Derek Gaunt

Derek Gaunt
Derek Gaunt is a seasoned negotiator and leader. With 23 years of experience, Derek has commanded and trained police department hostage negotiation teams. Derek handles for law enforcement, military and security training.
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Recent Posts

Do You Get It?

At the Black Swan Group, our instructors have been spreading the gospel of empathy and the techniques used to demonstrate it for years. We have trained thousands of people all over the globe on how to apply techniques developed in the world of hostage negotiations to business and other personal interactions. Of those thousands, as an instructor, I wonder at times how many don’t get it? 

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Hang a Label On It

A “like” is an expression of value appreciation or desire that the Black Swan Group refers to as a positive. A “dislike” is a lack of appreciation, aversion or reluctance, to or for something. It is what we refer to as a negative. The positive or negative emotion that the counterpart attaches to a term or a dynamic is a clue as to the valuation they have put on it. The recognition, articulation,...

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Why It's Important To Embrace "No"

“I’m telling you now man, if y’all do anything foolish, these people are gonna get hurt,” Mike said after taking 12 people hostage during a botched robbery. Our being there meant that we wanted him to surrender peacefully. In other words, we wanted Mike to say, “Yes.” His utterance was an emphatic “No.”

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How to Use a Cold Read and Accusation Audit to Achieve Success

In September 2016, I attended a meeting where I was the lone hostage negotiator in a room full of SWAT guys. The meeting is held quarterly for SWAT guys by SWAT guys. I was an interloper in hostile territory. The purpose for my attendance was to request a piece of their pie. The SWAT group had a training operations cache of about $78,000.00. Since they had spent none of the money on several...

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4 Types of Difficult People and How To Win Them Over

How you handle difficult conversations or manipulative tactics can be a deal maker or deal breaker.  You will face demanding, unclear, frustrating, and manipulative personalities at some point during your negotiations endeavors. You most likely have already.  These 4 specific tactics are used to intimidate you and derail the discussion. A good negotiator is prepared to navigate these personality...

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Bargaining vs Negotiation: Do you really know the difference?

Two weeks ago, I attended the SaaStr 2017 conference in San Francisco.  It was a collection of Software- As-A-Service start-up CEOs, CFOs, COOs as well as marketing and sales geniuses.  They meet once a year to network, listen to speakers and view/sell the latest products.  These attendees, by my limited observations were all 30 to early 40-somethings; all wicked smart and extremely successful....

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What Are We Seeing? - PART III

Differences in the personality types of hostage-takers (HTs) you may encounter should also be considered when planning the appropriate intervention technique.  Different people have different sensitivities, needs, and goals.  Your ability to influence the HT’s behavior and ultimately the incident’s outcome is significantly dependent upon the ability to address the personality type.

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What Are We Seeing? - Part 2

Which elements need to be assessed as the event unfolds? It starts with determining which type of event we are asked to manage. The degree to which the person on the other side has prepared for the event speaks volumes about his intent and determination and gives a pretty good indication of the challenges we will face as we move toward resolution.

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What Are We Seeing?

Negotiators are the people on whom the on-scene commander relies to provide an analysis of the behavioral and contextual factors at play during an incident in order to help the development of a strategy for resolution.  Get it right and we will get little recognition.  Get it wrong and the blame will be at our feet.

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Are You Underperforming As A Listener?

Most people who think they are good listeners underperform. There is some research that suggests they do so by as much as 60%.  This overconfidence impedes their success as it prevents them from truly understanding the motivation of the other side.

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