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 (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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