The Eyes and The Hands

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The Eyes and The Hands

In any political function or celebrity or business function your client has to get in close and get to know people.  Small talk and getting to know people is part of the event.  People want to be near to and be seen with the rich and the famous and the powerful.  It is this desire that your clients mine for their advantage.

So as the EP professional after you have swept the room for hiding sports and gear that does not belong, an had moved decorations and set up where stuff and people can hide and places you people about the area – what do you do?

Task your people as follows, one group to watch the room and the second group to set up a moving flexible zone around the principal.

The people who are watching the room are looking for people who are carrying bags and looking – not at the scene of action but to toward the center of the room but at the edges of the room.  Now a question must be asked in the head of the EP professional, are they looking for a place to put down their bag, or pick up a bag or?  The question must be asked and the person watched.  If it goes on too long the EP professional should approach the person in such a way they do not see and ask them if they need some help.  This does two things, the EP professional can watch their reaction and also it is a subtle way of letting the person know that the EPs are in control of the room.  After you disengage watch their hands, in their pockets, in the bag getting, a cell phone call or texting.  Even if they say they are looking for a seat, a rest room, a friend, etc… it does not matter.  You have show courtesy and a willingness to help in a way that surprises them and engages them.  A vast majority of the time it is nothing, but you will see very quickly when it is something.  One last way to test to watch the eyes and see if they dart back and forth and or the hands wiping sweat off on the pants or skirt – this is a sign of nervousness.  For those who are nervous visit them again in 10 minutes and ask them if they found XYZ – but make sure you ask if they found the wrong item – something other than what they told you the first time.  If they correct you – you probably have no problem – if they response quickly and say oh yes thank you. You have a liar and they need closer attention.

For the zone established around the client, it should be small but large enough to accommodate 3 or 4 people who may wish to speak and greet the person.  In this zone request that people please put done for a moment their bags or brief cases.  Also ask if they wish to give something to the person that they have the item in a shirt pocket or some other place that is small and easily seen or had it to the EP person in advance.  Now watch the hands.  So many times, you will see the hands go into the pockets, – if both hands go into the pockets – it is probably stress – drying off their hands, if it is one hand – see if they are talking and using the other hand while talking, if not – the EP must ask why is the hand in the pocket?  It is time for the EP professional to move to grab the arm of the hand in the pocket and escort them away.   Or gently touch the arm of the person to move them to a different position to greet the client.  Again, you are being helpful getting them to their objective.  If the arm stresses and stays in the pocket, stall him and signal the team to move the principal to another area.  If the arm relaxed and comes out of the pocket to get ready to greet the principal – all is fine and normal.

The EP professionals eyes must always be moving and watching what is going on in the room.  They need to have their eyes on the eyes of the people and their eyes on the hands of the people.  We cannot know intent, but we can spot nervousness.  The nervousness can be from being in such a place or a room and that is fine, or the nervousness is the nervousness that comes from thinking about doing something that should not be done.  An interruption of an innocent nervous person will feel genuine, an interruption of a bad person will feel awkward and they will be very stressed when you interrupt them.

So keep your eyes on the surprise.


This Executive Protection article was written or edited by Barron James Shortt, theExecutive Director of the IBA.

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