Clear communication and maintaining a calm demeanor are the two most essential skills a negotiator must demonstrate for successful crisis negotiation. Whether you are a landlord negotiating with a tenant or a medical professional trying to contain a global pandemic, as a negotiator, it is easy to tell whether your attempts are bearing fruit or not, but almost impossible to save a negotiation that is going south fast. It is, however, possible to learn to avoid, and even save, a deteriorating consultation with these three crucial tips.
Tip 1: Appreciate That Crisis Management is a Part of the Negotiation
Negotiation is essentially an attempt to influence the expectations as well as the reactions of a target audience. When negotiating a business deal, for instance, you try to control the thought processes of stakeholders or customers. This explains why crisis negotiators in movies often try to buy time first. In a life-threatening negotiation, the objective may be different, but the methods are pretty much the same. Begin by recognizing that managing the crisis is a small win in the negotiation. The moment you appreciate this, you will realize multiple options and crisis resolution opportunities opening up.
Tip 2: Assess and Reassess Crises at Every Turn
Good negotiators are dynamic: rather than having a single objective, they try to see the crisis from multiple points of view, including the persons with whom they are negotiating. This is critical because it helps them understand the crisis for what it is, as well as what the parties in the negotiation perceive it to be. However, as the negotiation progresses and the parties express themselves, the negotiator will reassess the situation and adapt the negotiation tactics and objectives based on the new standpoints.
Tip 3: Keep Feeding Them More Pies
FBI crisis negotiators are trained to practice minimal encounters, to ask open-ended questions, to reflect, and use emotional labeling to assess and reassess a negotiation situation. When talking, they have mastered the art of paraphrasing, using effective pauses, and summarizing what they have in a way that makes it easier for the negotiation parties to understand even under pressure. The acronym more pies come from combining these highly effective crisis negotiation strategies.
The next time you are negotiating a crisis, try implementing these three tips, and observe just how effective they can be.