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Key Takeaways

  • Negotiations are essentially conversations with a specific goal. However, it’s easy to get sidetracked by unrelated discussions, hindering meaningful resolutions. Focusing on the negotiation’s primary purpose, especially when different parties have varied objectives, is crucial for effective negotiation.
  • Active listening is underlined as a critical skill in negotiations and interpersonal interactions. It involves full participation, energy, and effort beyond passive listening, which is common in everyday life. Techniques like paraphrasing, reflecting, asking open questions, minimal encouragement, using ‘I statements,’ and effective silence are part of the “PROMISES” mnemonic to improve active listening.
  • Embracing silence is discussed, as it can lead to deeper communication. Other strategies, like emotional labeling and summarizing, help validate others’ feelings and confirm understanding, fostering further dialogue.
  • Practicing empathy involves recognizing and articulating feelings, which can enhance interpersonal relationships.
  • Applying CBT principles in daily life can help manage emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Small changes in behavior can lead to shifts in thoughts and emotions, illustrating CBT’s practical utility for personal development and emotional intelligence.
  • Recognizing and naming emotions is a strength, as emotional awareness can lead to more genuine and effective communication.

Executive Summary:

Hey everyone! Welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Andy Fairie, a cognitive behavioral therapist, retired police officer, and hostage crisis negotiator. 

In Part A, Andy shared his personal journey in negotiation and discussed the key components of the negotiation process used by the police force. He introduced his own model called SIMPLE, which stands for Stop, Introduce Yourself, Make it Possible to Listen, Know Your Purpose, Listen, and Empathize. 

Additionally, Andy highlighted the significance of empathy in negotiations and the power of making others feel heard and understood. We strongly recommend that you check out Part A if you haven’t already done so. With that said, let’s jump right in.

Keeping Sight Of Goals Amidst Distractions And Divergences

Andy kicks off the discussion by noting that negotiations are conversations with a purpose and how easily one can get sidetracked from this primary goal. He illustrates this with everyday examples, such as arguments that seem to be about trivial issues but are actually rooted in deeper problems. 

He also shares his observations from his police and negotiation experiences, where the initial purpose of interaction can become lost in unrelated discussions, preventing meaningful resolutions. 

Andy underlines the challenge of maintaining focus on the negotiation’s purpose, especially when parties have different objectives, and highlights the importance of identifying and aligning these purposes for effective negotiation.

Harnessing The Power Of Active Listening

Next, the conversation turns to the importance of active listening in negotiations and interpersonal interactions. Aram, acknowledging his need to enhance his listening skills, asks Andy for advice. 

Andy responds by underscoring the critical nature of listening, stating, “If you’re not listened to, you don’t exist,” to highlight how being unheard can make individuals feel isolated, especially those in crisis. 

He contrasts active listening with passive listening, where the latter involves divided attention and minimal engagement, common in everyday interactions but insufficient for meaningful communication.

According to Andy, active listening requires full participation, energy, and effort, which Andy admits can be challenging. To aid improvement, he introduces the mnemonic “PROMISES,” which encompasses various active listening techniques:

Paraphrasing: Restating what’s been said in your own words.

Reflecting and Mirroring: Echoing significant words or emotions to encourage further sharing or to help regulate emotional states.

Open Questions: Asking questions that require more than yes/no answers to encourage deeper conversation.

Minimal Encouragements: Using non-verbal cues (like nodding) or verbal affirmations to show engagement.

I Statements’: Expressing how the speaker’s words affect the listener, fostering a more personal connection.

Silence: Utilizing silence effectively as it compels people to fill the gap, potentially revealing more than they would in a constant stream of dialogue.

Andy’s insights into active listening emphasize its significance in not only resolving crises but also in everyday business and personal relationships. By genuinely engaging with others and showing an understanding of their perspective, we can foster more meaningful and productive interactions.

Mastering Listening Skills For Meaningful Communication

Moving on, the speakers delve into the topic of using silence effectively in communication. Aram acknowledges his own challenge with remaining silent when needed, recognizing it as a lost opportunity to listen more deeply. 

Andy encourages embracing silence, noting it can lead to discomfort for both parties involved but often prompts valuable communication. He illustrates this with a simple exercise of staying silent in a taxi ride to observe who breaks the silence first.

Andy then expands on other critical listening strategies beyond silence, including emotional labeling and summarizing. Emotional labeling involves recognizing and validating the emotions of others, showing them that their feelings are seen and acknowledged. Summarizing, akin to paraphrasing, involves recapping conversations to confirm understanding and progress, which also encourages further dialogue.

Highlighting the importance of being heard, Andy shares insights from his practice as a cognitive behavioral therapist. He points out that clients often appreciate simply being listened to without immediate solutions being offered, reflecting a broader human desire to be acknowledged and validated rather than fixed.

To improve listening skills, Andy suggests practice in everyday situations, such as engaging with service workers or responding to disliked political figures on TV, using strategies like paraphrasing, summarizing, and employing strategic silence. 

Bridging Understanding In Communication Through Practice And Perspective

Subsequently, Nolan explores the concept of empathy with Andy, focusing on why empathy is often challenging to define and practice. Andy distinguishes empathy from sympathy, explaining that empathy involves understanding and sharing the feelings of another person, rather than just expressing sorrow for their situation. 

He uses the common response to someone’s loss, “I’m sorry for your loss,” as an example of sympathy, which doesn’t necessarily convey an understanding of the other person’s emotional state. On the other hand, empathizing involves acknowledging the specific emotional impact of a situation on someone, making them feel seen and understood.

Andy emphasizes the importance of practicing empathy to improve, suggesting exercises like emotional labeling and reading fiction to better understand and articulate feelings. He shares a routine of daily identifying his emotions to enhance his emotional vocabulary, which in turn aids in recognizing emotions in others. 

This routine involves distinguishing emotions (single-word feelings like happy, sad, or angry) from thoughts (more complex statements) and encouraging not repeating the same emotion within a week to broaden emotional awareness.

Andy advises engaging with people whose views differ from one’s own to further develop empathy. It challenges one’s ability to listen and empathize without agreement and enhances interpersonal relationships by making others feel heard, even in disagreement. 

Integrating CBT Principles Into Daily Life

Moving on, Andy discusses applying Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) principles daily, beyond therapy. CBT effectively treats depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addictions. Its core philosophy revolves around the interconnectedness of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, forming a triad where altering one element can impact the others.

Andy emphasizes the importance of becoming aware of one’s emotions, thoughts, and actions and understanding how these elements interact. He suggests that targeting the easiest-to-change behaviors can often lead to shifts in thoughts and emotions. 

For instance, someone dealing with depression might struggle to directly change negative thoughts but can start by modifying their behaviors, such as engaging in basic physical activities. Andy strongly believes that this behavior change can slightly improve their thoughts and feelings, demonstrating the practical application of CBT.

To illustrate, Andy shares a personal anecdote about experiencing nerves before the podcast, highlighting how identifying and naming his emotion (“nervous”) allowed him to manage it through simple breathing exercises. It helped shift his thoughts from anxious doubts to more positive and rational expectations about the podcast, thereby calming his nerves.

Andy advises listeners to become more aware of their emotions by regularly identifying and reflecting on them, recognizing their thoughts, and being mindful of their actions. Focusing on controllable aspects and making small adjustments can improve one’s well-being, thereby illustrating CBT’s practicality in daily challenges and boosting emotional intelligence.

A Journey From Immediate Interventions To Lasting Transformations

Andy compares his experiences as a crisis negotiator with his work as a CBT therapist, highlighting each role’s distinct challenges and rewards. He compares his love for work facets to parental affection, distinct yet deep. He finds the adrenaline rush and resolution satisfaction immensely compelling in crisis negotiation.

This role allows for direct, impactful interventions during serious incidents, offering an instant sense of accomplishment when successful outcomes are achieved. However, Andy notes the transient nature of these interactions, where, despite the immediate resolution, the long-term well-being of the individuals involved remains uncertain.

Conversely, as a CBT therapist, Andy enjoys witnessing and contributing to lasting changes in individuals’ lives. Over the course of therapy, he observes significant progress, such as clients moving from severe depression to gaining employment and rediscovering enjoyment in life. 

On that note, Andy reflects on his personal evolution, acknowledging a shift in priorities as he matured. While he once thrived on the high-stakes, immediate impact of crisis negotiation, he now finds greater fulfillment in the more gradual, enduring process of therapeutic change. 

His dedication to enhancing long-term wellness, rather than opting for adrenaline-charged interventions, shows a commitment to making a meaningful, enduring difference in people’s lives.

Embracing Emotions In Negotiations: The Unseen Strength Of Emotional Intelligence

In the concluding part of the interview, Andy emphasizes the transformation he experienced through becoming more emotionally aware. He shares that this change requires effort, such as writing down his emotions daily and expanding his emotional vocabulary, significantly improving his life. 

Furthermore, Andy challenges the common business negotiation advice to exclude emotions from the negotiating room, arguing instead that recognizing and naming emotions can be powerful. He strongly believes that because humans are inherently emotional beings, emotions will be present in negotiations regardless of attempts to exclude them.

Additionally, Andy advocates for emotional awareness in negotiations, suggesting that understanding and acknowledging emotions can lead to more genuine and effective communication. 

Overall, the conversation highlights the relevance of emotional intelligence in various contexts, from business to military negotiations, underscoring the universal applicability of the skills and insights Andy has shared. 

Andy, Aram, and Nolan discuss more on this episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Write to us at team@negotiatex.com and share your thoughts on this informational podcast episode. Also, if you enjoyed the episode, we’d be thrilled if you could rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your ratings help us grow and improve.

Thank you for your time!


Nolan Martin : Hey everyone, thanks for joining us on the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Andy Fairie, cognitive behavioral therapist, retired police officer and hostage crisis negotiator and author. If you haven't already checked out part A of this show, be sure to do that first. Let's jump in the conversation with Andy.

NM : The next area is purpose. So why is purpose important in a negotiation?

The Core Of Effective Negotiation: Identifying And Aligning Purposes (01:06)

Andy Fairie : So certainly the definition of a negotiation from when you go on your course in Scotland, you're told, and again, this is in public demand. I'm not telling anything that's not already out there, but a negotiation is a conversation with a purpose. But the reason that I've put purpose in there is because it is so easy to get derailed on what your purpose is.

So for example, if you ever had a conversation or an argument with someone that's close to you and you've maybe gone to work the next day and says, oh, I had a real rotten argument with my other half the other night. And I say, well, what was it about? Oh, she didn't take her shoes off when she came in the door, the carpet got messed up. And then you stop and you say, but it wasn't about that, really. And it's those conversations where you are arguing about one thing, but really something else is at the back of it and you're never going to get any sort of resolution, meaningful resolution, arguing about the surface issue.

What's at the core of it? I've seen it a lot with police officers. It's a bit like that thing where somebody will turn up an incident and I want your name. You are not getting my name. Here's my number. Why are you not giving me your name? And then suddenly we're in an argument about are you getting to know the name of the police officer? And that's not going to sort out why the police were called there in the first place. Likewise, I see that with negotiators and probably done it myself, where you begin to form a rapport with someone and it gets to the stage. You're having such a great conversation just about shooting the breeze. You've got something in common, you're talking about it, you're having a great old time, but you're not actually getting towards getting that person out of crisis. And actually what happens, that person is enjoying the conversation so much, they want to keep it going and keep it going and keep it going.

And suddenly we're derailed on purpose. The purpose is getting that person to safety. But really we've kind of got stuck on the purpose of just having a good ‘natter’, as we'd say in Scotland. And like I say, it's really easy to become lost on purpose, but it's also very easy to talk across purposes. So you may have one individual who is there to talk about one thing and another individual who is there to talk about a completely different objective.

They're never going to work. Very rarely are they going to find any sort of resolution. And the easiest way to know what your purpose is, tell someone what it's, so my purpose is to explain this SIMPLE model to you. That's why I'm here today. And it may well be, Nolan turns around and says, well, we're not really interested in the SIMPLE model. We want to know more about your police experience. Well, that's fair enough.

Now we know we've got different purposes and we've got to try and work out how can we get somewhere to a common purpose if we can. That's when we can start to have some meaningful dialogue.

Aram Donigian : And I always tell folks, purpose needs to be formulated. We need to know it's not accidentally found later on. Be like, oh, is that what we're here about? We're intentional around it. And I like how you frame that. We're going through this SIMPLE model. The L is listen, I feel like we hear a lot about, oh, how important active listening is in your own experiences. Why is listening so important or powerful? What gets in the way of our ability to listen well? And then Nolan was willing to raise his hand and say, he needs to work on empathy. One of the things I need to work on is my own listening skills. How would you coach and advise somebody who just says, I get it and I still struggle with it.

Why Active Listening Matters In Every Interaction (04:58)

AF : So why is listening important? If you're not listened to, you don't exist. It's that simple. And particularly people who are in crisis are in crisis because they feel no, they are completely alone. Nobody has listened to them. I think there's a business parallel. If you are unhappy as a customer and the organization you're unhappy with, are not listening to you, you're going to be even more unhappy as a customer.

Active listening, yeah, we hear a lot about it, but not really many people know what it means. And I suppose it's easy to say what it isn't. It isn't the opposite, which is passive listening. So you can be sitting there half watching television, half in a conversation, maybe looking on your phone, oh, you're hearing things and you're maybe even chatting away. And you know what? That's fine. That's probably 99% of conversations with people and that's fine. That works.

Active listening. Well, first of all, you actually have to actively participate in that listening. The barriers to it, it takes effort, it takes energy, it takes practice. And you asked, right, Aram, “how can I improve my listening?” And I've got another mnemonic called PROMISES, and there's various active listening tools in there. I'll come to them in a minute.

Again, if you look in the good negotiating world when it comes to active listening, they'll quite often hit you with the mnemonic ‘more pies’, which is fine, but it just makes me hungry whenever I think about it. And I felt ‘promises’ was a bit more uplifting. So what is ‘promises’? So a series of tools to try and improve your active listening. So the first one, paraphrasing, it's just restating what you've been told but using your own words. So Aram, you've said you're not that confident about your own listening skills and you're curious about what you can do to improve it. That's paraphrasing, reflecting, mirroring.

So reflecting might be where you are echoing the words that somebody said. So if somebody says a really significant word, oh, I just can't go on anymore, anymore. You just reflect back those significant words and it hopefully encourages them to then continue that phrase or paragraph or set of sentence. Mirroring is where you attempt to mirror the emotion of someone. So if someone's really, really heightened emotions, you'd get up there with them on that level.

And then within the space of two or three words, bring it back down and hopefully they might come down with you. Or conversely, if someone's really morose, you start off really quiet, matching their energy levels, then try and bring it up to try and get them out of that moroseness in that period of depression, and hopefully they'll come up with you. It doesn't always work, but it's worth a try. All open questions. Who? Where? Why? When? What?

Encouraging answers that are more than one What. Closed questions are good, if you need to confirm something, are you coming out the house on this door or that door? Why can't you come out the house? And it just encourages a longer answer than one word. (M) minimal encourages. Aram's giving me a visual, minimal encouragement by nodding his head. He's listening. He wants to hear more. Verbal encourages, ‘Hmm Hmm’ ‘Yeah’. ‘Alright’, ‘yeah’, ‘good’, ‘great’. They just let people know, I'm listening, keep talking. (I) ‘I will because’, statements.

So I get worried when Aram tells me he wants to improve his listening skills because it puts pressure on me to try and give him something to work with. Lets the person that you're listening to, know what effect their words are having on me. (S) silence. Silence is a great one.

People do not like silence. Get in a taxi, stay silent and see how long it takes a taxi driver to say something because people are uncomfortable with silence. And sometimes you just need to use that and just let them jot. Sooner or later they will jump in with something.

AD : I was going to say on silence. How often have I been the one that needed to stay silent? And I feel the space, maybe I'm doing it right now, but I feel the space necessarily and it costs me an opportunity to hear something I needed to hear.

Turning Down The Noise: Using Silence To Encourage Open Communication (09:50)

AF : No, a great example, but like I say, next time you are in a taxi, say nothing. And that discomfort you feel will probably be the same discomfort the other person, the driver feels, and who cracks first. That's all. I always try and try and it doesn't take long. Emotional labeling. Again, it's just recognizing the emotions that someone is experiencing and it's just validating them. It's letting them know, I can see you're really upset because up until now, maybe nobody's paid any attention to the fact that that person is upset. Finally, summarizing, it's a little bit like paraphrasing, but it tends to sort of look at a situation as a whole.

So the summary would be right, we're kind of 45 minutes or so into this podcast. We've talked a lot about my early police career and we're into this SIMPLE model. I’m kind of writing where we are, how are we doing? And that's just..

NM : Great.

AF : Thank you. Yeah, people want to jump in and say, well, unfortunately in negotiation they usually tell you you are doing rubbish, but they'll tell you why you're doing rubbish and that gives you something to work with. So it's about encouraging people to keep talking because that's a currency. That is what you are going to use in order to help show people that they're valued because they're being listened to and they are, they exist.

And it's something that as a CBT therapist, it's become even more clear to me. At the end of every session, I always ask the first session, what's worked for you? And 9 times out of 10 they will say the fact that someone has listened to me and they've listened to me without trying to put forward their solution. Another part, when you're listening to someone, they don't necessarily want you to solve their problems, they just want you to hear them.

I get that a lot from clients as well. I tell my friends my problems and I just want 'em to acknowledge what a rubbish situation I'm in. But actually they try to help me and of course they do. They're nice people, they want to help their friends, but the best help they can give is actually just acknowledging where that person is and encourage them to keep talking because chances are they'll come up with their own solution.

Now how do you practice this Aram? It's about, and it is the word, I just practice. It's getting out there. It's also perhaps there are a lot of great YouTube videos or a news clip. Get a news clip. When you see a politician that you don't like and you hear him give his bit to do the reporter, just try a little bit of what do you do in that situation? Would you paraphrase? Would you summarize, bit silence? Try it. And every conversation should be some sort of practice. If you go and get a coffee, try and find something out that's important to the person that's serving you the coffee. Using those active listening skills.

NM : Well as appropriate. The last one is empathize and I have it. So why can empathy often be hard to define as well as put into practice?

Active Listening: Using Emotional Labeling To Connect Deeper (13:09)

AF : Yeah, it can be hard to define because, and it is easier to say what it's not because a lot of people confuse it with sympathy. So I think the perfect example is when you hear that someone close to someone has died, you get that phrase that makes me wince. I'm sorry for your loss. Okay, you are sorry, but how do I feel? I'm the person that's lost someone. And that's what empathizing is about. Empathizing, if you have, you've had that conversation or you've got enough information to say, I heard about your mom passing away there, that would've been really tough for you and your family, I'm guessing.

And then suddenly that person thinks, this person's interested in how I feel, not telling me how sorry they are. They want to know how I feel. And that's what empathizing is. Empathizing, it comes from the Greek word “into emotion.” You are going into the emotions of someone else and that's great, but it's only of limited use if you don't let that person know that you've gone into their emotions. And again, it's that thing about existing as a human, someone has recognized I have got human feelings here and these are my feelings. Someone can see how the emotions and the moods that I'm going through.

In terms of how do you improve your empathy? Again, it takes practice. Things like emotional labeling. Yeah. When you see a clip of someone, particularly if it's somebody you don't agree with on TV and they make a statement, try and empathize what's important to them and it's about that accepting thing. It doesn't have to be important to you. You don't have to agree with them. What have you seen that is important to them? The emotional labeling? Are they showing emotions? Reading is great for this. If you read a bit of fiction, again, what's that character thinking? Why is he thinking that way? What is important to them?

Again, becoming a CBT therapist improved me here because I wasn't very good at recognizing my own emotions, let alone anyone else's. So what I did and what I still do in the morning, I would wake up and after having my breakfast, I would think, what's my emotion today? I want my feeling. And the trick with emotions is generally they're single words. Okay, so an emotion would be happy, sad, angry, frustrated, nervous, anxious. If it stretches to more than one word, are we a wee bit worried about making this journey in the rush hour traffic? That's a thought, worried is an emotion.

So yeah, every morning I sit and think what emotion am I feeling every evening before I go to sleep? What emotion am I feeling? I used to write it down, I don't do that anymore, but I still ask myself that question. And what I found of course is actually I kind of had four emotions, happy, angry, worried, sad. That was it. And the rule is write it down, but don't use the same word twice in any one week. And if you run out of emotions, that's fine. There are huge lists of emotions on the internet. Go and get one, write one down, look at it, pick one that fits you that day and that will improve your emotional vocabulary. And when you improve your own emotional vocabulary, it will improve your ability to recognize emotions in others. And don't be afraid to practice it on your colleagues.

You seem really happy today, that's great to see. Or actually you look a little bit worried today, is everything okay. And when they respond to you, do that thing of paraphrasing or emotional labeling and hopefully along the way that will improve your ability to empathize.

AD : Those are great steps both with what you were sharing around listening. And then just now with empathy in terms of what I really liked in terms of the exercises that I've written down are doing them with folks that I may not agree with because it feels like, of course I listen to someone when I'm agreeing with what they're saying or I can connect through emotions when I agree with what you're saying. How do I still listen well and effectively empathize when I don't? So great exercises.

AF : Sorry Aram, I'll just jump in. It is really interesting to say that about people you don't agree with because if you could actually use this, practice these skills in real life with people who aren't agreeing with you, chances are they will find it much easier to disagree with you if they feel that they've been listened to. And the only way they're going to know that they've been listened to is if you tell them.

AD : So in your bio, we talked about protest groups in Scotland, talking about people may not agree with. How were you able to implement aspects of the SIMPLE model in the process in which you engaged with these groups to reduce their effects on the community? Can you share a little bit about that?

Negotiating Peaceful Protests: The Role Of Communication Skills For Police (18:23)

AF : Certainly, a bit of background. So I was a public order officer and what that means is if there was a situation where there's going to be public disorder, a riot would be the extreme end of it where we'd have to be getting helmets on and protective equipment and shields, that's where we would be getting deployed. And in Scotland around about 2010-2015, we saw a real increase in groups that were protesting about right wing issues; immigration, what have you.

Again, part of our philosophy certainly in the UK is people are allowed to have their right to free speech, but they would turn up, there would generally be another group that were protesting against what they were protesting and the two would come to blows. And you're not talking huge numbers, you're talking maybe in total 30, 40, 50 people. But to try and stop them and keep them apart and have a contingency if they didn't keep apart and because we didn't know how many we're going to turn up at any time, we would deploy 250-300 officers just for that. And if you were a public order officer, you were getting your rest days canceled, left, right, and center.

And when that was happening, I could see protest groups were spoken to in completely different ways. Some incident commanders would be right there in the middle in the thick of it speaking to them, which was great, but you could never get a decision off them. They were in the middle of speaking to someone. Some incident commanders would have nothing to do with them at all. And the communicating with them was negligible. And they would get told one thing, one weekend by one group of officers, another thing, another weekend by another group of officers and it would be very minimal. The only communication with the groups would be on the day.

So we looked, I was a negotiator at that point and I considered could we use our negotiation skills to improve that communication. And there was also a shift in England at what they called protestor liaison officers. So I went down as one of the first officers, the three of us went down and we went on the protestor liaison course as it was called then. But it was really a two day course. It covered public order legislation, public order tactics and terminology. Didn't really say anything about communicating with people.

So we came back and we incorporated that, but we emphasized the communication aspect of it. And it was very important that we communicated with people before, during and after their protests. And people would always say such and such a protest group, they won't have anything to do with you, they won't speak to you, but we would always make the offer. And they would always say yes, come in. I remember one particular group. So there were a group of Irish Republican supporters. They would have frequent marches, they would get targeted by pro-unionist supporters.

Again, we were told the Irish Republican supporters will not speak to you. We phoned them up, we said, can we come and have a cup of tea and just talk about these marches? You don't seem very happy with the police response. And they said yes. And we went along and I made a point of making sure we had some milk and some biscuits and we sat down making it possible to talk.

What was our purpose? Certainly the police purpose was to allow people their right to march on whatever issue they wanted to march on, but do it in a way that kept people safe. And that meant that them as marchers, it meant the counter protesters, it meant the public that were just walking by at the time, they had quite a similar purpose. They just wanted to get the message out and not getting to any bother. And so it was sort of sitting down, listening, empathizing, understanding what was important to them. So for example, the organizer with the marches says, “well, you always say the police are there to look after the crowd, outside the march. But when we march past, all the police officers are turned and looking at us as if we are the people causing the problem.”

So simply I said to the officers, when the march passes, we'll deal with what's happening in the march, we'll keep our eyes on that, turn around and look at the crowd because we're telling the marchers that the crowd are the problem. And they did that and suddenly it's a small thing. But it's that thing that you mentioned Aram about building up trust. It's these. And then next time we spoke to 'em, we said, well, you know what, you had a good point about all these police there to look after everyone outside the march, but they're looking at you. So yeah, we've asked them it's turn around, we did that for you. And it just helps reinforce that trust building process.

So when it came to designing our own course in Scotland, we went from a two day course which had the public order tactics and legislation and we bolted on three days of communication skills, active listening skills so that when people are engaging or when our officers were engaging with protesters before, during and after, we were given them the best chance possible. And it was significant, it took so much heat out of those protests. Whereas before you could quite easily get 250 or so police officers, it very quickly went down to about 50-60 a day because our management had confidence in what was likely to happen as a result of the information that we were getting and feeding back to them so they didn't have to pile on lots of extra police officers in case or what if.

And then eventually it went from 50 down to you might get a van or 2, 8 16 police officers. Anytime there's any kind of major event or protest, police liaison officers, as we call them now, are very much a key part of that. And it's very much embedded in the negotiator unit. So the negotiator unit in Scotland has a small CAD of dedicated full-time officers and at least one of those officers at any one time is dealing with the police liaison coordination role.

And two years ago we had COP26, huge environmental gathering of the parties as they call it, or conference of the parties, huge problems, major riots at previous ones. And yes, there were a lot of protests, there was some minor disruption rather than disorder and a large part of that was due to putting police liaison, liaison officers on the ground and encouraging them to utilize the communication skills that we were teaching them.

NM : That's awesome. And it's good to see the positive effects of everything like that. So I also know that you've referenced your work as a CBT therapist a few times. What can you share with our listeners about this work that might apply in their own lives?

Understanding The CBT Triangle: How Your Thoughts, Emotions, And Behaviors Connect (25:51)

AF : Yeah, so cognitive behavioral therapy, it can be applied in a number of ways. It can be applied online. You can get apps that sort of lead you through various sorts of flow charts. For me, it's a talking therapy and it's very much evidence-based, a lot of evidence to show its effectiveness now for conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, addictions. And the core philosophy of it, if you like, is the cognitive bit, what you think and what you feel relates to the behavioral bit, what you do. So you've got those three things, what you feel, and that might be physical or emotionally what you think and what you do that forms a triad, a triangle.

And the idea is that they are connected, you change one, it will have an impact on the other two. So if there is something that's troubling you, so for example, it might be your thoughts if you're depressed, you may have a negative view of yourself or of other people or of your future. Well it's difficult to change those thoughts on the road. It's not impossible, but it's difficult. But actually because you're depressed, you're generally not doing anything. So if you can change your behavior, even if it's just getting out of bed, walking around the house and going back into bed, that will have ever such a slight impact on your thoughts and on your feelings of depression.

So what you do, like I say, you target the area that's easiest to target and eventually it will affect the other two. So that's CBT in a nutshell in terms of how to apply to yourself. Well first of all, be aware of your emotions. That was something that I really had to work hard at. I went through my police service and people would always say, Andy, you know what, no matter what's happening, he is a sensor of calm, he is placid.

He will not be getting flustered or excited or panicking, whatever happens, he will deal with it. And I took that as a compliment until I started thinking about it from a CBT perspective and I thought actually maybe it meant I was just emotionally dead. That's why I can only name four emotions when I try. And it's about becoming aware of those emotions. So becoming more aware of your emotions, becoming aware of your thoughts and becoming aware of what you are doing and how those three things are linked together.

So quick example, five minutes before tonight's podcast, my heart's racing, I'm getting nervous, I'm thinking, why do I do this? Why don't, I'm going to make a hash of it, why do I put myself through this? And what I have to do is you have to stop. You have to say, right, and name it. Name the emotion to tame it. I'm nervous, right? I can do a bit of breathing, just 10 seconds, a bit of breathing, right? Okay, get it. Okay, what are my thoughts? What's going to happen? Nothing, so far, no one's been emailing me. Seems a nice guy.

I've watched the other podcasts, they all seem good. I do a wee sort of hobbyist podcast on the side and I get nervous. So when I am interviewing people, so maybe Aram and Nolan be getting nervous too, so we're all in it together because I'm breathing, my heart's slowing down and suddenly I'm thinking maybe I can't do this.

So it's just in terms of how people can apply that to themselves at a very simple level, be aware of your emotions. So work on that. Do the emotion thing in the morning, in the evening, be aware of your thoughts, feel and know your feelings and your physical body and what you're doing and just think, “right, of these, I can't tackle some of them. What can I tackle?” And go with that. And you'll probably find the other things that are troubling you will follow.

AD : Andy, earlier in the program you talked about how crisis negotiation work you did was about helping somebody right there and now get into an immediate solution versus this CBT therapist work you do, which has really been a longstanding sustainable change with people. It's probably an unfair question to ask, but which one's more difficult?

From Crisis Intervention To Lasting Recovery: A Shift In Focus (30:40)

AF : Ooh, that's a great question. They're such different things, aren't they? Yeah, and it's a bit like children. I love them both the same. But you know what? I loved the adrenaline and the excitement of the negotiating crisis thing. You were getting involved in some serious incidents and you were able to get and you're front and center and you were able to get a successful resolution.

So there's a real buzz from that. There's an instant buzz from that. I suppose that the difficulty is you would walk away from that poor individual that might have been threatening to throw themselves off a bridge and you would never see them again. You had no idea really long term effects of what had happened or how they were going to get on. Conversely, working with clients where you are actually able to see a period of 10 weeks, this person has gone from a position of not getting out of bed to actually getting a job and functioning at it and actually beginning to light themselves and light life. And that's a real great buzz. You can see that actually, that is long lasting change. But I do believe if you'd ask the, I just can't. I'm not going to give you an answer for one way or the other.

I mean, I suppose as I've matured since I became a negotiator, my desire for that adrenaline rush is perhaps I've done it now. I've done the blue lights and the sirens and the dramatic scenes. So I suppose being able now to sort of work in a more relaxed manner and achieve long lasting change, that's where my focus is and what I'm really enjoying at the moment.

AD : Yeah, I can see that. Well, I turn it over to Nolan to conclude. This has been a fascinating interview. To put you at ease, both just framework stories, application, things to go practice, it's had at all. I know we haven't even fully explored everything we could. I want to give you one last opportunity just to say what didn't we ask you, maybe we should have, or just something you'd like to leave with listeners as a final thought. Andy, to give you one final moment here.

The Power Of Emotional Intelligence In Negotiation (33:11)

AF : No, I do appreciate that. I suppose I'm not going to say anything I haven't said already. I've experienced a big change in my life by becoming more emotionally aware of myself. But it took effort. It took me, I had to write down the thing in the morning. I had to write down the emotion in the evening. I had to go and get a list of emotions because I didn't have many. And you know what? That has been a real change in my life for the better.

So I would just encourage people, and I'm going to fire something back at you very quickly, Aram and Nolan, because I don't have a great business negotiating background at all. I wouldn't pretend to let your others know about that. But what I see a lot of is when people are putting up posts about business negotiating, is don't take emotions into the negotiating room. And I actually think that's wrong myself.

From a position of complete ignorance, and I'll tell you why. Because you know what, people are, humans are emotions, they're emotional beings. Those emotions are coming into that negotiating room whether you want them there or not. So you know what? Be aware of them, name them to tame them. And actually, if I'm a business person doing a negotiation, I don't want to negotiate with Mr. Spock. I want someone that cares about the thing that we're talking about and I can see they care about it.

AD : That's right.

AF : So I would say, yeah, be more emotionally aware. I dunno what your thoughts are about, just very quickly, it's not.

AD : Yeah, I agree with you, Andy. Nolan and I would say that emotions are present, the conversations we're having. Do you demonstrate that you understand how I operate my business or operate this aspect or how my business runs and makes money? Can you show that understanding? When you don't, are you saying that, I mean by your words, are you saying I'm a bad manager? Are you saying I'm incompetent? Are you saying that I'm trying to be unfair in my pricing?

So, I think it's really easy to focus on the substantive components of a business negotiation and forget these relational aspects. And they're there. They are absolutely 100% present. And so I think everything you have said applies to those contexts. It certainly applies to the military negotiations that Nolan and I were involved in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere as well. So tremendous overlap.

AF : So yeah, feel the emotion. That would be the note I would end on.

AD : Yeah. Well Andy, I just want to say thanks. This has been marvelous. Really appreciate you spending the time with us. I know it's evening there, so thank you for that and just wish you the best.

AF : Thanks very much. I really appreciate that.

NM : Well, that is it for us on today's podcast. If you haven't already, please rate review and subscribe to NEGOTIATEx podcast and we'll see you in the next one.

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