Milton “Troy” Smith

Milton “Troy” Smith
Milton “Troy” Smith is a Negotiation Instructor and Coach at The Black Swan Group who joined the team in July 2020. Troy is a retired San Antonio Police Department officer who spent 23 years with the department, including 22 years in specialized units—such as the SWAT/Crisis Negotiators team and the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force. During his career, Troy was involved in more than 300 hostage negotiations, including 270 as a lead negotiator, and never lost one of them.

Recent Posts

Navigating Language Barriers in International Negotiations

By Milton “Troy” Smith | July 25, 2022

As we continue coaching clients all around the world, there’s a tendency we see over and over again in which folks think that certain negotiation tactics only work in the United States. 

We remind these people that hostage negotiators are all trained the same way, whether they work in Tokyo, Jakarta, Berlin, Johannesburg, or Santiago. The underlying Black Swan skills are universal because human nature is the same regardless of where you go.

That said, international negotiations are not without their challenges. Chief among them is the fact that language barriers exist. Certain words don’t have the same meaning when translated into different languages. 

Keep reading to learn more about the challenges inherent in international negotiations and what you can do to get your desired outcomes.

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Negotiation Training: When to Walk Away

By Milton “Troy” Smith | July 04, 2022

The Black Swan Group has a saying: It’s not a sin to not get a deal, but it is a sin to not get a deal and waste a lot of time in the process.

Sometimes, negotiators overcommit to try to get the deal no matter the circumstances. Unfortunately, there isn’t always a deal to be made. Sometimes you’re the favorite, but other times you’re the fool, and the other side is just talking to you to get information they can use to get a better deal from somebody else.

How do you know whether you’re the favorite or the fool? Simple: Ask Proof of Life™ questions.

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Why Is Listening the Key to Active Communication?

By Milton “Troy” Smith | June 27, 2022

Every person on this planet—regardless of where they hail from or their culture, ethnicity, or gender—wants someone else to understand their perspective, environment, and circumstances. 

This is precisely why listening is the key to active communication.

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Overcome Your Weakness as a Negotiator: Accommodator Personality

By Milton “Troy” Smith | June 13, 2022

No matter how sharp your skills are, you’re bound to have some weaknesses as a negotiator. By identifying those weaknesses and getting in enough low-stakes reps as practice, you can strengthen your skills and achieve better negotiation outcomes.

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Black Swan Negotiation Skills Training: Mislabels

By Milton “Troy” Smith | April 25, 2022

The Black Swan Group often recommends using Labels™ to describe emotions that are displayed, verbalized, or implied but not directly articulated. In this negotiation skills training post, we will explore Mislabels—the Label’s counterpart.

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Negotiation Tips Post-Mortem: How to Identify Your Missteps

By Milton “Troy” Smith | March 07, 2022

Here’s a negotiation tip: The world’s most effective negotiators understand that they can always sharpen their skills and improve, regardless of the outcome of their last engagement.

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How Social and Emotional Intelligence Leads to Strong Negotiation Skills

By Milton “Troy” Smith | December 13, 2021

The best negotiators are all focused on the same thing: using Tactical Empathy™ to understand what is making their counterpart tick and influencing their decision-making.

To get there, it’s critical to sharpen your social and emotional intelligence skills.

After all, you always want to be in a position where you can tell your counterpart that you understand exactly what they’re thinking. Ideally, you should be able to vocalize their thoughts from their perspective so perfectly that they have no choice but to respond with the two magic words: that’s right.

Once you’ve reached that point, the deal closes itself. 

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4 Ways Active Communication Can Lead to More Deals

By Milton “Troy” Smith | December 06, 2021

Many humans have a hard time communicating clearly with other people. More often than not, we beat around the bush and talk in roundabout ways instead of being upfront, open, and honest. In many cases, understanding what someone is saying can feel like pulling teeth.

The good news is that by making it a habit to use active communication, you can increase the likelihood you are easily understood, leading to more deals. Here’s how to do that: 

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Sales Negotiation Strategies for Nonconfrontational Individuals

By Milton “Troy” Smith | July 19, 2021

Every now and again, the best negotiators find themselves sitting across the table from someone who is nonconfrontational.

Because we are all so accustomed to dealing with counterparts who love to battle, it’s always worth revisiting the most effective ways to deal with nonconfrontational people.

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How to Approach Difficult Conversations with Co-workers

By Milton “Troy” Smith | May 17, 2021

Though I’ve retired from active duty, I’m still a reserve deputy in my local county. Recently, a new assistant chief came into the department and wanted to show the rest of the crew that he had power. So he met with the reserves and talked about 10 different projects he wanted to get off the ground.

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