The Goal In Law Enforcement Hostage Crisis Situations

To use communication skills to get a person to change from a negative behavior to a more desirable one.

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Communication

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In crisis situations, emotions can dictate a person’s actions at the detriment of rational thinking.
We all need to be good listeners and learn to demonstrate our empathy and understanding of the problems, needs, and issues of others. Only then can we hope to influence their behavior in a positive way.
A Negotiator's Goals During Crisis Management

In crisis situations a person’s actions is heavily based on emotions, at the expense of rationality. A negotiator seeks to reduce the negative emotions and bring back a more rational thinking process through the use of active listening, timing, empathy, rapport building, influence and control.

Core Skill 1: Active Listening

By strategically using open-ended questions, emotional labeling, mirroring/reflecting, silence, and paraphrasing, active listening allows the negotiator to gather information on the other person and simultaneously demonstrate empathy and rapport, thus reducing their negative emotions.

Core Skills 2 & 3: Empathy and Rapport

To influence someone it's necessary to show an understanding of their current emotions and behaviors; to have empathy. This can be done by attentively listening.
Building rapport involves giving the person your attention, being positive and ensuring verbal and nonverbal communication are congruent.

People in crisis often feel they lack control. By letting them talk and being a part of the negotiation process you give them a sense of control, helping them de-escalate and bringing yourself closer to your goal; voluntary compliance.

You also have to keep control of yourself, especially your emotions, as negative displays of emotion by you can escalate the situation. 

After using the other crisis negotiations skills you can pursue the final goal, to nudge someone else’s frame of mind towards a positive outcome.

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RELATED IDEAS

Police Negotiation Techniques

They aim to reconcile a counterpart’s problems with the need to maintain the peace for society at large.

Using active-listening techniques, maintaining an open-minded approach, and building rapport to influence one’s counterpart are some of the skills used to resolve conflict and this skills can also be used on other kinds of negotiation.

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IDEAS

  • High stakes, including communication towards conflict resolution.
  • Unpredictable.
  • Heightened negative emotions, often leading to conflict escalation.
  • Multiple parties and teams are involved.
Active Listening On The FBI’s Hostage Negotiation Techniques

The FBI uses a process composed of five sequential stages:

To establish rapport (Stage 3) with the subject, active listening skills (Stage 1) and empathy (Stage 2) must first be demonstrated and maintained throughout by the negotiator. As this process continues, influence (Stage 4) and the successful resolution of the crisis through behavioral change (Stage 5) follow.

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