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Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024
Good morning to you!

When I ask a yes/no question, I expect a yes/no answer. Some people are good at answering these types of questions. For others, though, it seems to be an impossible task. Ever wonder why that is? I do, and I continue to research the subject because I am intrigued by how some choose to answer (or, more accurately, not answer).

In my readings, I found the thoughts of former FBI agent Jack Schafer to be fascinating. He is the author of “The Like Switch” and says people who choose not to answer directly to a yes/no question are quite often simply being deceptive. He offers three techniques to detect their lies.

The first technique is something he calls “The Land Of Is,” which is derived from President Clinton's statement, "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is.” Schafer says The Land Of Is occupies “the space between truth and deception” and consists of “half-truths, innuendos, suppositions, assumptions and verbal judo.” Schafer states if a person fails to answer yes or no, a red flag should pop up. When that happens, he says to ask the same question again. If the person fails to answer with a yes or no again, he says the probability of deception increases significantly. I use this technique frequently, and I have found that most people do answer when asked the second time. I also sometimes preface the question with, “This is a yes/no question” to avoid the 10 minutes of babble.

Schafer’s second technique to deal with people who don’t answer yes/no questions is to learn to identify when they begin their answer with, “Well…” He says this indicates that the person is about to give an answer that he or she feels the questioner is not expecting and the person asking the question should be aware that lies are coming.

The third technique Schafer recommends when someone doesn’t answer directly is to ask some variation of, “Why should I believe you?” He says truthful people answer with, "Because I'm telling the truth.” He says liars have a difficult time answering with those words because they are not telling the truth. Instead, they offer responses such as "I'm an honest person," or "You don't have to believe me if you don't want to" or "I have no reason to lie." Of course, the framing of this question is important to avoid offending and may be more appropriate for an FBI agent than a boss, friend, spouse or parent.

Schafer notes that these methods to deal with ambiguous people do not detect deception all the time, but they do provide an indicator to determine if someone is being truthful or not and should warn you to examine the answers in greater detail. Of course, not all yes/no questions have cut and dried answers, but many do.

What do you think? How do you deal with people who struggle to answer yes/no questions? Shoot me a note and let me know.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman
President and Publisher
Big Green Umbrella Media
515-953-4822, ext. 305

See Shane Goodman's previous columns here.


Your Clear Mortgage forecast

Our warming trend continues into a breezy day today and Thursday. Rain chances (maybe thunder) Thursday, followed by a cooler, dry and breezy Friday. A slight snow chance is ahead Sunday.

For help with pre-approvals or refinancing, get in touch with Originating Branch Manager Carrie Hansen at carrie.mortgage.

CITYVIEW's Best Of Des Moines®
The results have been tallied and published in the February issue of CITYVIEW and online!


Best East Village Restaurant
1. Lucca

2. Olympic Flame Restaurant

3. Alba

Featured home for sale
Attention, Realtors, post your listings here for $50. Contact jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com for details.

2120 Thornton Drive,  Des Moines, IA 50321

One block from the Wakonda Club this 2 story home has 4+ bedrooms and 4 baths. This family home is on a quiet street with a corner lot. The 2+ attached garage with a double drive has over 3900 sq ft. The main level has 2 bedrooms, spacious Livingroom, family room and den. The white large kitchen has a big eating area with a bay window.

See the listing here.

See More Homes For Sale

What Tom Harkin would do if he were running for political office in 2024

By Douglas Burns

Tom Harkin still has it. The pulse of Iowa on instinct auto dial and a force of moral clarity and that defining doggedness, an aw-shucks ease with voters, and a rhetorical sledgehammer ever ready when he needs it. He’s fast, too, on the draw with a prescription for Democrats in Iowa in 2024.

It’s discipline of message, the former Democratic senator told me in an interview recently in Council Bluffs.


The best trigger for happiness is eating pasta. So claims a study by the Behavioral and Brain Lab at the Free University of Languages and Communication in Milan. The "scientific" study of 50 participants compared reactions to eating pasta, listening to favorite songs, and watching favorite sports teams.

Performances of Thornton Wilder's classic play "Our Town" resume tonight through Feb. 18 at Des Moines Community Playhouse. There is much to like about Katy Merriman's direction but we will stick to just three standouts: the minimalist production lets audiences concentrate on the play's theme — appreciating life's small wonders; Becky Scholtec, who frequently serves as stage manager at DMCP, excels in the lead role of 'Stage Manager' (Paul Newman's last Broadway role) and other roles both male and female; and fifth grader Harmony Parker rocks her two scenes debut as Rebecca.

Today is Restaurateurs Day at the Iowa capitol. among topics of concern is the rules of engagement for music licensing companies entering a hospitality business, which passed out of subcommittee this week. The proposed legislation would require music licensing companies to make every effort to make appointments during regular business hours, identify themselves upon arrival and ensure they do not represent themselves as law enforcement officials.

Kids eat free with every paying adult on Wednesdays at Chuck’s (3610 Sixth Ave., Des Moines).

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com


FROM KCCI: Gender identification bill passes through committee, heads to full Iowa House vote

Protests erupted Tuesday over House Study Bill 649, which would create new state definitions for 'sex', 'male', 'female', 'mother' and 'father'. Under Gov. Reynolds' proposal, anyone who has received a gender transition surgery would have a male and female designation on their drivers license and birth certificate.. ...READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: A look into how much water data centers use in West Des Moines

...In May of 2022, 1,647,363 gallons of water was pumped for data centers in West Des Moines, ranking as the 6th largest user of water for that time period in West Des Moines. The following year, May of 2023, shows that 1,225,953 gallons of water was pumped for data centers, being the 11th largest user of water for West Des Moines during that time. This shows how water usage can fluctuate for data centers over a year-to-year period. ...READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: 'These numbers are bonkers': Coalition unveils plan to tackle food insecurity in Iowa

Almost one-quarter of Des Moines residents have visited one of DMARC's 14 pantries in 2023, according to Unger. That’s a jump from one-fifth of residents in 2022.....READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

Birthdays and notables

These celebrities were born on this date: Ashton Kutcher, Chris Rock, Essence Atkins, Garth Brooks, James Spader, Eddie Izzard, David Bryan, Deborah Ann Woll, Isaiah Thomas, Steven Stamkos, Tina Majorino, Tom Blankenship

SUBMIT: Send your birthday greetings and congratulatory notes to: tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

What do you call a psychic gnome who escaped from prison? A SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE! - Kris Laurson, Rex Post, Gail Tomlinson. Also answering: William Snyder

Today's riddle

What happened when the pirate with one leg had to walk the plank?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in this daily newsletter, contact Jolene Goodman at jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com, or call 515-953-4822 ext. 319.

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