Derek Gaunt

Derek Gaunt
Derek Gaunt is lecturer, author of Ego, Authority, Failure, and trainer with 29 years of law enforcement experience, 20 of which as a team member, leader and then commander of hostage negotiations teams in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. As a member of the Black Swan Group, he is a negotiation trainer and personal coach. His training has helped leaders and their organizations increase their performance by changing the way they think about communicating one person to another.
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Recent Posts

How Cultural Barriers Can Impact Negotiations

By Derek Gaunt | August 08, 2022

The most obvious cultural barrier that impacts negotiation is the language barrier. But beyond that, there are nearly 200 countries on the planet, and each has its own unique culture. 

If you were to spend your time trying to learn every detail about each culture, you would be inundated with notebooks full of material. This would keep you from focusing on the true cultural barrier: one-on-one communication.

It’s not by accident that hostage negotiators in Tokyo, Tel Aviv, London, Johannesburg, Montreal, and Colombia are all trained in the same skill set. 

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How to Say “No” in a Negotiation

By Derek Gaunt | July 11, 2022

Saying no is the most assertive thing you can do in a negotiation, meaning you should only do it when absolutely necessary.

We encourage clients to embrace the concept of the “Phases of No,” in which we let no out a little bit at a time. This method enables us to let the counterpart hear and feel no without actually saying the word.

Now and again, however, you do need to say the word no. But you should only do that when you have dumped a heavy load of Tactical Empathy™ on the front end. That’s because Tactical Empathy encourages reciprocity. We go heavy on the front end because we want our counterpart to reciprocate when we ultimately make our ask.

When used correctly, the Phases of No does two things:

  1. It allows us to use that reciprocated Tactical Empathy.
  2. It encourages our counterparts to begin bargaining with themselves.

In other words, the Phases of No engages both sides of your counterpart’s brain, allowing them to get a better feel for you.

Keep reading to learn more about the Phases of No and how to say no most effectively:

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Black Swan Negotiation Skills Training: Quick 2+1™

By Derek Gaunt | June 20, 2022

We start every Black Swan live training session with the same exercise: the Quick 2+1™. It’s our foundational skill set. 

At the end of the day, people know how to ask questions, provide summaries, and paraphrase their counterpart’s position. But they struggle with Labels™, Mirrors™, and Dynamic Silence™—the three tools that make up the Quick 2+1.   

These tools are incredibly effective. They’re the fastest way to demonstrate that you’re dialed in and present in the conversation. 

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4 Leadership Behaviors to Avoid

By Derek Gaunt | May 02, 2022

The Black Swan Group often talks about what you can do to become a more effective leader. But if your goal is reaching your full potential as a leader, learning leadership behaviors to avoid is equally important.

Keep reading to learn more about four leadership behaviors to avoid—and what you can do instead to unlock that full potential.

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5 Exercises to Become an Expert Real Estate Negotiator

By Derek Gaunt | March 28, 2022

No matter how good of a real estate negotiator you are, you can always improve.

Here are five exercises expert real estate agents practice regularly to sharpen their skills and achieve better outcomes.

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Negotiation Training: What Are Black Swans and How Can You Identify Them?

By Derek Gaunt | February 14, 2022

Black Swans are small bits of information the other side holds that— if uncovered—would dramatically change the course of the dialogue and, ultimately, the result of the negotiation.

The best way to discover a Black Swan is by staying curious in each conversation. Every time you sit down at the table, repeat a mantra to yourself: I have something to learn here.

This mindset forces you to listen to what’s not being said rather than the actual words. By staying curious, you reduce the chances of getting triggered during a conversation if the other side threatens, attacks, or makes outrageous demands.

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Negotiation Tips: How to Negotiate with Coworkers, Colleagues, and Equals

By Derek Gaunt | January 17, 2022

The Black Swan Group often provides tips for negotiating with your direct reports and counterparts from other organizations.

However, in this post, we will share negotiation tips you can use in situations where no hierarchies exist. 

Here are some negotiation tips to keep in mind next time you navigate a difficult issue with coworkers, colleagues, and equals:

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Negotiation Tactics and Leadership: Why the Two Work Together

By Derek Gaunt | November 15, 2021

Leaders are charged with promoting their organization’s mission and getting people to produce. To influence your direct reports to do what you want without a begrudging attitude, it’s essential to employ hostage negotiation tactics and principles every day.

In the world of hostage negotiation, your goal is to influence hostage-takers to surrender. But you don’t just start the conversation by telling them to give it up. Instead, you approach the surrender in a subordinate manner, ensuring you are not viewed as a threat.  Making a concentrated effort so that the hostage-taker knows you see things from their perspective. Only at that point can you begin to accomplish your objective.

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How to Demonstrate Leadership in a New Role

By Derek Gaunt | September 27, 2021

When they start new roles, some leaders feel tempted to institute changes right away to make an immediate impact.

Unless it’s an emergency, there is no need for it.

This mindset is born from insecurity. All too often, new leaders enter the mix and are worried about how people view them, causing them to try and make their mark on a new role. They are trying to impress, saying to both superiors and subordinates: Look at me.

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5 Ways to Avoid Leadership Failure

By Derek Gaunt | September 20, 2021

Whereas the best leaders can help their teams unlock their full potential, those who fail at leadership doom their teams to suboptimal results, toxic cultures, and overall unpleasantness.

Keep these tips in mind to avoid leadership failure and create an environment that optimizes your team’s productivity.

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