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Key Takeaways

  • Communication skills are critical in policing and negotiation. Despite its importance, there’s often a gap in formal communication training within the police force, highlighting the need for continued development in this area.
  • The SIMPLE model introduces a structured approach to communication and negotiation, emphasizing the significance of de-escalation, clear purpose, active listening, and empathy. This model is practical for both crises and everyday police interactions.
  • Realistic training, teamwork, and understanding the dynamics of crises are crucial. Andy’s early experiences in crisis negotiation taught him the value of preparation and the impact of effective communication on resolving tense situations.
  • Using real-life incidents to train future negotiators is essential for maintaining the realism and relevance of negotiation training. Debriefing and incorporating these experiences into training scenarios enhance the learning process.
  • Techniques such as rectangular breathing and personal strategies for maintaining calm (e.g., having a “range song”) are important for managing adrenaline and enhancing performance in high-stress situations.
  • The act of introducing oneself and acknowledging others’ emotions are powerful tools in building rapport and trust. These practices not only humanize interactions but also facilitate more constructive engagements.
  • Both environmental and psychological conditions play a role in effective communication. It is crucial to create a non-judgmental and genuine atmosphere where individuals feel understood.
  • Trust is foundational in negotiations, corporate environments, and law enforcement. It reduces the need for oversight and increases efficiency, underscoring the importance of genuineness, reliability, and empathy in building trust.

Executive Summary:

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for joining us on another insightful episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Our guest today is Andy Fairie, a retired British police officer with 30 years of service. 

Andy’s long career includes roles in response, public order, firearms, and notably as a hostage crisis negotiator for 12 years, during which he was deployed in over 115 incidents that required adept listening skills. These incidents ranged from kidnappings abroad to ransomware extortion. 

Andy also played a pioneering role in using negotiation tactics with protest groups in Scotland, effectively minimizing their impact on the community and police resources. 

Following his police career, Andy pursued an MBA, sponsored by the police, and became a qualified cognitive behavioral therapist, focusing on treating mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction, and PTSD. He has authored a book titled “Listening Skills for Effective Policing,” which emphasizes the development of communication skills through his SIMPLE model. 

This episode delves into Andy’s extensive experience and insights into effective negotiation and communication. So, without any further delay, let’s jump right in.

Andy’s Evolution Into A Master Negotiator And Communication Specialist

Andy’s negotiation journey began as a newly promoted sergeant in the police force, with an interest in communication sparked by his role in the research department. Despite the importance of communication being recognized, he noticed a lack of training for officers. His fascination with police negotiators led him to apply, initially without success, but eventually, he became a qualified negotiator. 

Throughout his career, Andy sought to improve his knowledge and, nearing retirement, aimed to educate other officers. He became a cognitive behavioral therapist, seeing parallels in listening skills across both roles. Additionally, he developed the SIMPLE model to aid officers in effective communication and listening. 

Navigating Crisis With Empathy And Precision In Andy’s First Negotiation Challenge

Next, Andy recounts his first crisis negotiation, highlighting the realistic training received from the Scottish negotiating course, which helped prepare him for real-world scenarios. Shortly after completing his training, he was called to assist a woman in a mental health crisis. 

Despite some initial challenges, including being thrown water at and a misunderstanding with the woman’s daughter, which temporarily worsened the situation, Andy and his team managed to de-escalate the situation. 

They convinced the woman to leave her barricaded home by clarifying the misunderstanding and demonstrating that her daughter was not being held hostage. This experience highlighted the importance of maintaining a safe distance, the effectiveness of teamwork, and the value of realistic training. 

Andy draws parallels between crisis negotiation and other high-stakes environments, noting that familiarity with team roles and prior practice can significantly impact outcomes.

How Andy’s Strategic Debriefing Shapes Future Negotiators

Aram inquires about how in later career stages focused on selecting and developing police negotiators, Andy ensured the training remained realistic and adhered to the criteria that underscore its importance.

The latter responds by highlighting how realistic training criteria are maintained in the development of police negotiators in Scotland. After every negotiation incident, a debrief form is completed, including a section to indicate if the incident is suitable for training exercises. 

If marked yes, the incident’s details, including the involved person’s background and crisis-leading events, are used to create realistic training scenarios. This process ensures that training remains relevant and effective, incorporating real-life situations to teach and prepare negotiators. 

SIMPLE Strategy: Andy’s Innovative Approach To Bridging Everyday Policing With Crisis Negotiation

Moving on, Andy discusses the SIMPLE approach to crisis negotiations, which was developed to complement existing models like the FBI’s behavioral staircase. The FBI model focuses on employing active listening to develop rapport, empathy, influence, and ultimately change behavior. 

Andy sought to create a model that was not only effective for crisis situations but also practical for everyday police interactions. The SIMPLE model includes:

Stop: De-escalate oneself before attempting to de-escalate another person

Introduce yourself: Establish a personal connection from the beginning

Make it possible to listen: Create an environment conducive to effective listening

Purpose: Be clear about the purpose of the interaction

Listen: Actively listen, giving full attention to understanding the other person

Empathize: Show genuine empathy towards the individual’s situation

Andy created the SIMPLE model as a memorable, daily-use mnemonic for police, focusing on the significance of officers’ feelings and behaviors in negotiations.

Andy’s Insights On Mastering Calm In The Heat Of Duty

Andy also talks about the critical importance of de-escalation for police officers responding to incidents, particularly given the high-adrenaline situations they often face. Techniques like rectangular breathing are highlighted as effective means to manage adrenaline and remain composed. 

He shares anecdotal evidence and research supporting the impact of breathing exercises on improving police performance in various tasks by enhancing focus and memory retention.

Additionally, Andy discusses unique personal strategies to maintain calmness, including having a “range song” to reduce nervousness during firearms assessments, illustrating how such techniques can aid in achieving a calm state of mind. This approach underscores the psychological benefits of grounding oneself in the moment to mitigate anxiety and enhance performance.

The conversation then shifts to the application of these de-escalation techniques not only for the officer’s benefit but also in managing interactions with others. Andy highlights the power of labeling emotions in de-escalating situations, pointing out that acknowledging someone’s feelings can be potent in building rapport and diffusing tension. This practice validates the individual’s emotions, creating a more conducive environment for constructive dialogue.

The Transformative Power Of Personal Introduction In Negotiations

Nolan asks Andy to explain the significance of introducing oneself and why it’s a powerful negotiation tactic.

Introducing oneself in negotiations, Andy explains, is about creating a human connection, which can significantly influence the outcome. He draws comparisons to everyday situations, like dining in a restaurant, where a waiter shares their name not out of necessity but to foster a personal connection that often leads to a bigger tip. Similarly, companies like Amazon name their smart speakers (e.g., Alexa) to humanize the interaction, making users more comfortable and engaged.

Andy also reflects on his experiences with unsolicited marketing calls and legitimate service interactions where the absence of a name led to frustration and a dehumanized communication experience. This principle applies to law enforcement: officers refusing to share their names with the public can escalate tensions. 

Andy has observed that such refusal often leads to deteriorating interactions, emphasizing the importance of personalizing conversations by simply introducing oneself. According to him, sharing one’s name can disarm potential conflicts and foster a more cooperative environment.

The ‘M’ in SIMPLE – Fostering Effective Listening Environments

Aram follows up by appreciating the intentional setup of the SIMPLE model, highlighting the importance of creating conditions for success, self-grounding, and personal connection. He mentions the model’s first two steps, self-grounding and personal introduction, and seeks clarification on the third step, “M,” which stands for ‘make it possible to listen.’

Andy emphasizes the importance of environmental and psychological factors in facilitating effective communication. He notes that physical settings, such as moving to a quieter location, can significantly improve the ability to listen. Psychologically, creating a non-judgmental and genuine atmosphere where individuals feel accepted and understood, regardless of their choices or values, is vital.

Andy explains that accepting doesn’t mean agreeing with someone but respecting their right to make decisions. Being genuine involves honesty and ensuring actions align with words, avoiding discrepancies that could undermine trust. Andy strongly believes that this approach applies to personal interactions and extends to organizational communications and business dealings.

He also shares that putting away a notebook during conversations can signal that the interaction is informal, promoting a more relaxed environment where individuals are more likely to share information. 

The technique highlights the subtle psychological barriers to effective communication and the need for strategies to navigate these challenges, ensuring that individuals feel respected enough to engage in meaningful dialogue.

Tactical Trust: The Cornerstone Of Professional Relations And Efficiency

Towards the end of the episode, Andy ties the concept of tactical trust into the discussion, highlighting its significance in various professional contexts, including negotiations, corporate environments, and law enforcement. 

He suggests that mistrust has tangible financial implications. That’s because it leads to increased oversight and redundancy within organizations, driving up costs unnecessarily due to the lack of trust in employees’ abilities to perform their tasks independently.

While intangible and fragile, trust is essential and often built on genuineness: aligning actions with words. Demonstrating reliability through consistent and honest behavior fosters trust. For example, in a negotiation or crisis, pointing out non-aggressive actions, like not forcing entry or rushing someone, can subtly build trust by respecting the individual’s autonomy and safety.

Empathy, the “E” in the AGE acronym (Accepting, Genuine, Empathize), is crucial in establishing trust and effective communication. By actively listening and showing understanding of an individual’s feelings and perspectives, negotiators can convey that they value and recognize the other party’s concerns. This acknowledgment can significantly enhance the trust between individuals, making navigating and resolving the situation at hand easier.

Thank you for your time!

Transcript

Nolan Martin : Hello and welcome to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. My name's Nolan Martin, co-host and co-founder, and with me as always, co-host, co-founder Aram Donigian. Aram, want to kick it off for today.

Aram Donigian : I will. We're going to travel across the pond once again with today's guest and one of these days, Nolan, we need to just go ahead and physically actually travel across that little body of water, get over to some of our friends and colleagues operating out of Europe and elsewhere.

So today folks, we are joined by Andy Fairie, who spent 30 years as a British police officer, gaining experience and response, public order and firearms roles, and a hostage crisis negotiator for 12 years. Andy deployed over 115 incidents where listening skills were essential to saving lives, some involving kidnappings in foreign countries and ransomware extortion incidents.

Later, he was also involved in the selection, training and mentoring of other police negotiators. Andy was a pioneer in using negotiator tactics to liaise with protest groups in Scotland, significantly reducing the impact protests had on the local community and police resources. Committed to lifelong learning, Andy was sponsored by the police to obtain an MBA, and since retiring has qualified as a cognitive behavioral therapist, he uses training to help others overcome mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

He has combined his experience from both these careers in his book, Listening Skills for Effective Policing, helping Officers develop their communication skills through the use of his SIMPLE; S-I-M-P-L-E model, and I'm sure we will get into what that stands for in just a moment.

Andy, thanks so much for taking the time to be with us today.

Andy Fairie : Thanks for that introduction, Aram. And you’re right, you need to get yourselves over here at some point.

NM : For sure.

AF : Maybe pick the summer though, because it's a bit cold at the moment.

AD : It's cold. It's cold here too, so I don't want to trade one cold place for another. So summer sounds great, and I can promise Andy it won't take much twisting of my wife's arm to make that trip happen.

NM : So let's start off by talking a little bit about your personal journey in negotiation. When did you begin to see yourself as a negotiator and have there been any key developments along the way?

Negotiation Secrets: How Police Can De-escalate Conflict (03:06)

AF : So, my interest in communication was sparked when I was a newly promoted sergeant. I was given a great job in our organization's research department, looking after uniform and protective equipment, which was great because I could get bits of kit for officers. And then when I went back on the street, I was able to use those bits of kit and I thought they're great, and they're still using that kit to date, which is really satisfying. But I was very aware that equipment will only get you so far and really you kind of want to be in a position where you don't have to use any equipment at all to secure some cooperation with people. And at that point in time, we talked a good game about the importance of communication and police officers deploying communication skills, but we didn't actually do a lot of training at all for standard police officers.

So I looked more and more into the subject and I found that in our organization we had police negotiators and I became more fascinated about their work. I applied to become a negotiator, didn't get through the first time the selection process, managed to blag my way through the second application that I made, got sent off to complete the Scottish negotiator course, which is a UK level qualification, and after that deployed as part of the negotiator cadre.

So I would have a normal negotiator date, normal police day job. But if something happened that needed a negotiator, we'd get a phone call, go to an incident and deal with it. So, in terms of my journey, what's happened to me along the way, I've kind of improved my knowledge as I've gone along. As I was coming up towards retirement, I was still keen to try and educate other officers a little bit about what I'd learned along the way.

But I also, as I came up to retirement, I decided I want to do something when I retire from the police. And I struck on being a cognitive behavioral therapist and a lot of crossover in terms of listening skills, very sort of different approach. When you're a crisis negotiator, you are dealing with someone who needs help there and then to quite possibly stop themselves from completing suicide. As a therapist, you are looking at things from a much longer time base and hoping to achieve a much more sustainable long-term impact.

So I've just taken all that knowledge and all that learning, still keen to try and get something back out to police officers, and that's where I developed this SIMPLE model, an easy to use model that police officers can readily dip into and utilize that in the conversations and the listening that they have to do on a daily basis.

AD : Well, I'll tell you that story resonates with me, our own background in negotiation for myself and Nolan here, it goes back to launching the West Point Negotiation project back in 2008-2009. And it was a similar thing as we looked at the US military way back then, which was we were talking a good game about how we engaged with other people, but what we were actually doing around training and a model or framework and common language was all over the board and oftentimes non-existent.

So really appreciate what you said in terms of identifying, kind of the need and recognizing that, yeah, there's a difference between being skilled in this and just kind of going at it and hoping for the best. Hope is rarely a good strategy.

AF : And sometimes people actually, police officers are great communicators because dealing with people in difficult circumstances day after day in the same way that I expect military personnel in conflict zones throughout the world or business people in meetings are doing that day after day, but very rarely do we actually give people a model to work with and very rarely do we encourage that reflection afterwards, which I think is an essential part of the process.

AD : Absolutely. Yeah. And often missed reflection can be a difficult thing to get, whether it's police officers or military folks, we don't like doing that reflection stuff and looking back and taking ourselves on. It's really difficult work.

AF : Especially when I've been to lots of debriefs over the years and nobody has ever mentioned the F-word, feelings during those debriefs.

AD : What are those?

AF : Yeah, exactly. Nobody, we don't have them in your place.

AD : Hey Andy, can you tell us about your very first crisis negotiation, being new to this, thinking back, how effective were you that first time out, what you learned from it?

Beyond Role-Playing: The Importance Of Real-World Training In Negotiation (08:14)

AF : Yeah, I can remember as if it was yesterday, and one of the key strengths of the Scottish negotiating course is when they put you through exercises, they make them as realistic as possible. So if your exercise involves firearms officers pointing guns at people, there will be firearms officers pointing guns at people. If you get too close to a subject, you're going to get something thrown at you.

You may get water, you may end up being very wet at the end of an exercise if you haven't maintained that safe distance. But I did my course and within a week, middle of the night, phoned out to some really lady who's suffering a mental health crisis, drove down there. And first of all, the team I'm working on, the other team are negotiators. I kind of knew some of them from my police career generally, but I'd never worked with them as a negotiator before.

But the strength of the training is it's a team game. Everybody knows what their role is in that time.

But yeah, like I say, got a little bit too close to the subject, got some water thrown over me or I choose to believe it was water. And I remember at that point thinking, oh, this is just like an exercise. And again, during an exercise, if you'd utilized a member of the public as a third party intermediary, if you gave that third party intermediary half a chance to say something wrong, they would do it and land you in hot water and see how you get out of it. And this was exactly the same, we had the lady's 18-year-old daughter lived with her and was at the scene as well.

And an assessment was made to try and use a daughter to see if she could exert some influence over the lady. The lady barricaded herself in our house and was throwing things at police officers and me. So we brought her daughter on and things started to go well, and they always tell you in negotiation, the most dangerous point is when you think things are going well, but things were going well. But bless her, the daughter at one point, she said, “mom, I just can't go until you're out of there now.”

I knew what the daughter meant. The daughter meant that she loved her mom and she cared for her mom so much, she couldn't possibly leave until she knew her mom was safe. The mom took that to mean that the police had taken our daughter hostage and we weren't going to let her go until her mom came out of that house. So suddenly the mom just hates us because we are holding her daughter to ransom. And it just took us way back down the behavioral staircase and all the good work we'd done up to that point was totally negated.

It was fine. We just got back to our training and started building ourselves back up in terms of rapport and listening and empathizing and influencing change. So eventually, yeah, we persuaded that mom to come out and again, using the daughter to show that we hadn't held her hostage what she had meant by the phrase before, and that it was safe for her to come out and that was influential and persuading the mom to come out and she did come out and we were able to get her some mental health help in terms of, yeah, so we were effective.

It maybe took us a bit longer and maybe learned a little lesson in terms of the importance of maintaining that safe distance. But more than anything else, it was that teamwork, that ability to drop into a negotiating team and instantly start performing the role that you've been assigned and just being reminded the training's realistic for a reason. It's realistic because you've got to use it. And just thinking about it from a military or a business perspective, it's exactly the same.

People have to know what their role is. I've been to a few cybercrime or extortion incidents with all companies over the years, and you're walking into their incident room and as I'm introducing myself to people, the people from that organization are introducing themselves to each other and you're thinking, okay, maybe should you not have met up beforehand and practiced this beforehand. And generally those organizations where that's not happening because people know each other beforehand and they know what their role are going to be generally fair better.

AD : I love the reliance on quality training. You said realistic training, the importance, how it sets you up for success, brand new to a very uncomfortable situation, and then when things went backwards to come back and rely on the training, also the ability to bring in folks who haven't worked together to be a team. But you all have a common, again, your common data point is that training.

As you went into later parts of your career where you were really involved in the selection, training, development of police negotiators, how did you ensure that the training you were running these folks through met that kind of realistic criteria?

AF : So, at the end of every negotiating incident in Scotland, there's a debrief form that the negotiator coordinator will fill out. At the bottom of that form, there is a box that says, is this suitable for an exercise? And if you tick that box, yes, there's a good chance you'll get a phone call and be told, “right, write up an exercise about that incident.” So you've got a little bit of the case history of the person's involved, what their hooks were, what the events were leading up to them being in crisis. And they then get fed into the training regime and they will then select those exercises that are likely to bring that realism and deliver learning points to the students. So it's about getting that feedback from the real incidents back into the training exercises.

AD : Well, I love that.

NM : That's brilliant.

AD : Yeah, I don't know if I've ever heard that either from any audience, corporate, military, police, what a great way to use those debriefs to promote future training.

AF : Yeah. Very much so. Very powerful.

NM : So this next question will be a high-level overview of SIMPLE, but first just want to tell everyone, go and check out ‘Listening Skills for Effective Policing’. What I loved about your book was all the short stories that you put in there when you just highlight the overall content of a book, it's not that exciting, but when you tie in all of the stories that you tied in from different vantage points from different people, it made it really, really enjoyable.

So, highly recommend everyone go and check that out. But high-level then we'll dive down into specifics of simple. But what are the key components of the negotiation process your organization used and the overall approach to crisis negotiations that led to your SIMPLE approach?

Negotiation 101: Equipping Officers For Everyday Encounters (15:21)

AF : First of all, Nolan, thanks for actually reading the book. It is very clear when we were discussing the preparation that you'd actually taken a lot of time in terms of digesting it. So I really do appreciate that. I suppose in terms of the organization that I used to be part of, Police Scotland, the model that we used in terms of negotiation was very much based on the FBI model. So the whole behavioral staircase thing.

So where you're employing active listening, but you're trying to develop a rapport, empathize, influence, and then change behavior. And that's a very internationally tried and tested model. And I did find that very useful as a negotiator at scenes, quite often you would get away, huddle, take some time out, and we'd actually ask ourselves, where are we on this staircase? Have we actually developed, have we introduced ourselves? Well, he knows my name and I know his name. So yeah, have we developed any rapport, little bit of rapport, have we empathized?

Maybe there's a bit more opportunity to empathize because we're not really at the stage of making change. Sometimes people just want to jump in and expect you to change people straight away and it takes time. And sometimes you would be explaining that to incident commanders as well who probably maybe don't have a negotiation background. Where are we on this path? Well, we're here at empathizing. Where are we're going to go next is we're going to start looking for opportunities to influence change. And it's just explaining them that there is a process and it is lengthy, but it gets resolved.

So that was Police Scotland. And it's a good model. I mean, it was developed by the FBI. We used to have people coming over from the FBI onto the course and vice versa. People from Scotland went over to the FBI course. It's a great model. It stood to test the time. What I was looking for is I was looking for something that's a little bit easier to use in reference for just those everyday conversations that police officers were having. But I also wanted to bring the police officer into it in terms of their own feelings, their own behaviors, because that's where the FBI model, it just solely focuses on that conversation between the negotiator and the individual.

I wanted to look a little bit more beyond that, and I wanted some mnemonic that was easy to remember, so I came up with SIMPLE. So the first one is STOP. I know we're talked about this minute, but stop. So that's about kind of deescalating yourself before you start trying to deescalate an individual. I - introduce yourself. M - make it possible to listen. P- know your purpose. L is when you actually do the listening. And a big part of that listening, such an important part. So has its own letter E, empathize. So that's a model that I've introduced and brought in with the book.

AD : I love the practitioner piece, and I mean I think Nolan and I would both say that, which is as we were introduced to negotiation, the same sort of concept, which is as a practitioner, which you are a practitioner and you're teaching practitioners, it needs to be something I can actually apply. And in the army we love, keep it simple, silly or stupid or whatever. You want to put the other that last S, right, keep it kiss. So I love the idea of SIMPLE. Let's dig into each of these. You said Stop was around deescalating myself first. Why is that essential to getting right out the door?

Managing Adrenaline: De-Escalation Strategies For Officers On The Front Lines (18:54)

AF : Well, particularly for police officers, you imagine you're getting the call on the radio to go to an incident. It may be because your colleagues screaming for help. So you're driving through the streets, the sirens going, people are getting in your way, they're putting cardboard boxes in front of your car, what they do, and you turn up, you are no use to anyone if you are on 101 in terms of adrenaline, you need that adrenaline to bring your A game, but you're no use if it is completely driving you.

And we talk a lot about de escalation now in the police, which is great because we needed it for so long. But quite often that deescalation focuses on the individual that you're dealing with or listening to. Somebody once asked me, can you really apply deescalation to every incident? And the factor is yes, because you should be able to try and deescalate yourself. Now, that can be difficult. You are in the car, the sirens are going, everybody's trying to collide with you.

So it can be difficult. And there are some techniques in the book. The most important I think is rectangular breathing. Now, there's lots of different types of breathing techniques out, and you have to find the one that works for yourself. I like breathing in for count of four, holding for two, breathing out for four, holding for two, and doing that, you only need to do that three or four times. And when you tell police officers about breathing, they're really skeptical because it seems such a simple thing to do. But how is that going to change my mood? How's that going to make me a better cop?

But the researchers out there years ago, years ago they took two classes of recruits of US police officers. They gave one of the classes an input in breathing skills. They gave the other class a completely different irrelevant lecture. And then they put both classes through a series of tests. And those tests were like handcuffing people or dealing with a noncompliant subject or an incident where they had to remember some of the things that had happened. And the cops that had had the breathing input, despite not being told why they would be getting the breathing input performed significantly better. So once you tell cops, look, the signs here that will help you in police tasks, perform them better, you'll remember more of what actually happened in the incident.

But it's all the simple things. I remember years ago when I was a firearms officer, I'd be firing down the range. I'd be fine, and then it would come to the actual assessment that you would have to do every now and then. And I was kind of scraping through and I remember saying to the instructor, I don't get this. I think actually I'm just getting nervous because of the assessment. And the instructor says, right, let's take this back to basics.

And I thought he was going to start talking about my trigger pool and breathing. And he says, what's your range song? And I looked at him, I said, “my what?”, “your Range song. What's the song you sing in your head when you're on the range?” I went, “I don't have one.” He says, “you've got to have a song.” And his theory, and it worked for me, have a song that you sing in your head when you're on the range. And it needs to be quick enough that you are reacting quickly enough, but it needs to be slow enough that it calms you down in between.

AD : What's your song?

AF : Well, I’m just looking, I'm trying to Jennings. I don't know if you, I hope you remember this song, this TV series, the The Dukes of Hazzard. Well, it was a theme tune for me. I settled on a theme tune from that. So it's a nice song. If you a good boy, bang, another bang. And it worked great. So there's two reasons it works.

First of all, yeah, it calms you down, but also there's a psychological thing going on there. It's very difficult to become anxious about what's going to happen next or what happens if I fail this or I'm go looking at it if I don't make this shirt. If you're singing a song in your head and all the real other stuff, the muscle memory stuff of drawing your weapon and finding your aim and pulling the trigger, that's muscle memory that will come to you. That whole playing a tune in your head brings you right into the moment and it grounds you.

I remember I spoke to a negotiator about this and I had to mention this and he talked about his call out CD, back when cars had CD players, when he was going to an incident, he would put his call out CD in, and it was relaxing classical slow music, and it just meant that when he arrived, he was calm.

Now then moves on to the second part because you need to then maybe try and de escalate someone else. And there's stuff in the book about that. I think one of the most powerful is actually labeling emotions. So if I say, Aram, I can see how excited you are about this podcast. Well suddenly if I am excited about that podcast, it feels validated because someone's noticed. I'm really excited about this. It doesn't necessarily mean that you agree with them or you agree with them if they're being angry or something like that, but you've recognized something as important to someone and just telling someone that is very powerful.

NM : Thank you for sharing all that. I know that the next area is introduce yourself and why is this powerful in negotiation, Andy?

De-Escalation Through Human Connection: Why Names Matter In Law Enforcement (24:47)

AF : When you go to a restaurant and you sit down, the waiter tells you their name, you don't need to know their name. Why are they doing that? And again, the research is that if they tell you their name, chances are you're going to give them a bigger tip. That's what the evidence shows. Likewise, you think about a company like Amazon now they know quite a bit about making money

NM : Little bit.

AF : But when they introduce their smart speaker, you don't say, Hey, smart speaker, play a tune. You call it Alexa and it has a nice human voice. And that's what is at the heart of it. People like dealing with other humans and humans come with names. Years ago I used to get a lot of unsolicited marketing calls from people wanting to sell me accident insurance or what have you. And these calls were unlawful, so you would never get the name of the person that was making the call to you.

In fact, even legitimate utility companies, if you were phoning up a call center quite often the workers were told never to tell you their name. And I can understand that is to prevent people becoming fixated about individuals. I get that. But of course the difficulty is, you then depersonalizes dehumanizes that person at the end of the phone, and I would fall victim to that. As soon as I would hear this and they wouldn't tell me their name, I actually start to get quite angry about it and start being quite rude to them, which is not me. And it certainly wouldn't happen if I knew it was Nolan from Glasgow calling me.

So that's why the introduction is important. I see a lot of clips on things like YouTube or whatever where police officers having a difficult conversation with a member of the public, member of the public's not happy about it and goes, “I want your name”. And the police officer decides, “I'm not telling you my name”, you can read my number. Police officers in the UK all have a number on their shoulder. You can read my number.

Over the years, whenever I've heard a colleague say that to someone, I've thought, I've just got to put my notebook away. I think I've get on the radio, start asking for a backup because this conversation is going south and it's just about personalizing that whole conversation.

AD : Yeah. What I like about this model so far is just the intentionality around the setup, right? I mean, we're still setting conditions and this through the first two when we talk about stop, how I'm grounding myself, thinking about introducing myself. That personal connection, even as you get into your third, M stands for ‘make it possible to listen’. What do you mean by that?

AF : Yeah, I just want to add something about the whole introduce yourself as well. Chances are you are not going to forget your name. It gets you in that conversational door.

AD : Hope not. Yeah, right? Yeah. It's a good start.

The Psychology Of Listening: Understanding What Makes People Talk (27:50)

AF : And there's no secrets. It's out there in the public domain, the FBI or Scottish Police negotiating. We'll teach some negotiators opening line. Hi, I'm Andy. I'm here to help you. So it just gets you talking. But to go on, make it possible to listen. And sometimes there are environmental factors. I've seen police officers standing in the pouring rain, trying to listen to people when there might be a bus shelter across the other side of the road. Well go over the other side of the road, get his boat in there and start talking. There may be noise, people might be worried because they're being overhead. So it's about setting the environmental factors, first of all. But it's about thinking about the psychological factors that are going to stop people from speaking to you or make them worried about if you are listening to them.

And there's a great model out there. People talk about conditions of therapy. For therapy to be effective, the therapist has to be, again, other than mnemonic, accepting (A), genuine (G), and empathize (E). So that gives you the mnemonic age. Now, what do we mean by accepting, the fact is that it's about not judging people and not looking down on them or making decisions about their values, particularly if they don't align with your values.

And it's not necessarily agreeing with people. It's about accepting that people are entitled to make different choices in life. They will live with the consequences of those choices. They are entitled to make them. You might not agree with them, but you can accept that those people are going to make those decisions. Being genuine, now, there's two aspects to this.

First of all, I feel it's about honesty. Don't be getting caught in a lie. People don't want to deal with dishonest people. That's an essential or a basic business principle. But it's also does what you do match up with what you say? Your call is important to us. How often do you hear that? When you call a call center and you are on hold, do you feel it's important? Because if it was that important, you'd employ enough people to answer the phone. And organizations, I think instead of saying, your call is important to us, why not just say, we are really busy. Sorry, having to hold on there. We'll get to you as soon as we can.

I speak genuineness, matching up what you say with what you do. But it's also important if you observe that in someone else. So someone might tell you, I really want to come out of this stronghold, or I only want to come out of this building. But they're not. What they're saying and what they're doing are two different things. And it comes into the business arena as well. Someone may say, we really want to give you the best possible deal, but you kind of get the feeling they're not giving you the best possible deal, and you've got to try and work on that.

So that's about the psychological things. There are other things as well. So for example, I found out years ago, if as a police officer, I want someone to stop talking to me, the best thing to do is take out my notebook and start writing down what they were saying. And it worked two ways. I remember years ago I was doing house to house inquiries regarding a murder that had taken place. It was in an area that nobody wanted to talk to the police, because if people find out that they'd passed information to the police, they would get hassle from the local community.

And so I make a big play. I would take down, right, there's Nolan, he knows nothing about this murder. And I'd put my notebook away, put my pen away, and then I'd say, okay, Nolan, that's a written record away. What's a gossip? And suddenly people would relax and they would say, well, I was in the shop and I heard somebody say something and a name was mentioned and they would tell you. And that was great. And okay, it's verbal testimony. It's not great because it's not written down. But if somebody doesn't tell it to you, first of all, you can't then write it down at a later stage. You can't then try and build that relationship.

So it's just about overcoming those mental barriers that are going to stop people communicating.

AD : And at the essence of what I heard you describing there feels like it's the establishment of some tactical trust. And I feel like trust, especially again, when you're talking to, maybe it's a senior corporate exec, but it could be a senior military officer, police officer too. Trust gets, oh, that's so intangible. How do you know when you have it? But what I feel like you're describing, and I guess correct me with your own thoughts here, there's actually tangible value when we create the conditions and we can operate in an environment where at least we have tactical trust in this moment with what we're trying to do.

The Financial Impact Of Mistrust: How Micromanagement Hurts The Bottom Line (33:08)

AF : Yeah, I often think, I mean, it's kind of outside the negotiating field, but I also often think there's a financial cost actually to mistrust because someone in the organization doesn't trust me to do my job properly, so they employ someone to check what I've done. So there's a cost to that, and then there's probably a lot more in me. So they have to employ a lot of people to check all the people to make sure because they don't have that trust.

And it is, it's a fragile thing. It's difficult to define. I think trust a lot of the time, it does come to that genuineness. It's that, do you act in the way that you speak. If you are going to get yourself in a position of dishonesty, it's going to really knock any sort of trust that builds up. That's why if you can build a bit of trust and point out where along your journey, we haven't broken down your door. We haven't tried to come in, we're standing here talking to you. These are small things that we've done to try and build up a bit of trust.

You might not actually say that, but you would be pointing out these actions in the hope that someone would realize, I can't trust these people. They haven't tried to break the door in.

They're not trying to rush me. They're not trying to grab me. They're doing what they're saying they're doing and build up the trust in that way.

NM : Well, I'm taking notes over here, and I think on the AGE acronym we got through accepting and genuine, was what was the E?

The Impact Of Empathy In Negotiation And Communication (34:47)

AF : Yeah, the E is empathizing and I will kind of speak about that at the end of the model. But empathizing it is just letting people know that they've been heard, and they've been seen, and those things that are important to them, you've taken notice of. And that's, again, that's just helping them building up that trust because actually, you know what? This person's listening to me.

NM : That's powerful. I know that I need to get better at empathizing. I say this in many of our shows, so empathy in general is a weakness of mine, but at least I know it. I think.

Hey, everyone, Nolan here. I have to jump in and in today's podcast, part A of this show, be sure to rate, review and subscribe to NEGOTIATEx podcast if you haven't already. And also join us next week for part B of this awesome interview.

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