10 Mistakes Crisis & Hostage Negotiators Can Make (& How You Can Avoid Them)

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AC4-Logo-(micro-100p-v3)“10 Mistakes Crisis & Hostage Negotiators Can Make (& How You Can Avoid Them)”

Facilitator: Jeff Thompson, Research Fellow, Columbia University Law School; PhD candidate, Griffith University Law School
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Active Listening Skills of Crisis & Hostage Negotiators

One of the most often cited skills necessary for crisis and hostage negotiators is comprehending and utilizing "active listening."  Interestingly, often I come across literature in conflict resolution that rarely explains specific components of active listening or two other critically important terms in conflict resolution- rapport and trust.

Crisis and hostage negotiation research however does provide specifics and often the case it is directly from the experts at the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Crisis Negotiation Unit (FBI/CNU).  They list seven components of active listening (read more here):

  1. Minimal Encouragement 
  2. Paraphrasing
  3. Emotional Labeling
  4. Mirroring
  5. Open-ended Questions
  6. "I" Messages
  7. Effective Pauses
A future article will explore each of the above more however in the meantime, retired FBI special agent Chris Voss shared recently with Eric Barker of Bakadesuyo.com (bookmark this site and visit it often- you'll thank me) the Behavioral Change Stairway Model which (BCSM) includes five steps to helping peacefully resolve crisis incidents that can also be applied to other negotiations that you might be involved in during the course of your professional life. 

As you can see, active listening is the first step.  I suggest you:
1) Read Barker's article [here]
2) click the first link to read more about active listening
3) check back here soon to read about both the BCSM and active listening

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New School Year, New Research

As some people might know already, I am currently conducting research at Columbia University Law School as a Research Fellow for the 2013/14 academic year.  One of the core areas I am researching is Crisis and Hostage Negotiations.

Over the course of the year, I will share any valuable insights I get from research and those I find in other studies and articles.

One quick bit of information I will share already is the confusion of is it crisis negotiation or hostage negotiation... or both?  The quick answer (and I'll add more in a future article) is there has been a trend to move towards using the word "crisis" instead of "hostage."

The reason being, the law enforcement officials whose role includes that of a negotiator involves hostage situations only 4% percent of the time.  That means 96% of the incidents they respond to are crisis situations not involving a hostage being taken.

Looking forward to a productive school year!
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