Focus on Hooks and Hot Buttons to Navigate Emotional Confrontations
Eric Barker stashed this in Diabolical Plans For World Domination
Simply put, “hooks” are anything that the subject latches on to positively, while “hot buttons” are anything that cause a negative reaction.
Hot buttons are probably easier to recognize (many people have a pretty high awareness for when something you say will piss someone else off), but hooks can be a powerful way to steer a conversation back towards a positive direction:
Hooks and hot buttons can help build rapport quickly because rather than turning the conversation into a squabble over demands, they deal with the emotions of the other side in order to create a more positive mood. “Hooks” are the things that someone enjoys or likes talking about. “Hot buttons” are things that make them angry, upset or depressed.
By steering the discussion toward hooks and away from hot buttons you can make sure you’re not unnecessarily antagonizing the other side and, instead, are soothing them. What’s the best way to find out someone’s hooks and hot buttons? By listening. The motto of the HNT is “Talk To Me.” NYPD negotiators are taught to spend 80% of their time listening and only 20% talking.
If you’re dealing with someone that you know personally, keep a mental list of things that they respond positively to. For example, if they’re struggling with a bout of low self-esteem, you might remind them of something they’ve done that they were proud of. While you can’t control the emotions of others, you may be able to manage the situation a little better.