The tradecraft guide to advanced observational techniques adapted for professionals in journalism, law enforcement, and vigilant civilians – to discern subtleties and details otherwise unnoticed by the untrained eye.

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LINER TRADECRAFT

In the profession of covert operations, an operative’s ability to observe and interpret their surroundings can mean the difference between success and failure. These skills, to see beyond the obvious, honed in high-stakes environments, are invaluable not just in the field but across various professions that involve working in high-risk locations and situations while also practical in day-to-day life.

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          Understanding the Baseline

To notice the unusual, one must first understand what is usual. This involves developing a keen sense of your environment’s baseline. Baselines vary from one setting to another – what is ordinary in a bustling city street may be out of place in a quiet suburban neighborhood, what happens during morning rush hours will differ from the events of the night and so on.

Actionable Steps:


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          Cultivating Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is about perceiving, processing, and predicting the immediate space you’re in as well as the world as far as you can perceive to detect potential threats and risks as well as opportunities you can take advantage of. It’s understanding what’s happening around you, what it means, and what might happen next – so that you can best be prepared to engage or respond.

Actionable Steps:


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          Harnessing Peripheral Vision

Unlike focused vision, which concentrates on specifics, peripheral vision captures movements and changes in the environment that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Actionable Steps:


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          Enhancing Memory and Recall

An operative’s observational skill is only as good as their memory. Enhancing your ability to remember details can be a significant asset.

Actionable Steps:


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          Application in Various Fields
Journalism

For journalists, keen observation can lead to uncovering hidden stories or noticing details that others might miss. As well as a heightened ability to remain safe while in hostile situations or territory.

Practical Application:


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Law Enforcement

Patrol, detectives and SWAT rely heavily on observation to detect suspicious behavior and prevent or solve crimes.

Practical Application:


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Daily Personal Life

In everyday life, observation skills can enhance personal safety, improve social interactions, and make one more mindful and engaged with their surroundings.

Practical Application:


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          The ‘OODA Loop’

Originally developed for combat operations, the OODA Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) is a decision-making process that can enhance observational skills.

Implementing the OODA Loop:


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          Leveraging Technology

While traditional observational skills are paramount, technology can also be a significant asset.

Integrating Technology:


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Advanced observation is not just for operatives in the field of intelligence. It’s a skill that can be invaluable in various professional and personal contexts. By understanding the techniques and applying these skills in everyday situations, anyone can learn to see beyond the obvious and make more informed decisions.