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

3 Negotiation Exercises to Sharpen Your Skills

By Milton “Troy” Smith | September 26, 2022

The skills we teach at The Black Swan Group can help you transform your approach to negotiation. But, just like anything else, the skills are perishable. If you want to unlock their full potential, you need to practice regularly.

Ultimately, the only way to become a more effective negotiator is by using the skills. In fact, everyone on the Black Swan team uses negotiation skills every day because it helps us stay sharp and continuously improve. The more you practice, the more confident you become—which is particularly helpful when the stakes are highest.

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Why Explaining Too Early Is Hurting Your Closing Rate

By Milton “Troy” Smith | September 05, 2022

As Ronald Reagan once said: If you’re explaining, you’re losing. So if you’re constantly explaining at the negotiation table, your closing rate will take a turn for the worse.

Far too many of us approach the table with one thought: When do we get to tell our side of the story and make our pitch?

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3 Communication Skills to Close Deals Faster

By Milton “Troy” Smith | August 29, 2022

The Black Swan Group has a saying: It’s not a sin to not get the deal, but it is a sin to take a long time to not get the deal.

Next time you find yourself at the table, use these communication skills to close deals faster and enjoy better business outcomes.

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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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