Home » Words: Your Most Powerful Weapon by Evy Poumpouras (Transcript)

Words: Your Most Powerful Weapon by Evy Poumpouras (Transcript)

And I had to compromise on certain things too with the other entities that I was working with, because they were focused on the event being a success.

We were at one point where we were discussing something and we’re trying to compromise a part of the security plan when one of my counterparts came up. And he said to me, you’re acting as if somebody’s going to fly a plane into this building.

Now I realized in that moment he didn’t know his audience, because I am from New York City. I was in the World Trade Center on September 11. I lost colleagues and a friend. Several of my colleagues and I stayed behind to help evacuate people, to set up a triage and we were caught in the collapse of the towers both.

By the grace of God I was able to go home that night.

But in hearing him speak he had damaged those lines of communication. And although I continued to work with him and stayed open and receptive without realizing he had sabotaged something, because he didn’t know his audience.

When you speak to people, you have to know your audience. And you’re not going to know your audience if you’re just seeing things from your own perspective. If you’re the only one who’s talking, and if it’s just about you, because it can’t be.

When we don’t have perspective we have ignorance. And ignorance causes conflict, causes conflict in our relationships, it causes conflict in our personal relationships with our loved ones, at work with our colleagues, it causes conflict within societies. When one group doesn’t stand another group and even causes conflicts between countries.

Because we’re too busy trying to shove down somebody else’s throat our perspective, instead of trying to listen to somebody else’s. And when you communicate with people, the idea to enhance communication is to do so in a way that that person understands, not in the way that you understand. But in the way that person sees the world.


Fifty percent of what we discussed has to do with the other person. But the other 50% has to do with you.

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And when I say self, I mean self-awareness. Sometimes we’re not really self aware of ourselves, we’re so focused on someone else.

And when I say self-awareness, it means really taking stock of yourself: how do you present? And it varies — we’re different people with different individuals right, well one person at home, one person with our a husband or our wife, one person with our children, one person at work.

But how do you carry yourself? If you were to see you walk into a room, what impression would that give you?

I always hear you know doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside and it doesn’t in that vain perspective. But what matters is how are you put together, because if you look the part, then people are going to think you know what, what he or she says is relevant.

And unfortunately if you look disheveled, if you look like you’re a mess, no one’s going to listen, because it’s going to make the assumption that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Look at her she didn’t even iron her shirt today.

And when it comes to self, it’s not just on the aesthetic level but also on the level of when it comes to confidence. How you carry yourself, who you are.

There was this study done in Ontario in Canada. They went to a bunch of felons and they asked him: how do you pick your victims? They wanted to know how do they pick their targets to commit a crime on these people.

And a lot of them said, well, we look at body language. We look at how people carry themselves. If you see somebody walking up with their head held high taking up space because if I take up space, I’m telling you what, I’m relevant, I’m matter, I’m here. That’s one thing.

But if I walk and I’m closed in, I have my head down, maybe I’m on my iPhone all the time. I’m in my own world. What message am I sending out to you? Not a bad target, she might go down easy but the idea was when they sensed that somebody could possibly be a counter predator, they didn’t attack.

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But if they sensed somebody would go down easy, an easy victim, then that changed the scenario.

How you carry yourself, how you portray yourself, that’s communication. How people see you, how people feel you.

So although you may think you’re sizing people up and you are, people are sizing you up too.

And every time I walked into the interview room, every time I went to do an arrest or search warrant, people were sizing me up. And you have to be aware of that.


I’ve talked to you about communication and words and how important it is. But there are times where words are not the way to communicate. Sometimes our actions are the way to communicate to people.

When I went through training, through special agent training, it was like my second or third day, we were in the cafeteria in the evening, eating and I sat down with some of my colleagues.

And a couple of guys came over and they said, you know, some of the people don’t feel comfortable with you being here. Some of the guys don’t want you here.

I remember thinking, okay I don’t understand. Well they feel that you know what, maybe physically you’re not kind of stacked up to do this job.

And I remember turning around, I said, I don’t — I don’t understand. I went through the same hiring process as everyone. I qualified like everybody else. I did everything that everybody else did. You guys don’t even know me. You just met me two days ago, three days ago. I don’t understand.

And said, well, you know what, the standards for women are lower than they are for men. The standards are lower so that women can get this job.

So I went home that night and I thought about what they said. And what they said was true: the standards were lower so that women could get in. That wasn’t a lie.

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