“Crisis” or “Hostage” Negotiation? The Distinction Between Two Important Terms

This post is part of "Crisis Hostage Negotiation Month" at ADRhub.com and is a collaboration with the ACR Section on Crisis Negotiation. See more posts [HERE]. 
(Click the above image to see a larger version of the infographic)

From the FBI Bulletin:

...As time has passed since the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT) was created, something noticeable has occurred in the realm of law enforcement hostage negotiation—the emergence of the word “crisis” being used and often replacing the term “hostage.” Reviewing academic literature, one will find the term “crisis negotiation” being commonly accepted while television and other media outlets still refer to “hostage” as the generalized term.

Read the full article HERE. 
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Practices of Effective Negotiators

I highly recommend every conflict resolution practitioner read the paper by Elfenbein et al. titled:

Why are Some Negotiators Better than Others? Opening the Black Box of Bargaining Behaviors

Download the paper for free [HERE].

Lead author, Hillary Anger Elfenbein
If my word is not convincing enough, here's some great tidbits from the paper about effective negotiators:
  • Better negotiators typical engaged in greater information sharing & seeking.  This allowed claiming and creating value
  • Moved the process along by using words that articulating discrepancies (should, could, would)
  • Controlled the flow of offers by making more offers and reacting to offers being made
  • Are accurate in understanding the interests & priorities of their counterparts
  • Using misleading information predicted greater performances as it was connected to value claiming
  • Displayed greater signs of dominance (talking more, saying "no" more, less nonverbal displays of affiliation)
I found this interesting with respect to anchoring:
There was no correlation between performance and consistently making the first offer in a negotiation
For those who enjoy nonverbal communication, this was very interesting:
In particular, consistently displaying nonverbal synchrony with one’s counterpart, as measured in terms of the appearance of coordinated physical movement, was associated with lower performance through lower value claiming.
I encourage everyone (yes, again!) to read the paper.  It provides a great opportunity to reflect on your approaches to negotiation and discern the information the paper provides.


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Get a Masters in Negotiation

Interested in getting a MS in Negotiation? Check this out then. 

I did it and really enjoyed it. It's primarily online while you go to Omaha twice for week-long intensive sessions. It was not easy (some think online programs=easy) but really enjoyable and well worth it.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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What Role Does the Environment Have In Negotiation & Mediation?

from FineArtAmerica.com

If you had a choice in how to set up your mediation or negotiation room, how would it look?

I asked, as part of my PhD research at Griffith University Law School (I'm research nonverbal communication and mediation), this question.  In one of my three studies I asked key informants/gate keepers of the mediation community (professors and trainers) who are responsible for training new mediators this question and the answers I think are fairly interesting.

Stop for a moment and think about it- even if you think some of this is common sense.

Think to yourself, does any research on this in mediation or negotiation exist?  What I did was try to add scientific data to what we often hear- anecdotal stories.

I am not advocating one over the other either but rather I think we need both.  That is what my first and second study do- the first study (not shared here in this article) got this type of information from nearly 400 mediators across the world via a survey.

Then, for this second study I used ethnographic interviewing skills to go a bit deeper with the answers from the survey and hear from those responsible for teaching mediator.  These type of in-depth answers allow for the context to emerge which can complement or contradict the survey data.  The actual thesis does not stop at just providing the information but rather from a qualitative research perspective, I looked for themes that emerged as well as shared my view on the data.

At the very least this can provide a practitioner an opportunity to reflect on the information and see how it fits (or doesn't) with their views.

Before I post some of their responses, ask yourself again- how would you set-up your room?  Take a moment to think about all the aspects that you would take into account.  Also think about what impact it might or might not have.
(lines skipped on purpose so while you think about it you don't peek at the replies)

Here are four different responses. Let me know what you think:

  • The ideal includes a room where the tables can be rearranged to make different shapes. There is value to different shapes.   Circles are good but they can't be too big or too small.
  • Round tables; they are more intimate and encourage informality. Rectangle tables can give confidence to new mediators.
  • Clutter-free, includes a whiteboard and rectangle table.  A rectangle table allows various seating locations.
  • Round table, parties should feel comfortable with chairs and space. A round table removes edges, everyone is working together.
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