Final Week of Crisis Negotiation Month

The month of April is "Crisis Negotiation Month" at  It is a collaboration between the ACR Crisis Negotiation Section and and it will bring you articles, tips, info graphics, and a webinar throughout the month.
Enjoy further below the final week's articles below
Secret Skills of Crisis Hostage Negotiators: Slow Down
If slowing things down works for crisis hostage negotiators, it can help you too
Don’t rush the process.
A crisis and hostage negotiation is a tense situation that can be volatile with lives being at risk so is it absurd that a critical skill for hostage and crisis negotiators is to slow the process down?
The opposite- rushing the negotiation- is a mistake however that has been made however by negotiators. Athough you are most likely not a crisis or hostage negotiator, think about situations where you have rushed things and the result was not what you wanted. 
Read more from [HERE].

5 Steps To Negotiating Like an FBI Agent
(Drake Baer/ If you've ever spent time with human beings, you probably know that it's impossible to change their minds. So what if someone's life is on the line?

Then you call in somebody like Chris Voss, who was once the FBI's chief international kidnapping negotiator, working on about 150 cases worldwide over his 24-year career--and who is now a part of the Black Swan Group, his business consultancy.

“The idea of a durable agreement is the same in kidnapping as [it is] in business," he told Forbes, "only it’s a life-and-death issue."

Read more at [HERE].  
Hostage & Crisis Negotiators: Nonverbal Communication Basics

Learn the skills used by these expert negotiators and how it can help you.
Law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiators are world-renowned for their ability to apply expert conflict resolution and communication skills in situations that are tense, (potentially) volatile, and where lives can be at risk.
Learning the skills that these professionals apply to their distinct negotiation setting is not only interesting but it can also help you.
...Nonverbal communication is not limited to solely “body language” but rather includes a variety of other elements.

Read more from [HERE]. 
Social Media & Crisis/Hostage Negotiation Archive

Check out the webinar archive that was part of CyberWeek 2013 where you can learn about the increasingly important and impactful role social media has during law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation incidents.

More [HERE]. 
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"Recipes" for Success from the Greatest Negotiation "Chefs"

Who doesn't like a good metaphor?  I guess if you don't you could stop reading but hey, you already committed to one sentence so please carry on reading.

The latest paper posted by Noam Ebner on SSRN (a great and free resource) has some of the greatest and most well-known academic and practitioner based negotiators from around the world sharing their incredible insight into negotiator effectiveness.  This means you have the following all in one paper:

Andrea Kupfer Schneider (Marquette Law School),
James Richard Coben (Hamline Law School), 
Robert Dingwall
Daniel Druckman (George Mason U.), 
Noam Ebner (Creighton Law School/Werner Institute), 
Howard Gadlin (NIH), 
Christopher Honeyman, 
Sanda Kaufman (Cleveland State U.) 
Michelle LeBaron (U. of British Columbia Law School), Roy Lewicki (Ohio State U.), 
David Matz (UMASS), 
Carrie Menkel-Meadow (U. of California-Irvine Law School), 
Michael Moffitt (U. of Oregon School of Law), 
Jennifer Reynolds (U. of Oregon School of Law), 
John Harrington Wade (Bond U.), and 
Nancy Welsh (Penn State Law). 

For those thinking academic papers are boring, yes some might be but this paper clearly does not fit into that mold.  Rather, all 18 pages provide a genuine opportunity to learn tips from these pro's.

For those who still aren't sold on the idea, the paper starts off by mimicking recipe books by having each author (or "chef") share their "recipe" for a negotiator to be successful.

Because each "recipe" is brilliant, I had a tough time choosing which one to share but ultimately I picked Menkel-Meadow's because I think much of her "recipe" has micro ingredients that require the awareness and ability to master nonverbal communication (yep, I had to somehow connect this all to nonverbal communication).

That said, each offering provides ample time for both academic and practitioners to discern and oddly enough making you want to go in the kitchen and cook something up.

The paper and "recipes" will surely start to pop-up in trainings and other articles so get a head start and download the paper by clicking [HERE].

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In Negotiations Environment Matters, Cookies Matter

Image from

As I progress (I think I am progressing at least!) with my PhD on nonverbal communication, I wanted to share a snippet as I move towards completing the research.  As part of my research, I designed the METTA acronym to raise awareness of the importance of the role of nonverbal communication has with respect to the three skills of effective mediators: building rapport, developing trust, and displaying professionalism.

METTA represents: movement, environment, touch, tone, and appearance (see here).

Below I share about refreshments within the "E" of METTA- Environment.  Enjoy and please share your thoughts and comments:

It is also worth noting the role of having refreshments available for the negotiating parties has across the three studies of my PhD (study one was a survey, study two I interviewed mediation trainers and professors, and study three I observed mediation sessions) . Each study mentioned that refreshments were an element within “environment” that mediators need to account for. 

Having refreshments available for the parties has multiple advantages. First, it is part of a mediator’s preparation prior to the session beginning. Having refreshments available displays professionalism similar to how having writing materials available and setting the seating properly does. From a rapport and trust building perspective, recent research as well as anecdotal evidence points to the “affective” benefits of having refreshments.

A recent study showed the hungrier someone is, it can increase their anger and make them more aggressive due to fluctuations in their serotonin levels (Passamonti et al., 2011) . Both are two attributes a mediator is trying to avoid having in their parties if they are trying to promote a collaborative environment for the negotiation. 

 Further, another research study spotlighted how having a meal together in a restaurant while negotiating produced more productive discussions and resulted in greater mutual gains compared to negotiating in a conference room and not eating (Balachandra, 2013). The researchers state the reasons for this are numerous including mimicry (sharing the same kinesic motions of eating), sense of control (no one is forcing you to eat), and regulating predjuice and aggressive behaviors.

Anecdotally, I have been told multiple times how much a people enjoy having their mediations at JAMS (a professional mediation business) offices due to the tasty cookies they have available. As absurd as it might sound, consider the two previously mentioned studies while also thinking of the priming effective the environment can have. If a party shares a meal or thinks of the upcoming negotiation with happy thoughts due to the cookies being served, it can contribute to a positive and collaborative approach to the mediated negotiation. Remember, preparation is key as well as first impressions.

Although the environment might be something easily overlooked or not considered important, the three studies have identified nonverbal communication environmental elements is in fact something worthy of consideration as it can contribute to building rapport, developing trust, and displaying professionalism. The environment clearly matters, even if it is something that can easily be overlooked, not be articulated as being important by the parties, or seemingly pointless such as having sharing in eating a tasty cookie.
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Crisis Negotiation Month Week One Posts

The month of April is "Crisis Negotiation Month" at  It is a collaboration between the ACR Crisis Negotiation Section and and it will bring you articles, tips, info graphics, and a webinar throughout the month.
Enjoy below the first week's articles:
Crisis or Hostage Negotiation: The Distinction Between Two Important Terms
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 article from the FBI Bulletin and also see a bigger version of the infographic [HERE]. 
What Do You Say After Hello?
How do you start a conversation with an armed and dangerous person who refuses to talk and whose only demand is that you go away?
Gary Noesner, retired Chief Negotiator of the FBI’s Hostage Negotiation Unit and author of the best-selling “Stalling for Time: My Life As An FBI Hostage Negotiator”, has worked through times like this from the moment he did his first hostage negotiation more than 30 years ago.
Read more from the Crisis Negotiator Blog [HERE]. 
Persuasion & Hostage Negotiation
From (an incredible website btw)
What Hostage Negotiators Know That Most Negotiators Get Wrong
In terms of basics, what do you think people can learn from hostage negotiating that they don’t learn in your typical negotiating class?
Chris Voss (retired FBI Negotiator):
business negotiations try to pretend that emotions don’t exist. What’s your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or‘BATNA.’  That’s to try to be completely unemotional and rational, which is a fiction about negotiation. Human beings are incapable of being rational, regardless. There’s a lot of scientific evidence now that demonstrates that without emotions you actually can’t make a decision, because you make your decisions based on what you care about.
Read the full article [HERE].

Active Listening Techniques of Crisis Hostage Negotiators
...Therefore, active listening when used properly and effectively, displays professionalism, develops rapport, and builds trust. This transcends the world of mediators and hostage negotiators. While reviewing the skills below, one can easily see how when employed in your professional and social setting, it can contribute to you being a more effective communicator.
Below are the seven techniques of active listening that are taught by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crisis Negotiation Unit (FBI CNU) to their special agents and other law enforcement officials from around the world.
Read the full article [HERE]. 
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