Crisis Negotiations

In examining crisis negotiation, analysts discovered that even the most experienced executives have difficulty resolving a situation that feels like a hostage negotiation. These lessons, taken from crisis negotiation situations and hostage negotiators’ techniques, can help in a variety of crisis negotiation conditions.

For example, hostage negotiators follow certain rules that can be applied to your own crisis negotiation. First, contain the situation by laying down ground rules and limiting the number of opposing parties in the negotiation.

Next, skilled crisis negotiators try to uncover underlying emotional demands, and finally take great pains to build relationships with the opponent. These strategies and more are all a part of successful crisis negotiations.

Even if you don’t aspire to become an actual hostage negotiator, any kind of business negotiation or dealmaking that comes under pressure can be enhanced by taking lessons from hostage negotiation experts. Not unlike integrative negotiators who seek to create value between negotiating counterparts and distributive negotiators who seek to maximize one’s claim to value in the negotiation at hand, hostage negotiators need to be able to “apply a specific set of skills in a strategic manner that is based on the current context.”

The goal of hostage negotiations is to “work with the person in crisis towards a peaceful solution that previously seemed impossible,” or, in other words, to reconcile your counterpart’s problems with the need to maintain the peace for society at large.

Articles included here address many of the tactics hostage negotiators employ, such as opening up avenues for communication, exercising as much patience as possible, employ active listening techniques, show your opponent respect, stay calm, remain self-aware and be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances, even while maintaining the relationships you’ve already built.

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Harvard Law Professor Guhan Subramanian Moderates Panel on Difficult Negotiation Scenarios

PON Staff   •  11/13/2019   •  Filed in Crisis Negotiations

In Harvard Law Today, Brett Milano published an article titled, Catastrophic harms, complicated questions reviewed a recent panel, “Innovative Models for Resolving Disputes after Mass Disasters and Catastrophic Harms,” held at Harvard Law School on Oct. 22. As mentioned in the article, it “brought together three experts who have helped resolve disputes after recent historic … Read More 

Police Negotiation Techniques from the NYPD Crisis Negotiations Team

PON Staff   •  11/11/2019   •  Filed in Crisis Negotiations

Negotiation Techniques

Few negotiators can imagine negotiation scenarios more stressful than the kinds of crisis negotiations the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiation Team undertake. But police negotiation techniques employed by the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiations Team (HNT) in high-stakes, high-pressure crisis negotiation situations, outlined in an article from Jeff Thompson and Hugh … Read More 

Hostage Negotiation Techniques for Business Negotiators

Katie Shonk   •  07/15/2019   •  Filed in Crisis Negotiations

hostage negotiation techniques

What do FBI hostage negotiation techniques and business dealmaking have in common? Not a lot, we might assume. In workplace talks, lives are rarely at stake, and tensions seldom escalate into violence. Yet dig a bit deeper, and similarities emerge: just as in a crisis negotiation, business talks can be highly charged, unpredictable, and emotional.

In … Read More 

What is Crisis Management in Negotiation?

Katie Shonk   •  06/18/2019   •  Filed in Crisis Negotiations

crisis management

Organizations often establish elaborate business crisis management plans. Through a rapid, centralized response, an organization can shift swiftly and efficiently from day-to-day operations into crisis-management mode, whether that crisis involves a building evacuation, a tumble in the company’s stock price, or a product recall. … Read More 

Famous Negotiations Cases – NBA and the Power of Deadlines at the Bargaining Table

PON Staff   •  05/16/2019   •  Filed in Crisis Negotiations

famous negotiations

It’s a classic famous negotiations case. In the summer of 1988, National Basketball Association (NBA) team owners and players were at loggerheads over their new contract. At midnight on June 30, the owners declared a lockout, halting preparations for the start of the 1998–99 NBA season. The players and owners negotiated for six long months, … Read More 

Crisis Negotiations: After the West Coast Ports Conflict, Damage Remained

Katie Shonk   •  05/14/2018   •  Filed in Crisis Negotiations

crisis negotiations

No one wants to engage in crisis negotiations. When parties need to hurriedly work out a solution to a shared problem, time is short, tempers are frayed, and the disaster is looming. Feeling they’ve exhausted good-faith bargaining, parties in crisis negotiations may believe they face an impossible choice between caving in to the other side’s … Read More 

Negotiation in the News: Order in the Senate, with the help of a simple tool

PON Staff   •  03/31/2018   •  Filed in Crisis Negotiations

With the government on the brink of a shutdown on January 19 due to the Senate’s inability to agree on a spending bill, about 17 centrist Democratic and Republican senators crowded into the Capitol Hill office of Republican senator Susan Collins of Maine. But their common goal—negotiating a deal to end the shutdown—was reportedly thwarted by … Read More 

Negotiating group agreements that last

PON Staff   •  01/31/2018   •  Filed in Crisis Negotiations

NB-feb-2018-featured

When engaged in a complex negotiation or dispute, how should a group come to agreement? Members might separate into factions and fight to have their voices heard. They might take a vote and let the majority rule. Or they can try to negotiate their way to consensus.

There are almost as many ways of making group … Read More 

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