific areas of expertise or requirements that they have.

Chris: Is Justin Trudeau as ridiculously good-looking as he seems in person as he seems on TV?

JJ: He is definitely taller. One time I qualified with my wife to have lunch at the parliament. So we’re going to meet and have lunch with Senator White. We were waiting to go and meet the Senator, when Justin Trudeau just passed by. He was not the Prime Minister at the time. I just remember thinking, he’s one tall gentleman.

Chris: Really?

JJ: Yeah, he doesn’t look it on TV but think he’s like six-two. Very thin. Like you’d double look. Didn’t think he was that tall. He’s taller than me. I’m six [foot tall]. So he got a double look for me as a lot bigger in person than he looks on TV.

Chris: There you go. So give us your story. How did you grow up? What was your hero’s journey? What got you into the spy business or wanting to get into the spy business?

JJ: Well, for me, the military was an exit strategy. I was born and raised in a small village, with an entrepreneurial background. My father managed a gas station, a sawmill, and a chip harvester where you would cut the trees down, turn them into wood chips, and then sell them at the sawmill. So the whole village lived off lumber. Lumber was sort of like the industry. At a very young age, that’s what we learned as an entrepreneur. But Dad always professed, “Get yourself a good, safe federal job.” So he always planted that seed, because he would leave at six or seven o’clock in the morning and come back at seven o’clock, eight o’clock at night. He didn’t want that lifestyle for his kids. My dad said, “Son, you’ve never been in business until you had a payroll. You have to pay somebody else first before you pay yourself.”

Chris: That’s true.

JJ: My dad was struggling and he had big dreams. He wanted to accomplish a lot of things because he came out of college to help his dad run the business. My dad never got an opportunity to finish his college and his university. So he got stuck in that area. I started at a very young age working at the gas station, and my brother at a very young age, working at the sawmill. And at one point, he wanted us to go to university and I was wired to go to university. But I only had five $5 a day for meals. Back then it was like it was in the mid-80s.

Chris: Yeah, I remember the Roman days.

JJ: It was just tough. My dad didn’t have the money to pay for the tuition and everything. But one day I arrived home, and I had a nice Laurentian University embroidered sweatshirt because I was a shot putter for the university. It wasn’t a leather jacket, but a nice embroidered university sweatshirt. My dad looked at that and said, “Where did you get that?” I said, “Well, I bought it.” “Who paid for that?” And I knew where we were going. I said, “I did.” “Where did you get your money?” “I worked last summer.” “Where did you work last summer?” “At the garage.” “Who owns the garage?” “You do.” “So who paid for that?”

There was so much financial pressure. My dad had visited the hospital on two or three occasions for ulcers because when the sawmill went on strike, the bank was still calling for the payments. You’re too young, you don’t know this.

But for me it was, okay, checkmark. And two weeks after that, I found myself in basic training as I had joined the Canadian military. So the military for me was an exit strategy. I was tired of being told what to do. So I joined the military. And that did not make any sense. After three days, people yell at you and you get your head shaved. It’s just a different culture because I had no formal training in any type of the cadets or the reserves or anything like that. And I just thought those people were crazy. And I called back home when I was talking to my mom and said, “You know, Mom, I’ll make peace with dad. I’ll get a mentor, a tutor. I’m not going to lose my first year. I want to come back.” My dad was listening on the second line. And he said, “You’ve made your bed son.” And he hung up the phone.

Chris: Whoa!

JJ: Yeah. So at the age of 19… that was the best thing ever. Now, back then it was like crap. There’s no guarantee you’re gonna pass boot camp. There were 40 and they only need 20 of us. So look on the left, look on your right. One of you is not going to be here at the end.

For me, it’s like failing was just not an option. I absolutely had to pass boot camp. So fast forward. [I had] a very successful career because my first session was with the combat arms. So that’s the French regiment, The Royal 22e Régiment or The Royal 22nd regiment, often referred to as the Van Doos. And what takes you eight years to accomplish, I did it in less than four years. A blessing and a curse. Because you’re the new type of soldier, you’re bilingual, you’re computer literate, you got a good physique. So here’s the new generation, but the old guard doesn’t like you because you haven’t suffered like they’ve suffered. So after a while, I got tired of this internal fighting, and I decided, you know what, I’m going to switch careers. That’s what got me interested in the intelligence branch.

I applied, got recommended, and then moved. And again, a rapid progression within that industry. So I was able to do two things: I started as a non-commissioned officer and then I finished as a staff officer. So I’ve done the blue-collar and the white-collar. So a total of 20 years in the military. 15 years in uniform or non-commissioned and then the last 5 as a staff officer specializing in the field of human intelligence, and that’s how I got interested in that whole area.

Back then in the military, my claim to fame was being the first one selected for the role of a contact handler. Contact handlers back then were sent to a hostile environment. So for me in my timeline, it was the war in Bosnia, where a contact handler is sent to a hostile environment where he or she has to cultivate sources and build relationships by design to determine their intentions and modify their behaviours without the use of any Jedi mind tricks, basically get them to be an informant and get them to share what they’ve seen and what they’ve observed on the battlefield.

And at the end, I had over 100 eyeballs working on our behalf, all across so that we could advise our commanding officer, what was happening on the terrain, so that they could inform and make an informed decision as to where to put the resources in Bosnia, at that time. So being the first Canadian in a multinational [operation]. We had anywhere from five to seven different nationalities, English was the working language. I speak three languages, in Europe, quite often they’ll speak five, if not more. English will be their fifth or their sixth language. So it was quite interesting in regards to understanding what I meant for you to understand.

Even one commanding officer – I’m not gonna mention his name – but he had one of these thick British accents. He had this town hall meeting where he got all the contact handlers. A very good target of all the operatives were all in one area, we could have gotten taken out right there. He does his presentation and casts out his vision for the tour, and what’s going to happen, but at the end, he finishes with his big British accent. “I know, do you think you’ll understand what I just said, but I’m not really sure that what you understand is what I meant for you to understand. Do you understand?” And I was looking at the left and on the right, I’m like, wow, that’s gonna be a long six months.

Chris: Was it Sean Connery?

JJ: Well, anyone from the UK are just going to crucify me because that was a bad imitation of it.

In the end, “Did you understand what I meant for you to understand.” Communication is simple, it’s just not easy. You have to realize that when communication breaks down, blame the process, not the person. They may not have understood what you were trying to communicate to them. And that’s the whole area of learning to say the same thing in a different way came to life decoding one’s preferred communication style. So that they’re able to receive your offer versus resist your offer, build those relationships, and get them to share their secrets.

Chris: And being a handler is a dangerous business, right? You can be exposed, you work there a lot.

JJ: I agree. But it’s different today. I had two operational tours: I have a peacekeeping tour in Cyprus beneath my belt, and I have a peacemaking tour in Bosnia. From that transition, we left Bosnia to go to Afghanistan. So the role of a contact handler in Afghanistan is completely different. Because you need even more resources you need to, you need cover teams to go with you when you’re moving. So it’s quite different because of the environment change. And as the environment changes, you also have to adapt to the role of a contact handler. I had it pretty easy or safe, compared to the teams in Afghanistan, because that terrain was more aggressive, and more labor intensive. It’s just rugged terrain. The danger was much, much higher in Afghanistan. It was manageable in Bosnia where we lived. We had a safe house.

But then again, it wasn’t as safe. It’s a villa and it’s not even fenced in and you’ve got all these military vehicles, green targets, and all these people dressed in green telling people “Here are the targets!” So we were not allowed to be out of uniform. It was part of the Dayton agreement. You can’t have a concealed weapon on, you have to show your weapon on you. So your pistol or your long rifle. You’re dressed in green. You have a role. It was different.

I could go out and do a two-man team and sometimes we needed two vehicles, so a four-man team, to go out when it was hostile. But you were able to get around with a two-man team to the location that you needed to go. Like when we had to connect with a self-declared – well, we branded him as self-declared – mayor of Mostar. Mostar was where I played. If you know where Sarajevo is, just go south for a few hours and there is a place called Mostar. Translated Mostar means bridge. And the Neretva River had like three or four bridges across it. Very strategic town because you can gain access to the ocean through Mostar. If you can control that city, you can then have access to Dubrovnik, all the way down there on the coast. So we were working with the Serbs, Croats, and the Muslim domain, the three main ethnicities that were there. And you have to build relationships with the Serbs, Croats, and the Muslims, and it’s different culturally. Everybody wants to talk all the time. You just have to find their hot button.

Chris: How do you get them to talk?

JJ: It’s the art of listening. For me, what really saved me is that I learned the 10 Most Effective Feel Good Ice Breaking Questions. I was sold on the process. If you could memorize these 10 Most Effective Feel Good Ice Breaking Questions, you will always be able to carry a conversation with anyone, anywhere, anytime. As soon as I heard about that, [I said] give me the questions. I’m not a people person. I’m very task-oriented. I realized that I’m more dominant, direct, and demanding, and everything that I do is cautious, calculating, and conscientious. But I’m gonna be evaluated by my ability to build relationships with people. I was like, it’d be a great business if it wasn’t for the people.

Chris: Well, there you go. So let’s talk about how this translates into what you do now and utilize it to teach others some of the tradecraft or spycraft techniques and tools. You do different things, and there’s something you have called the DISC. And I guess you’re speaking and teaching now, and you’ve got some different materials people can sign up for on your website. Talk about what the DISC thing is. You have some stuff on here for DISC assessments, certification, training events, and things you do about DISC.

JJ: So it’s a model. I don’t give a rip which one you choose… just use one because they will make a difference in business or in your personal life because you have a model of reference. I chose that one because it was the easiest one to understand, the easiest one to learn, and the easiest one to teach others. So it’s based on Marston’s Four Temperament Model Of Human Behaviour. One model is not better than the other, they’re just different models, just find one that works for you. There are over 100 different models out there to better understand the tendencies or better understand people. Enneagram, StrengthsFinder, The Neo, the MMPI, BANK Code – there’s just so many out there – Myers Briggs, 360 degrees. Pick one, master it, and put in the time and effort.

So I’ve accumulated over 30,000 hours in the Four Temperament (DISC) Model Of Human Behaviour, studying, teaching, and certifying people within that tool. So everything that I do has a behavioural-based approach. So if I’m working with a coach, I’m going to get them accredited and certified in utilizing that tool. And now they can do coaching as a behavioural-based coaching approach. Are you going to do some onboarding within the staff you want to hire? Okay, well, let’s do roll assessments to find the temperament styles that you’re looking for. So that you can mark it based on the temperament style that you’re looking for. Then when you hire, you can have a behavioural-based onboarding training program so that you retain them longer. Because after 90 days, I think 30% of new hires are looking for an exit strategy. So by having a behavioural-based approach to onboarding, marketing, and presenting your products. Quite often, people put a lot of information in their written format. Great, that’s one-third of the general population, and two-thirds of your audience is more people-oriented based on their research, therefore, you need both the written format, and you need the video of you reading the written format. It’s a different type of industry, a different type of air.

So, for me when I learned about the 10 Most Effective Feel Good Ice Breaking Questions, guess what? I have it on my website, you can use it. It’s amazing how it actually works. The first question is, “How did you ever get interested in the widget business?” So you really have to be curious when you’re asking that question. When I was handed my first case in Bosnia, the gentleman was branded as a self-declared mayor of Mostar. He had that persona. How am I going to get that persona to like me?

So well, I know the mechanics as in, I went to spy school in the UK to be a contact handler. I spent a month there and then I deployed. I’m like, okay, so we’re supposed to say “Good morning” and introduce ourselves in their language. They appreciate the effort of being able to communicate their language. And then from there, you have to work with an interpreter. But the interpreter is not [in front of you], the interpreters on the side. You still have to keep your eye on the contact or on the person of interest. The interpreter at the end will disappear because you’re just keeping your eye on them. And so we’re doing the exchange.

So my first question to him was, “I’m just curious…” See those three words. By the way, Chris? I’m just curious. As soon as you say that to someone, their subconscious mind stays open. All the distraction of maybe people on the phone or whatnot goes away. “I’m just curious,” “What are you curious about?”

Chris: There you go.

JJ: Yeah. First question, “How did you ever get interested in the widget business?” I just replaced the word widget. “I’m just curious, how did you ever get interested in politics?” Now, the research says that if you ask that question, at the right time, the right moment, to the right person, they’ll talk for 10 to 15 minutes nonstop.

Chris: Wow

JJ: He did not follow that course, because he taught for 30 to 45 minutes nonstop. He kept on going and going and going. He’s providing me with a lot of clues and cues for me to read his preferred communication style. So the model comes into play here. Here are the two keys to decoding one’s preferred communication style. I like simplifying things for application. So when I’m interacting with someone, regardless of their culture, regardless of where they’re coming from, they all have a preference. We all have a preference. Science shows that a child’s preference is already set at the age of 4 to 5.

Are you more outgoing? Are you more reserved? Do you prefer a more fast-paced or slower pace? We have a preference, we can be 51% on one side, and 49% on the other, it doesn’t matter. But we do have a preference. So as he’s communicating, I’m looking at the pace perspective. Is he talking to me rapidly, fast, or slowly? conservatively? Is he loud? Or is he soft-spoken? Where is he on that scale? That’s the pace perspective. And then from the pace perspective, you start looking at the priority perspective. Is he using more task-oriented words? Or is he using more feeling-oriented words? An example would be if I were to ask you, Chris, “So what do you feel we should do after this presentation?” Well, if you’re from that people’s side, you would respond, “Well, I feel…” But if you’re not, it’s hard to respond to that. If I was to say, “Well, what do you think we should do?” If you’re not from that quadrant, it’s like, “Well, I don’t know.” Now, if you say, “Well, so what do you think or feel we should do?” Thinking things through. Feeling things through. They will respond “Well, I think…” I need to go more task-oriented with this individual.

[If he says] “Well, I feel…” meaning they would prefer more feeling. So they’re giving you all the clues and cues of their preferred communication style, you cannot not communicate. By having a model of reference in your repertoire – there’s a French word of the day – you activate this little piece of the brain and will be far behind your left ear, your RAS or your Reticular Activating System. Whatever you’re looking for is looking for you. So if you’re looking to decode and discern their preferred communication style, just start observing the pace perspective, and then the priority perspective. And then from there, you’ll find that they’ll fit into four main areas for four personas.

So if they’re a little bit more outgoing in their ways and very task-oriented, well, that persona will prefer you to communicate in a firm manner. So I’m going to give you the four legal “F” words. Just speak it out. It’s very refreshing. When you speak your mind. They speak in a firm manner. Others may be outgoing but they’re the life of the party. Guess what, they will want you to communicate in a fun manner. You know, smile a little bit. Others when they’re more reserved on the people quadrant, they would prefer for you to communicate in a friendly manner. So take your own and be friendly and absolutely stick out. And if you’re still reserved, and you have a lot of questions; you’re just curious, you have a lot of questions, they will want you to communicate in a factual manner when connecting with people matters.

So by discerning one’s preferred communication style, know before you show. Four keywords. Before you show that product, that service, that opportunity to your client. You need to know before you show what their preferred communication style is so you now have a starting point. Can you say the same thing in a firm, fun, friendly, or factual manner? So learning to say the same thing in four ways.

I come from that persona that tends to be a little bit more direct. And when I was studying with Dr. Rohm in Atlanta. Oh my god the funny moments in September of 1999, I still remember. He said to me, “JJ,” He got my attention. “Let me show you how you can annoy 90% of the general population just by being yourself.”

“What the fuck? How did you know that?” Because that persona tends to be the smallest group of the general population.

Chris: Oh, really?

JJ: By all means. The military or Special Forces attract a lot of those personas. But they’re
the smallest group of the general population, 10 to 15%, plus or minus, give or take. And what was fascinating was I understood this, and what I heard is I’m leaving a lot of the money on the table. In business, I’m leaving a lot of money on the table because I’m doing pretty good. But I’m doing pretty good with my personas. What about the other?

And then he said to me, “JJ, I’m just curious, would you be willing to learn to say the same thing in a different way?” “What do you mean, the same thing? There’s a different way?” So I was ready. We hear that famous saying, I’ve heard it before, but it resonated with me at that time: when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Well, guess what? The teacher appeared in September of 1999 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Chris: Well, I love this data. Because you know, I’ve kind of tuned into when people use language where they say thinker, emotion. It helps me identify masculine and feminine, it helps me identify if they’re in that emotional sort of brainwave or brain sphere, hemisphere, if you will, or if they’re in that logic thing. But I love these four keys and how people have those personalities and how you can identify them. And all of it’s really a lot about gaining rapport and developing a relationship, right?

JJ: That’s the first thing that they kept hammering in over and over and over in the UK: rapport. And then I’m like, rapport is that two p’s or one p, I mean what’s “rapport”?

They kept on advocating that a contact handler has to establish and maintain rapport with people. I’m like, okay, how do you do that? “Well, you just have to establish rapport.” “Got it. How do you do that?” “Well, you just do it.” What’s the model of reference? Because over there is an instructor teaching the lesson plan of the past instructor. They do a year or two, and then they move and they come back to the lesson plan. A few years before, I was back in the UK, and I was on an interrogator course, so prisoner handling and tactical questioning, I was on my interrogator course. And that was something because we didn’t train that way in Canada.

First of all, all I heard is who wants to go to the UK? And I’m like, I want to go to the UK. And then they sent me to the UK for a seven-day course. I’m like, seven days. As in do we have the weekend off? No, there’s no weekend off. It starts on a Sunday, and it finishes on a Sunday. Like seven days, really? In the first hour, Chris, I was taken, stripped naked, thrown into his cell, and interrogated. That was not on the curriculum. Where does that say that I was going to…?

Chris: Yeah.

JJ: And the warrant officer did what we call a harsh interrogation. Nine minutes nonstop of yelling.

Chris: Wow.

JJ: Is he ever going to breathe? Like he was ticked off or something. I mean, is it because I’m Canadian, I don’t know. But when you don’t have anything on you, everything is in play. Everything is vulnerable. So if you have any weird things going on, tattoos or whatnot, guess what? It’s coming out. And I never knew you could put so many swear words and sentences.
So he goes up and down and, and I’m just standing there because I know I’m supposed to say “I cannot answer that question.” Even when I said it, he already knew what I was going to say and he just chastised me even more. Okay, well, I’m not gonna say that again. Anyways, I was flaring my fist… and then it’s like, okay, get dressed, get back in the classroom. I’m like, what am I doing here? I’m in over my head.

Chris: Some people pay for that treatment, you know.

JJ: Shock and awe. But as I was leaving, because we had four interrogations going at the same time, all the doors opened, the four of us were coming out, and no one was looking at each other. We’re just looking at the floor because we just got violated. We’re sitting in. I was student number three. Then when everyone was finished, all the instructors lined up, and then sort of like debriefed us and they said “Okay, number three.” And he started going down everything that he was able to capture. [I was] flabbergasted because I didn’t answer any of his questions. Not one question. I didn’t answer one of them. But he knew exactly my triggers, he knew exactly what was going through my mind. He attributed this to something called BSA, Behavioural Symptom Analysis. Quote: “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” I became his student. [I said] Tell me more about that. But they couldn’t tell me more about that, because where did you take those resources or information? Where does it come from?

When I was doing research later on in my career, I went down to get certified in NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming. 125 hours. And in that program, that’s where I saw, Behavioural Symptom Analysis. It’s being able to read people’s physiology. I’m better at reading people’s physiology because I have a model of reference. That D persona will project a certain way. But the S persona will also project a different way. But if they’re lying, it manifests itself differently. And if they’re telling the truth, it manifests differently. You could misread people because you don’t have a model of reference. Someone shy could also look like someone is holding back on information. So the persona itself, as in having the model of reference, makes me better at utilizing NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming. It makes me better at using all the other tools because I have that foundation, that model of reference, then I can put everything on top and understand that okay, how does that apply from a D persona, an I persona, an S persona, there are four main personas that combined together, you will have 41 different style blends.

So if you’re good at reading the one persona now you can start blending, because 80% of the general population will have at least two to three traits together. Well, I’m a DC-style blend. So more dominant and cautious. My wife, Judy, my business partner, is an SCI-style blend. That’s a supportive, cautious, inspiring style blend. So you really have to listen. What’s the issue? Is it an S issue? Is it a C issue? Is it an I issue? Oh, crap, am I the issue? What’s the issue?

Chris: You’re always the issue. That’s how it rolls with husbands.

JJ: I actually documented it. I put it on the website as a talk. I wanted to get back to speaking after COVID and come up with new subjects. So I wrote “How To Successfully Navigate Hostile Environments Using The “F” Word.”

Chris: So does that work when the wife says to you or the girlfriend says yeah, I get it we need to talk. Does the “F” word stand?

JJ: Well, the story that I shared on the stage was that I had just finished three days of training with senior attaches. You’re putting in 14 to 16-hour days. And on the last day, I trained them on elicitation and how to counter-elicit as in how to avoid being elicited for information.

So it was a fall evening, I was at the house. I’ve used all my words. The research will show that men will use anywhere from five to 8,000 words in their day and women can use anywhere from 20 to 35,000 words in their day. So I used all of mine twice that day. I’m tapped out. But Julie hasn’t had that opportunity to use all her words. So after supper, we’re sitting down in the living room, we’re having a cup of tea, and then she’s just going at it. But she’s not asking questions, Chris. She’s making a statement with a pitch which is a form of elicitation. I just like “It’s raining?!” “It’s raining.” It’s raining?!”

Just by that pitch, you’re supposed to add to that. “I can’t believe she sat down on the phone, right?” And I’m just not buying it, I’m just there. And then she says to me, looks at me, “Why aren’t you answering any of my questions? And without thinking, I looked at her and said, “I don’t feel obligated to answer all your questions.”

Chris: Oh, wow.

JJ: Now, as a recognized global authority in communication and relationship development, I read the change in her physiology. And I thought that adding these three words would save my gluteus maximus. I looked at her and said, “At this time.” “I’m happy to talk about it a little bit later, but not right now. I’m tired. I don’t feel obligated to answer your questions at this time.” Then she goes “Obligated?!” and then she stood up and put her hands on her waist.

Chris: Yeah. You got a frying pan coming at you soon there buddy.

JJ: And then she goes “Obligated?! You don’t feel obligated?!” And then she left the room. She went outside. I’m like, What do we do now?

You know what, I’m just gonna put it on there. So on the website, if you go to the speaking [page], it’s a 20-minute presentation. And then at the end, the audience gets a chance to vote. I’m now a three-time award-winning speaker and that’s the presentation that I did. I use that story. So I give guys hope. Because then the guys can look at their wives and say, “Not as bad as JJ.”

Chris: So yeah, there you go. You should teach courses for people in dating. I knew that for dating and relationships and stuff. Because, you know, it’s rough now. I’m 55 and a lot of the stuff out there has got a lot of emotional damage.

JJ: As it happens, we do.

Chris: I’m looking at your website. You do coaching and consulting, law enforcement, direct selling, and sales. I love what you talked about with rapport. Jesus, it seems like that is such a lost art in sales nowadays, people just go right for the clothes, they just want to skip the first, second, and third base and go right to home base with you on closing you for a deal. I get that all the time on email and LinkedIn. It’s like, “Hey, we’re a manufacturing reseller. And do you want to buy from us?” And I’m like, did you even check my LinkedIn? Like what made you think that I’m interested in manufacturing? You are so off the mark in qualifying me and getting your rapport, and they’re just shocking.

You train corporations and government, enhanced investigative interviewing, which I love for jobs, because if you spend the time and money to hire right, it saves you so much brain damage on the back end.

JJ: The rapport ladder. In the first book that I co-authored inside that book is my methodology in regards to how to establish and maintain rapport. So I’ve created the rapport ladder.

In every interaction that we will have with people, we will either complete or compete an interaction. Like two Ds competing, who’s gonna be in charge? Two Is, who’s going to be the life of the party? So we either complete or compete. Now being French, I was writing the words, and I’m like, did I spell this properly? Because it’s the same letters, except one has a letter L in it.

And then my brain went to, what’s the L factor of completing an interaction? Until you can find a common link, common like, common love, no connection. You need to find a common link, that common like, that common love, so when you’re looking at a ladder, you have to connect it to the ground and lean in on a solid foundation and it requires you to go up that ladder. Well, guess what, when it comes to establishing and maintaining rapport, it will require effort. There are also insights in the ability to see things others overlook in regards to connecting it to a solid foundation, leaning in on the solid foundation and moving up. There are four rungs on there.

Now, if you are more on that task-oriented side of life, before I can do business with you I must first trust you. If you’re more on the people’s side of life, before I can do business with you I must first like you. So one needs trust first, based on proof. Trust is earned. But on the other side, the relationship comes first. Once I like you, I will trust you with my personal information. On the trust side, once I trust you, I will see that you have value and I will want to build a relationship with you. It’s more of a professional relationship. So trust and relationships come in. It just comes in at a different time. But in the end, rapport is the highest stage of relatability. That’s when they signed the contract. That’s when they put on the team USA jersey, as an operative.

So there are four rungs on that ladder for you to be able to move to that state. It took me two years, just because I was just trying and testing things out so I could teach others about how to establish or maintain rapport. So it’s listening, observing, discerning, and speaking. You gotta be listening to the other person first, listening for the clues and cues, are they more outgoing, reserved, task, or people? Discerning which quadrant you’re observing, because you listened and now you’re able to observe the mannerisms, their physiology, and the words that they choose to use. Discerning: I’m sensing D, I, S, or C, and then Speaking: provide your pitch or provide the information that you want to provide.

What’s interesting here is I turned that into a behavioural base model, because listening is an S attribute. They’re the other professional listeners. Observing as a C attribute. They’re the professional observers. Discerning, that’s the D attribute. They don’t have a problem making decisions. So you need all four, they’re sort of like the sequence in order for you to connect by design, and not by chance, in order to establish and maintain rapport. So that’s how you do the rapport ladder. So in that book is that chapter, and then I wrote another chapter for another book that never did get published about How To Master Rapport In The Workplace. Rapport is so key. But you see how your mess is your message, I did not know how to build rapport. Because spy school didn’t teach me they just said, you need to build rapport. How do you build rapport? Have a model of reference. So from there, I created my own. And now I’m able to teach it to others. In law enforcement, witness protection uses the Four Temporal Model Of Human Behaviour. Because they want to change your persona, so you’re not easy to find. So they have to introduce a model of reference so that they understand, so they don’t resist it, and then receive it.

Chris: Yeah, I’m gonna do that at the office, try and make it so it’d be fun. Note to self: buy some camouflage suits for the office. Well, JJ, it’s been wonderful to have you, very insightful, and we could probably talk for hours. But you know, for the most part, the data you have is just amazing as I’ve been going through your website. Give us your final pitch on the show, how people can get a hold of you, reach out to you to see and gain rapport with you as well, etc, etc.

JJ: Well, definitely the number one place to go is to landing page, I will just scroll all the way down. Last week, we just put a complimentary program on Mastering The Art Of Interpersonal Relationships, both in French and in English. So you can choose your language, it’s already there. It’s four easy lessons. And in the fifth lesson, there is something special that was going to come out if you finished the race.

You know what, for me, look at a model of reference. It will greatly help in raising your kids. It helped me raise my son and my daughter, and then celebrate 34 years of marriage with my lovely wife. So it makes a big difference. It’s a force multiplier. It multiplies your capabilities, both in business and in your personal life. So start with And if you want to, there’s a place where you can actually book a call with me. Complimentary 30-minute call anywhere around the world. So that’s your point of contact.

Chris: There you go. Well, thank you very much, JJ, for coming on the show. We really appreciate it. Deeply insightful and fun. And of course, a lot of the stuff you use is great for building relationships. We have this on the show where people come on the show, and I have to usually try and hopefully get some instant rapport with them and get to know them, people I’ve never met. I do that when I go on planes, when I travel or spend anywhere I go I’ll do that in the elevator just to be a shithead because everyone’s like we have to stand and be quiet normally. Fuck that. I’m gonna mess with people. I’m a rebel that way. But I’m deeply interested in people and that’s why we do the show. I’m sick of myself. I’m over me. I’ve been dealing with me for 55 years and the audience has been dealing with me for 30 years but I’m interested in people. I’m interested in why they choose their pathways, and why they go down through life. There’s no one perfect way to do life. I don’t know unless you’re born into a billionaire family, but even then if you’re having some issues. So thank you so much for coming on the show. We really appreciate it.

JJ: My pleasure.

JJ Brun, The Retired Spy

JJ Brun is a recognized global authority on human behaviour, communications, and relationship development who served for 20 years in the Canadian Forces in the field of Human Intelligence. JJ has dedicated his life and his business to training thousands of people in the principles of human behaviour and effective communication practices across cultures.

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