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6 hostage negotiation techniques that will get you what you want

Stashed in: Influence!, Emotion, Communication, Change, Listen!, Empathy, Negotiation, @bakadesuyo, Awesome, Copying, WANT!, Life Hacks, Psychology, HumanNature, Peacemaking...., Negotiation

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How does hostage negotiation get people to change their minds? Learn the six techniques FBI experts developed to influence and persuade anyone.

Strong lede:

There are five steps:

  1. Active Listening: Listen to their side and make them aware you’re listening.
  2. Empathy: You get an understanding of where they’re coming from and how they feel.
  3. Rapport: Empathy is what you feel. Rapport is when they feel it back. They start to trust you.
  4. Influence: Now that they trust you, you’ve earned the right to work on problem solving with them and recommend a course of action.
  5. Behavioral Change: They act. (And maybe come out with their hands up.)

The problem is, you’re probably screwing it up.

What you’re doing wrong

In all likelihood you usually skip the first three steps. You start at 4 (Influence) and expect the other person to immediately go to 5 (Behavioral Change).

And that never works.

Saying “Here’s why I’m right and you’re wrong” might be effective if people were fundamentally rational.

But they’re not.

Eric then goes into the six techniques.

It's a great read:

There are SO MANY good techniques in this article -- pauses, mirroring, paraphrasing, encouragers -- but by far my favorite is emotional labeling:

A good use of emotional labeling would be “You sound pretty hurt about being left. It doesn’t seem fair.” because it recognizes the feelings without judging them.

It is a good Additive Empathetic response because it identifies the hurt that underlies the anger the woman feels and adds the idea of justice to the actor’s message, an idea that can lead to other ways of getting justice.

A poor response would be “You don’t need to feel that way. If he was messing around on you, he was not worth the energy.” It is judgmental. It tells the subject how not to feel. It minimizes the subject’s feelings, which are a major part of who she is. It is Subtractive Empathy.

I'm going to re-read this many times:

If you are really into it, I HIGHLY recommend this book: Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston (Also ex-FBI negotatior)

Thank you Christina!

In my experience these are quite powerful and accurate tools and insights that can be very effective in conflict resolution by reframing zero-sum outcome gambits from lose-lose into tolerable win-lose propositions for the loser, i.e. the hostage taker doesn't lose as bad in surrendering his position.  Some of the earlier founding work by Bandler and Grinder (plus Erickson) are highly instructive here on these techniques and others even more powerful ones.

However these methods are often not the best or most effective long term ways to get what you want in sustained relationships already established in a win-win frame, where both parties are already positively pre-disposed towards achieving shared results.  The most effective techniques here are far more simple and far less manipulative:

1. Know clearly what you want.

2. Ask for it.

Surprisingly many, many people find #1 incredibly difficult to implement, simply because they don't practice thinking clearly all the way through a vague want until they reach a well-defined and expected end result before they start talking.  

Others also fail at getting through #2, but this is less so from cognitive laziness and more so from their dispositional aversion to openly asking for what they want from others.

So practice #1 and just get over #2. 

That's it. Get back to work.

Joe Jackson had a song about this: "You Can't Get What You Want Til You Know What You Want"

Directly asking for it -- well, that's refreshing. I have to try that.

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