Hostage negotiators have a tough job, and we can learn a lot about negotiation from how they do things on a daily basis. Over on Backing Up the Wrong Tree, FBI negotiator Chris Voss suggests that the first tip we can all take away from a hostage negotiator is “active listening”.
Active listening is pretty straight forward and exactly what it sounds like:
- Listen to what they say. Don’t interrupt, disagree or “evaluate”
- Nod your head, and make brief acknowledging comments like “yes” and “uh-huh.”
- Without being awkward, repeat back the gist of what they just said, from their frame of reference.
- Inquire. Ask questions that show you’ve been paying attention and that move the discussion forward.
Essentially, a hostage negotiators first job is to hear out the other side and then respond. It’s a good tactic for any type of negotiation. Head over to Barked Up the Wrong Tree for a bunch more negotiation tips from hostage negotiators.
6 hostage negotiation techniques that will get you what you want [Barking Up the Wrong Tree]