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

Are You The Favorite or The Fool?

Two weeks ago I coached a client before an upcoming negotiation. His company had been engaged in a relationship with a prospect for over a year that was based on assumptions that were never tested. My client is a real estate developer. The prospect was a potential tenant. The potential tenant provided a Letter of Interest as well as personally expressing their interest in leasing from my client....

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Bridging the Gap: Why Hostage Negotiation Is Successful In Business

Last week, I was presenting basic negotiations concepts to a group of CEOs and senior managers. About 45 minutes into our talk, one of the participants asked if I was going to draw a correlation or otherwise explain how hostage negotiations techniques apply to the business world. 

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2 Techniques To Fend Off An Attack

Have you ever been in a difficult conversation where the other person appears intent on pulling you into an argument or trading personal attacks? We all have. When under attack during a difficult conversation our default response is to attack back. This is especially true when the attack appears out of nowhere, is irrational or personal. It evokes emotion.

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Like Seeing A Unicorn

Sebastian had spent most of the late morning into the early afternoon, one day in July, being exposed to the Black Swan method of labels and mirrors. Having already read “Never Split the Difference,” he was anxious to see and hear the practical application of the skills. Turns out, Sebastian was a quick study. As soon as the class concluded, he was chomping at the bit to see if the skills would...

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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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