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Key Takeaways

  • Preparing ahead can help one to overcome nervousness and navigate high-stakes negotiations.
  • The goal of the negotiation is not to achieve a specific outcome, such as getting the person to drop the weapon, but to form a connection and bond with a counterpart that allows for influence.
  • Being heard can make a significant difference in a counterpart’s satisfaction and willingness to work toward a solution.
  • Practice, willingness to learn, and dedication are absolute must to become an effective negotiator.

Executive Summary:

Hey everyone! Thanks for joining us on a brand new episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast with Nolan Martin and Aram Donigian. Our guest today is Scott Tillema, co-founder and senior associate with the Negotiations Collective and an FBI-trained hostage and crisis negotiator. 

Scott is an internationally recognized practitioner, advisor, trainer, and speaker who has negotiated in highly charged, high-stake situations that require sensitivity to the human element. He has been teaching negotiation for the past ten years and has studied negotiation at the Harvard program on negotiation at IMD Business School. 

Scott continues to receive training from the world’s top hostage negotiators and travels around the world, training and speaking to audiences in both law enforcement and the private sector. In 2016, he gave a TEDx talk titled “The Secrets of Hostage Negotiators,” which has received over 1 million views.

With that said, let’s delve deep into the insights that Scott Tillema shares with our hosts.

Lessons Learned From Scott’s First Crisis Negotiation

When asked to share the lessons learned from his first crisis negotiation, Scott states the following:

1. Importance of Being Prepared 

Scott wasn’t expecting to lead a negotiation, but he was prepared as a member of the team. He had the necessary negotiation techniques and strategies to handle the situation.

2. Overcoming Nervousness 

Scott was nervous during his first negotiation, which is understandable considering the stakes involved. But he overcame his nerves and performed well.

3. Shifting From Monologue To Dialogue 

Scott was able to shift the conversation from a monologue to a dialogue when the subject started opening up about his fear and concerns. This helped him to gain influence over his counterpart and de-escalate a potentially life-threatening situation.

4. Using Negotiation Skills In Personal Life

Unfortunately for Scott, his first crisis negotiation coincided with a date he’d scheduled with a young lady from his church group. When he met her again the following week, he had to diffuse a different kind of fuse: one where she felt she had been stood up. Luckily for him, his negotiation skills came into use once again and he managed to successfully ask her out once more.

Overall, Scott’s first crisis negotiation was a success, and he learned some valuable lessons that helped him in his future career as a negotiator.

Essentials Steps Of Crisis Negotiations  

Next, Scott mentions the essential steps of crisis negotiations: understanding, timing, delivery, and respect. He visualizes these principles in a circle that represents the bond that needs to be formed with the counterpart. 

According to him, the goal of the negotiation is not to achieve a specific outcome, such as getting the person to drop the weapon. Instead, the goal is to form a connection and bond with them that allows for influence.

The first principle is understanding, which necessitates active listening and paying attention to nonverbal cues. The second principle is timing, which involves knowing when to deliver the message. He emphasizes the importance of attending to the person’s emotions and needs before making demands. 

The third principle is delivery, which involves adjusting the rate, rhythm, pressure, volume, and tone of speech to create a positive experience for the counterpart. The final principle is respect, which requires understanding that people make decisions based on emotion and giving them the autonomy to choose an outcome while serving as a trusted coach.

Scott teaches these principles through scenario-based training with police officers, emphasizing the importance of forming a bond and connection before attempting to achieve a specific outcome. 

The Principles Of Crisis Negotiation Can Be Applied In Any Aspect Of Life

Scott suggests that these principles can be applied in the corporate world, the public sector, and people’s lives. In any situation where there are people involved and goals to be achieved, having the tools of influence can help leaders drive themselves, their team, and their business toward success. 

It’s not just about being right or serving our own egos, but about serving the people we work with and focusing on achieving our goals.

A True Negotiator Should Never Be Focused On The Process

Scott mentions one of his negotiations, where he got the party to surrender pretty easily. Later, when he reflected on the incident, he realized that the whole process he usually uses for crisis negotiations was missing, which disappointed him slightly. He refers to this as the Ikea effect, which is a cognitive bias that refers to the tendency for people to place a higher value on things they have put effort into creating or building themselves. 

It is called the Ikea effect because people often experience this bias when they assemble Ikea furniture. Even though the furniture may not be perfect, people feel a sense of pride and attachment to it because they built it themselves.

Scott suggests that people can avoid falling into the Ikea effect trap by being willing to ask for what they want, even if they are afraid of hearing “no.” In negotiation, he says, it is important to be focused on the needs of the team, business, or people being served rather than personal gain. 

By approaching negotiations in this way, negotiators may be able to achieve better outcomes, even if they have to hear “no” along the way.

Patience And Active Listening Are The Keys To Nailing High-Stake Negotiations

Scott suggests that active listening is a crucial skill that can help people sort out problems and improve communication in various settings. According to him, the process of listening involves giving someone your full attention and letting them express their thoughts and feelings without interruption. 

By doing so, you allow them to feel heard and validated, and you can gain a better understanding of their perspective and needs.

Apart from that, he emphasizes the importance of patience in this process, as it may take time for someone to fully express themselves and for you to truly comprehend their message. However, he also notes that the effort is often worth it, as just the act of being listened to can make a significant difference in someone’s satisfaction and willingness to work towards a solution. 

One can foster a more positive and productive relationship with others by demonstrating empathy and a willingness to improve.

Practice And Dedication Are An Absolute-Must To Become An Effective Negotiator 

Moving on, Scott suggests that while training is important to become an effective negotiator, it depends on the willingness of the individual to put in the effort and commit to developing this skill. Some people may be naturally better at it than others, but with practice and dedication, anyone can improve their ability to listen, show respect, and seek to understand others. 

Scott emphasizes that for him and his negotiation team, communication skills are essential for their work, and they have seen firsthand how effective they can be in saving lives. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to decide how much they want to improve their communication skills and whether they are willing to put in the necessary effort.

High-stake situations can be very stressful, especially in environments like law enforcement and the military, where there is a lot of pressure to perform well in front of your peers. One way to train for these situations is to create a simulated environment where individuals are put under pressure and observed by others, so they can learn how to cope with the stress and develop effective strategies for managing it.

Emotions Often Impact The Outcome Of Negotiations

Emotions can impact an active negotiation’s outcome positively or negatively. When negotiators become frustrated or emotional, they may make concessions they don’t want to make, give up things they don’t want to give up, or say things they shouldn’t be saying. 

By finding out what moves the other person emotionally, a negotiator can push their buttons and get them off their game, which can become a real problem for them. Negotiators must be mindful of what is being said; their body language can give away information. 

By being in complete control of themselves, negotiators can prevent themselves from giving away information that could be used against them. 

It’s also important to recognize the other person’s autonomy and acknowledge that they are in control of themselves. This can give them psychological room to breathe and create space for negotiation. Instead of trying to control the other person, negotiators should focus on controlling themselves first and then work on pulling the strings on the other person.

Scott, Aram, and Nolan discuss a lot more on this episode of the NEGOTIATEx Podcast. Write to us at team@negotiatex.com and share your thoughts on this very informational podcast episode.


Nolan Martin : Hey everyone! Welcome to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. I am your co-host and co-founder Nolan Martin. with me today as my good friend and partner in crime, Aram Donigian. How are you doing today, sir?

Aram Donigian : I'm Good, Nolan. I don't know what crimes you've been committing, I'm innocent though.

NM : [Laughs] All right, great. Well, let's introduce Scott…

AD : The fact that we got a police negotiator on here today. We might not want to be admitting to any any crimes known or unknown.

NM : [Laughs] Yep, for sure.

AD : Folks, excited to introduce Scott Tillema to you today. He's a co-founder and senior associate with the Negotiations Collective, an FBI-trained hostage and crisis negotiator. Scott is an internationally recognized practitioner, advisor, trainer, and speaker. He has negotiated in highly charged high-stake situations that required sensitivity to the human element. Clients, audiences, and students alike find Scott's teachings insightful, inspiring, and pragmatic, and we know you will today as well.

Scott worked as a negotiator with one of the largest regional SWAT teams in the US and has been teaching negotiation for the past 10 years. He studied negotiation at the Harvard program on negotiation at IMD Business School and continues to receive training from the world's top hostage negotiators.

Scott travels around the world training and speaking to audiences in both law enforcement and the private sector. In 2016, he gave a TEDx talk titled "The Secrets of Hostage Negotiators”, which has received over 1 million views.

NM : Let's start by talking a little bit about your journey in the negotiation field. What were some of the key milestones along the way?

Early Life And Professional Journey [1:37]

Scott Tillema : Yeah, I look back and I've been asked that question before, and I think that a lot of the beginnings of this come from going to school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It's a huge school, tens of thousands of students. And I realized that I was fairly sheltered in my childhood. I grew up in suburban Milwaukee and had kind of the same friends, and we're all kind of the same.

And when I get to Wisconsin, Madison, I'm surrounded by people who are very different people from all over the country, all over the world. And it became interesting to learn about them, their cultures, their habits, the things that they're doing, and maybe learn why they're doing it.

And just because everybody isn't like me doesn't mean that they're bad. It just means they're different. And for me, I was curious about it, and some people are afraid of people who are different than them. And you know, for me, I was just very curious by that. So I went on to study behavioral science as one of my majors.

And then a few years later I went back to school, got a master's in psychology, just because I was very interested in learning what people do, why they think the way they think, and how we can get them to move in our direction. Particularly doing negotiations work. It's not just okay enough to be nice to them or ask them nicely to do things. We really have to have a good understanding of psychology, human behavior, to get the outcomes that we need.

AD : Scott, I'm gonna, what, at what point then, as you went through your kind of education process, were you did you, did you join the police force?

ST : So in 2002, I became a police officer, and at that time, I had my bachelor's in behavioral science. I enjoyed working with people now doing police work. Now, truly, we're meeting all aspects of society, people from all different cultures, all different spectrums of age, different spectrums of financial benefit, all kinds of different people. So, it just grew my interest in people. So, I went back to school after a few years working as a police officer.

And then about five years in 2007, I was trained by the FBI in crisis and hostage negotiation. And for me, that was the perfect blend of psychology, people, and communication, all coming together. And that's when I realized I might be able to really contribute at a high level in some fairly dangerous situations.

AD : So, tell us about your first crisis negotiation and any lessons you learned from that experience.

Scott Talks About His First Crisis Negotiation [4:09]

ST : Yeah, I remember this one pretty clearly. It was five in the morning, on a Sunday. And we were called to an apartment. It was a couple, a domestic situation. A couple had been arguing and some neighbors had called in because they heard some violence and some screaming. And when police officers got there they could hear outside a door, a woman saying, "Help me, let me go!"

And then they could hear sound of duct tape being on a roll and bullet being racked into a gun. So, they decided to take a tactical position, call for the SWAT team. And as I was driving there, I didn't have much concern that I'd be the person on the phone. I was new on the team. I had never let a negotiation before, so I wasn't too worried about it. But when I got there, my team lead Patty, she told me, "All right, Scott, you got this one, you're gonna be on the phone".

And, I remember being nervous. I remember my hands shaking, and I was hoping nobody would notice that this was gonna be the most important conversation of my life up to this point. And, I knew that if I didn't perform well and use my negotiation techniques and strategy and skill, you know, somebody could be killed, right? So what I should have been doing on that Sunday morning was going to church. I had a date set up because a week before that, on that Sunday, I had met an attractive young woman at church and we had talked a little bit, and then we had set up a lunch date the following Sunday.

So, I didn't have her number, I didn't need it, I just knew her name and I just had to get to church that week. Seems easy enough, right? And then this came up and I knew I wasn't gonna make it cuz this is going long.

And you know, in this conversation, you know, I'm talking to this guy and things started to shift when he started telling me, you know, "Hey, I'm a little bit afraid too, you know, I don't mean to hurt her. We have a relationship." He explained that they were out in Chicago drinking that Saturday night.

And once you get that, that shift in conversation from a monologue into a dialogue, that's when you start to realize, Hey, I'm gonna be able to get some influence here. And sure enough, after a bit more conversation, he agreed to come out. He let the woman go, she's safe and sound. And we turned the scene back over to the local police department and it was good.

But it was too late for me to get to church that day. So it was a long week. The following week I did get there and I saw this young lady, she wasn't happy to see me [laughs]. But you know, I went and I had some explaining to do and I used all these skills of negotiation again, but, you know, I got the date, which is awesome.

But you know, I think maybe only a date or two because I was convinced that she never really believed that I was a hostage negotiator.

NM : [Laughs].

ST : And, you know, I'm trying to explain to her. I was like, no, watch the news. I was this guy doing this thing. And she's like, yeah, yeah, whatever. So yeah…

AD : Sure, sure you were

ST : [Laughs] She, said she appreciated the effort in the excuse. So I,  guess..

NM : [Laughs]. Well that works.  So, Scott, as we talked to, you know, your first time in negotiation, in training up to this point, or even as you continue to mature throughout your career, what did you see as an essential steps of crisis negotiations?

Essential Steps Of Crisis Negotiations?[7:20]

ST : Yeah, and this comes together from, from not only the the educational pieces, but having done this type of work. And for me, I work off of four principles of understanding, timing, delivery, and respect. And not only knowing what these principles are, but how we visualize them. And for me, I visualize them in a circle.

And the reason this circle is important, I say this, I want you to see this. And the circle represents the bond that we have, that we are trying to create with the people that we're talking to. Our goal is not to get someone to, free the hostage or drop the gun or put the knife down.

Our goal is to form a bond. And once we have that bond and a connection, then we have the influence, then we can get where we need to go. So the principles are understanding, we always try to work to understand, and this comes from the active listening skills.

But it's more than that because negotiation has evolved. 30 years ago when the behavioral change stairway model came out. Active listening is a foundational piece, but we need more than that now because we're having conversations by FaceTime, by Skype, by Zoom. This whole next generation is completely comfortable being on camera.

This is how they're being raised. Well, maybe the rest of us who are a little bit older, this is still a bit new to us. So, not only do we have to listen, but are we paying attention to gestures, facial expressions, body language. Everything we see here is providing us with information. Second principle is timing. Knowing when to deliver your message.

I think that not only can you not get what you want, but you can hurt your position if your timing's off. I remember negotiating with a guy who was in his house and he started popping off rounds and the SWAT team's calling out, Hey, we got shots fired. And he's really, really angry. And I think, is this the time to tell him, Hey, put the gun down. You just need to come out.

Of course not because we need to attend to his emotion and what's going on with him here first, what's, what's important right now? And then the delivery. I don't want to minimize the words and the content of what's being said, but if you're preparing for your negotiation, you're already putting together your content, watching people under stress, they don't have any awareness of their delivery. And I'm talking the rate, the rhythm, the pressure, the volume, the tone.

These are things that we can adjust in our delivery to let people experience us differently. And then respect, I think this is a piece that most people who are successful and professional get, yes, please, no, thank you. Yes sir. No ma'am. But respect is more than just being polite. It is about emotion and understanding that we make decisions based on emotion, not just logic and reasoning.

And if we can understand behavioral economics, cognitive biases, and all these things that influence how we make these decisions, then we are going to get better at respecting this person, having them feel respected and giving them a bit of autonomy to let them choose the outcome while we're kind of working in the background as a trusted coach.

But the reason that you have to see the circle, I do scenario-based training with police officers. I work with them. And one of the scenarios we run is a bad day. The bad day scenario where they're looking for a guy who is suicidal and I'm the role player and, and I come out at them and I got a knife to my neck and they come at me. And of course we're gonna get the tactics first to make sure that tactically they're correct. But the focus of this isn't tactics, it's about having a crisis negotiation.

And they just go to the default to this behavioral change step of put the knife down, put the knife down, I order you to put the knife down and it never works, right? So how about we take a timeout and say, think about your mindset. Instead of getting this person to drop the knife, make your goal to be, to form a bond and form a connection. And once you form a bond, then you got influence. So then they start asking que, well, how do I form that bond? And we teach 'em these principles. So understanding, timing, deliver, and respect, and it becomes a little bit easier for them. And they realize, I can find success if I've got this structure, this mental model that I can use during these difficult conversations.

NM : Thanks for sharing that, Scott. There's a ton of value there. Really appreciate it. So do these steps have application in the corporate world or public sector or even people's individual lives?

Scott Shares That How The Principles Can Work In Any Sector [11:40]

ST : Of course, because we're always trying to get what we want as leaders. We have a team, we have to drive ourselves, our team, our business to success. And how can we do that if we're just, if we're just guessing and doing what we think is right. I trust that there's a lot of people who are doing what they feel is good but sometimes they're not effective as leaders.

So, why not give them the tools of influence to help them get to where they want to go so they can be successful. It's tough to get this criticism. It's tough to get feedback sometimes, but ultimately, what is your goal? And that's what I say in negotiations, what is your goal? If it's about being right, if it's about your ego, you shouldn't be engaging in negotiations, right? Because it's not about you, it's about the people that we're working with.

So, think about that. It's not about you, it's about the people you serve.

NM : That's great. Thank you.

AD : We know you get this question a million times. I know that because I was watching your TEDx talk, which is fantastic. People need to go see that. Watch some of your other interviews too, Scott. But I wanted to ask you, cuz I think you have a great response.  I wanted to have it on here, but you know, what is it that you magically say that gets people to come out?

Understanding The Ikea Effect And The Importance Of Asking [12:47]

ST : Well, there's no magic phrase, right? Everybody wants to know, Hey, what's this one thing you say? I can share with you one story. When I get into negotiations there, there's kind of a script we follow to get started. Hi, my name is Scott. It's a personal introduction. I'm with the police department. So identifying you're not from the radio show or whatever. Hi, my name's Scott. I'm with the police department. I'd like to help some trainers say, well, don't say help because it feels like you, there's a power differential. Hi, my name's Scott. I'm with the police department. I, I like to help. Is everybody okay in there? And well, now we're starting to create the question and then a statement of purpose very early. You know, I'd like for you to come out and speak with me so we can get this resolved.

And that's kind of my opening script. And then after that I go to take my boots off. And the reason is because you want to get comfortable. The FBI says that these things statistically last two to four hours, so this isn't going to be a quick conversation and it shouldn't, there's an important process that needs to occur.

But in one of these negotiations after I say, you know, I'd like for you to come out and speak with me so we can get this resolved, the guy goes, okay. I was like, what do you mean? Okay. And he goes, yeah, come out. And so I let the arrest team know, Hey, this guy's coming out. And sure enough he did. And I remember driving home that night or that day, and it was Christmas Eve, it was cold and snowy.

And I just kind of remember feeling, eh, you know, I got the outcome that I wanted, which is a safe and peaceful surrender. But yeah, the process wasn't there. And this is what's called the Ikea effect and cognitive bias that I didn't work very hard. So the outcome has no value. And the Ikea effect is we, you, you get this furniture that's got a guy with the Allen wrench and there's not even directions in any language. And you work really hard to put this shelf together for $29. You built this bookcase, and it's not quite straight, not very good, but you're so proud. You tell everybody, "Hey, come look at my bookcase." and it's the Ikea effect.

Anybody could have gotten on the phone with this guy and said, Hey, I want you to come out so we can get this resolved. And he would've, he was just waiting for that invitation, I guess, or he didn't, he didn't wanna have a standoff. So, sometimes you just need to ask. And one of the things that we trained in our negotiation class is don't worry about no, let's stop being afraid of the word no. And in police and crisis negotiation, that's just where we begin. Like, I just expect we begin with no. And so many people are afraid just to hear the word no, that they won't even ask. And that's where I again, say, you're not negotiating for you, it's not being selfish. It's about your team, your business, the people you serve, and you can get more.

AD : Yeah. And that's the shift in mindset that I think you were talking about before. Whether it's what your mindset around your goal, your mindset as you're just saying right now around how I respond to a no. And even your mindset around process, which you were talking about so much earlier in terms of timing and delivery and being very intentional with how you negotiate.

How You Can Sort A Problem By Just Listening To Others [15:49]

ST : Yeah. That process is critical that so many people are happy, just that they had someone who listened to them as a supervisor and in my police department for many years people would be surprised to know that sometimes people call in and want to talk to a supervisor because they're dissatisfied with the service that they received. No problem. But I've learned that by thoughtfully listening to them and letting them talk and letting them share everything they need to share, and then asking the question and what else and, and what else, we get everything out.

Sometimes that's not, I would say more than half the time, just being listened to goes a long way. There's, you know what? I might not be able to get you what you need but I wanna listen to you. I I want to hear what you have to say because if we can do things better, I need to know that. And sometimes they don't believe that at first, but when you spend time truly listening to them, they, they've almost exhausted themselves and it's tough for them to have a lot of emotion left to come and attack you when you're such a good listener.

So, it takes time. It's difficult to do because you need to be patient. And I realize I'm not very good at being patient sometimes [laughs]

AD : Who among us is? [Laughs]

ST : Right.

NM : So Scott, you've talked about the importance of seeking to understand others and showing other people respect. Is it actually possible to teach or train people to do these things?

Is It Possible To Train People To Understand Others? [17:09]

Yeah and I heard you ask Kirk Kinnel a similar question on an earlier episode about can you teach these things? Of course you can teach them to the level that they are received. Now this is gonna be a little bit different. So I mean, some of it falls on having good instruction and some of it falls on the student to say, how good do I wanna be? Because we can learn all of these things and sometimes we just dismiss it and say, Hey, I'm not very good at it, so I'm not going to do it.

And sometimes we don't get the results we're looking for. You go to the gym one time, Hey, I'm not seeing any muscles. What's going on? I'm, I'm done with that. You really need to commit yourself. And naturally, some people are better at this than others, but for me, this is a skill that I've had to work hard on developing.

So I know that it can be done, and it's just a matter of are you going to take the time and effort to commit to being good at this and having seen the results. And for me, this is life or death. I mean, people are truly alive today based on conversations that my negotiation team has had with them. So I know that this is powerful tools and tactics to get what you want, so why wouldn't you put in your very best effort to be great at this?

And people get confused. They say, you know, I'm already a good communicator. I'm doing it all the time. Well, just because we're doing it doesn't mean that we're great at it.

AD : Yeah. And, I go back to you mentioned your first crisis negotiation situation and the tremendous amount of stress that you felt and that kind of, that awareness that, wow, it's one thing to be trained, it's another thing to do this under, you know, some, a high-stake situation. How do you, how do you then teach people? I mean, is there another kinda level up to these teaching of these skills when you're talking about adding, adding the, pressure of stress and time and everything else?

How To Deal With High-Stake Situations [19:00]

ST : Yeah, and sometimes it can be more stressful in the classroom, especially in groups like law enforcement and military, because the worst thing that you can do is embarrass yourself or fail in front of your peers, right? Like, that just cannot be done. So to put them in the chair in front of the class and have everybody watching, or sometimes we'll have people stand up and kind of come around the folks in the middle.

What we're doing is we're putting a lot of eyes on them and they realize people are watching and they're critiquing them. And this generates a bit of pressure for them. So it's not just the casual conversation, we're here having a chat that they really have to realize, okay, when I'm under stress, I'm not as creative as I should be. I'm not nearly as mindful or as thoughtful as I am when I'm just nice and chill.

So, can we get to a point where this is just a habit and Kirk was talking about the Scotland course at it's 7:00 AM till 2:00 AM. This is developing habits, so you are completely exhausted and tired. I love that idea. And you know, in the US in these police training classes, it's eight hours and they want a long lunch and they want to get out early. And it's not so much about the results. Hey, what came of it? It's, did you go to this? Check the box? Yes, you went to this. So we need to do better in training that as a whole, but there's a lot of folks out there who choose to say, I am going to be great at this. I'm gonna put in whatever time, money and resources I need to become great.

AD : Yeah. Yeah. That's a great level of commitment. You've, you know, you mentioned some of this in this interview and I've heard you say some before about the, in addition to commitment, kind of the, the need in negotiation, and it's probably a skill we developed, is to control ourselves first rather than trying to control the other person. Why is that so important to becoming a more effective negotiator?

Why It Is Important To Control Ourselves First To Become A Better Negotiator [20:52]

ST : Yeah, watching people negotiate, you see how emotions impact the outcome. And it's not because of the other person. It's watching the person that we are teaching, watching them get frustrated, watching them get emotional. And if I can find out what moves you emotionally, that's powerful for me because now I can start to push that button when I need to.

And when I can get you off of your game, that's gonna become a real problem for you. We're making decisions based on emotion. Now you're frustrated, you're gonna make concessions. You don't wanna make, you're gonna give up things you don't want to give up. You're gonna say things that you shouldn't be saying. Your power comes from information and options. I'm gonna keep digging up that information from you.

And if you are not mindful of what's being said, your body language, your tells how I'm getting information from you, when you gimme that look of contempt, when you give me one of these right here, all these things could be little pieces of information, especially if I got a baseline on you.

Now I'm studying all these things and you're giving away information. So let's be in complete control of ourselves. Sometimes we can't control the other person. I can't make them come out. And one of the most powerful things that I heard in a hostage negotiation one time was the officer who was negotiating said, "You are in control in there, and we are not". And I thought, how powerful is that?

Now the rest of that sentence says, "And we are in control out here". We own this out here, but by saying you are in control. And there, all of a sudden we gave a little bit of psychological room to breathe. We gave 'em a little bit of space to say, you don't need to prove to me that you're in charge. You don't need to prove that you're in control because you are. And we're acknowledging that. And in some classes I have negotiators push back and say, we can't ever tell somebody that they're in control.

AD : Right.

ST : Well, the reality is they are in control of themselves. So instead of worrying so much about trying to control somebody else, let's control ourselves. And once we manage ourselves, now we can get to work on pulling the strings on somebody else.

AD : Yeah, I can imagine You get pushback. We would agree with you on the power of autonomy and recognize it because it's a true thing, right? I mean, what, as you said, it is a true thing and to pretend like it's not seems artificial and likely harmful.

ST : Right. Especially now in society coming out of Covid and everything that we've gone through as a country and in the world, people really are pushing back to try to get some of those freedoms. It's tough when we're told, Hey, you can't go to work. Your kids can't go to school, you can't travel to this state. You can't go to this place for dinner. You can't travel out of the country. For sure, we've lost some of those freedoms. So people are really asserting themselves at higher levels because they want that autonomy, the freedom to do so. Why not give them some choice? I think it's very powerful. Instead of saying, Hey, will you take this deal? Yes or no? How about this package, this package and this package?

What's more attractive to you? And now we're digging to beyond the position and we're seeing their interests. What about that package is interesting to you? So when you come out, would you wanna come out the garage door or come out through the back door and, and we're just giving autonomy and choice and planting? Not If but When.

NM : Hey everyone, Nolan here. I have to jump in, and in today's podcast for Part A of the show, be sure to rate, review, and subscribe to the Negotiate X podcast if you haven't already. And also join us next week for part B of the show.

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