Not all negotiators areequal with their abilities and skills. There are several mistakes that hostage negotiators can make during acrisis or hostage negotiation.
One ofthe biggest mistakes hostage and crisis negotiators make is rushing thenegation process and moving entirely too fast (Sebenius, 2001). Time is said to be a negotiators greatestally during crisis or hostage negotiation. Time is also one of the most crucial tools for negotiators duringnegotiations of crisis and hostage situations (Fuselier, 1981). In crisis situation, theindividual in crisis is not able to communicate and explain their story whenthe negotiation is being rushed.
When acrisis or hostage negotiation process is slowed down, it allows the individualin crisis to calm down (Sebenius, 2001). This is important because crisis and hostage negotiations arestressful. The individual in crisis isemotional, angry, stressed, and mentally unstable. If the negotiation process is done at aslower pace, the individual in crisis can speak and express what they arethinking and feeling, and this information assist the crisis negotiator inhaving a negotiation that is more cognitively based, instead of a negotiationthat is being controlled by emotions (McMains & Mullins, 2014). One of the most efficientways of slowing down the negotiation process is by using the most importantskill a hostage negotiator has, which is active listening. When a negotiator is actively listening, itallows the individual in crisis to speak openly and tell the negotiator whatcaused the crisis situation.
When thenegotiator is listening actively, the individual in crisis has his emotions andnarrative validated and acknowledged. Once the individual in crisis sees that what he or she is saying isbeing acknowledged, a new line of communication can be constructed (Bazerman,Curhan, Moore & Valley, 2000). Trustand a rapport with the individual in crisis is also built when the negotiationprocess is slowed down.
This is essentialbecause trust and rapport with the individual in crisis will create amuch-needed atmosphere, which allows the individual in crisis to work well withthe negotiator in discussing options that will allow the crisis situation toresolved in a peaceful manner. Anotherreason slowing down the negotiation process is important is because, it allowsthe negotiation team to review all vital information that will allow them tofigure out the reasons the individual in crisis is in his current position(Sebenius, 2001). When a negotiator movesto quickly during negotiations it prevents trust and rapport from being builtbetween the individual in crisis and the negotiator. It also prevents the ability to maintainescalating emotions and it decreases the possibility of a peaceful end to thecrisis situation (Bazerman, Curhan, Moore & Valley, 2000). The results of moving too fast in crisisnegotiations can have consequences that are dire.
It can cause injuries that can be serious andsometimes even fatal (Fuselier, 1981). It may seem that expediting negotiations would be the best idea, butresearch has shown that the opposite is true. Maintaining a slow process during a negotiation, builds trust, calms theemotions of the individual in crisis and allow a rapport to be built.
These contribute to a greater likelihood thata negotiation can and will be resolved in a peaceful manner without anyonebeing injured or killed (McMains & Mullins, 2014). The second biggestmistake a hostage negotiator can make is not using their active listeningskills, which reiterates some of above mentioned things that are necessary tohave a successful negotiation. Activelistening skills are easily one of the most important skills a hostagenegotiator must have. Active listeningis considered an approach to listening that allows a negotiator to listen in away which allows him to improve their understanding, gain pertinent informationand understand the point of view of the individual in crisis (Rogan, Hammer& Van Zandt, 1997). Active listeningencourages the individual in crisis to keep talking and shows him that thenegotiator is paying attention to everything that is being said. Active listening also shows that thenegotiator is attentive and has interest in what the individual in crisis hasto say. These things allow thenegotiator and individual in crisis to build trust and a rapport (Bazerman,Curhan, Moore & Valley, 2000).
If anegotiator does not use active listening skills, this can make the individualin crisis feel that no one cares about what he is saying and if he has hostagesor is suicidal, if his emotions further intensify, he can then kill thehostages or himself. This needs to beavoided at all costs. The third biggest mistakea hostage negotiator can make when dealing with an individual in crisis is notutilizing the help of a mental health professional.
A mental health professional can provideassistance that is extremely valuable during a hostage negotiation. A mental health professional can monitor thenegotiation and assess if the individual in crisis is at risk for committingsuicide (Bazerman, Curhan, Moore & Valley, 2000). A mental health professional can also assistwith gathering intelligence about the individual in crisis and interviewrelatives and witnesses. Thisinformation can give the mental health professional insight as to what mentalillnesses the individual in crisis may have, and knowing this information canhelp the negotiator to negotiate in the most efficient way. A mental health professional will always beable to detect if the individual in crisis, has shifts in their mood or stresslevels (Rogan, Hammer & Van Zandt, 1997). The emphasis of thisimportant activity is on facilitating communication between the negotiator andthe subject.
The consultant also monitors the nature of the relationshipbetween the negotiator and the subject (Rogan, Hammer & Van Zandt, 1997).The affective reaction of the individual toward the negotiator is extremelyimportant and can often be utilized to direct the negotiations toward asuccessful outcome. If stress is not managedefficiently then the crisis situation can become destabilized. Stress can also cause the individual incrisis to do unpredictable things that will complicate a negotiation, and thisneeds to be avoided (McMains & Mullins, 2014). ReferencesBazerman, M. H.
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