Interview and Interrogation Training: Room Setting for the Witness

WZ / IAI Interviewing Tip of the Week: Room Setting for the Witness

This week’s International Association of Interviewers interview and interrogation training tip provided by Wicklander-Zulawski, has Chris Norris, CFI, director of WZ Europe and international training, talking about the room setting from the perspective of a witness.

Chris says he often gets asked questions like, “What about my note taker? What about the witness? What about the person who sits in the room with us?”

What we want to do is maintain privacy with the subject. Even though there’s going to be a third person in the room, we need to create a one-on-one conversation with the subject.

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The witness sits off to the side, out of view of the subject, and—importantly—not blocking the subject’s ability to leave the room.

Think about the blind spot when you’re driving. That 45-degree angle, over the shoulder, where you can’t really see someone, is the ideal position to put the witness in that room.

As you set up, and you’re sitting about four feet from your subject, with no barrier between the two of you, and you have the witness over the shoulder of the subject, then you’ve created a private environment where there’s a one-on-one conversation with a third person observing. We’re still protecting our interests of litigation and further concern from our subject.


The International Association of Interviewers (IAI) and Wicklander-Zulawski (WZ) provide interview and interrogation training programs and additional guidance to investigators when dealing with dishonest employees, employee theft, sexual harassment, policy violations, building rapport, pre-employment interviewing, lying, denials and obtaining a statement.

By focusing on the latest information and research from experts in the field as well as academia, legal and psychological resources, these video tips provide interview and interrogation training techniques that can enhance the skill sets of professionals with backgrounds in law enforcement, loss prevention, security, asset protection, human resources, auditors, or anyone looking to obtain the truth.

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