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How to Persuade People, According to NYPD Hostage Negotiators | TIME


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Here’s what you can learn about persuasion from expert NYPD hostage negotiators:

  • Know their hooks and hot buttons: Why say something that upsets them when you’re trying to build a connection? Note and emphasize the things they like and avoid the subjects that get them riled up.
  • Focus on the future: Suicidal people need to hear about the good times ahead. And people are more likely to play fair in a deal if they think they’re going to have to deal with you again.
  • Your behavior is contagious: If you can’t control your own emotions, how do you expect to be able to soothe theirs? Stay calm and employ that late night DJ voice. Use “dynamic inactivity” — shut up.
  • Slow it down: Rushing to finish can backfire. Time defuses emotions. Clarify and review.

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The NYPD HNT never stops trying to improve. They’re now teaching the basics of communication to all new recruits with an initiative called “Smart Policing.”

Officers don’t pull their guns that often but they talk with people every day. Things get accomplished better and more safely with voluntary compliance.

And the best part is we can learn from this, too. Anger and threats rarely produce optimal results. We all want to be heard and respected. And often that’s the most important part of any negotiation.

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