How to Talk Like a Real Hostage Negotiator

Hostage Negotiator

Recently a group of customer service representatives at a local calling center were treated to a day off from endless complaints to a day on of learning. The hot topic of the workshop was a speech given on how to handle any conversation like you are an FBI hostage negotiator. Forget what you’ve learned about the win-win outcomes because they doesn’t exist. Everyone knows there’s always a loser. So how do you do it? Follow these three simple steps:

  1. Use tactical empathy. What’s that you ask? It’s were you pretend to give a damn, but you really don’t. For example, when you’re told the product they purchased is not working like advertised, with a calm pitch and slow cadence, you say, “I…hate…it…when…that …happens.”
  2. Don’t strive for the quick “yes.” But isn’t that the goal? Experts say it’s more rewarding in the art of negotiation to start from no, move to maybe, and then score the yes. This opens the opportunity to probe and everyone feels good in the end.
  3. Conduct an accusation audit. What the hell is that? It’s a list of all the possible negative responses a person can give so you are ready with rapid fire responses before they can list them. For example, say the following, “Don’t worry if the at-home tattoo kit gives you a third degree burn, it comes with Neosporin and a Band-Aid!”

Essentially these tips can be applied to everyday living which was exciting news to attendees of this workshop. Here are just a few of the positive responses about the day’s lesson:

Matilda, a woman who admittedly struggles with confrontation had this to say. “Normally when faced with an irate customer or an upset roommate, I pretend I can’t hear them. Now I can feel good about saying, “Empty…it… yourself…bitch.”

Bob explained how happy he is to try these new skills out with the wife. He elaborated, “Now when she says no to sex, I’ll be ready with the comeback that if she agrees, I won’t bother her again for four more days. This should really make a difference in my getting some.”

A finally, Shanice had this to say. “Next time my boyfriend calls and asks to be let back into the house after a three-day binger, I will have no problem starting with that no, lingering for days over the maybe, and eventually saying yes when he agrees to buy me some jury.”

How To Talk Like a Real Hostage Negotiator
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