Crisis Negotiation: 4 Mistakes to Avoid

By Brandon Voss | June 01, 2020

In an ideal world, negotiation would be easy, tensions wouldn’t exist, and we’d all get along at the table just fine.

But reality paints a different picture, and crisis negotiations rear their ugly head sooner or later. Think about how many people have had to sit down at the table to figure out how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past several weeks.

Though crisis negotiations are inevitable, you can avoid making critical mistakes if you have the right approach. 

With that in mind, here are four common crisis negotiation mistakes—and what you can do to find the better way forward.

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How to Win Negotiations Over Zoom

By Chris Voss | May 18, 2020

As more people are working from home, virtual conferences, meetings, and even negotiations have become a necessity. However, Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms can feel unnatural or even uncomfortable. You’re faced with something that is neither a phone call nor an in-person meeting. 

Here are the three keys to winning a negotiation in a Zoom environment:

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COVID-19 Pandemic: How to Deal with Everything Being Renegotiated

By Chris Voss | April 13, 2020

If you haven’t been in renegotiation yet, you will be before the COVID-19 pandemic is over. The Black Swan Method™ was born out of crisis negotiations. Here are four steps (with specific dialogue) for how to deal with everything that’s being renegotiated in the midst of this economic crisis.

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How To Negotiate To Fix Your Deals During The Coronavirus Fall-out

By Chris Voss | March 23, 2020

I will be blunt: This is a total sh*t show.  Here’s how to negotiate with your vendors, clients, counterparts, and colleagues so we all survive and put ourselves in a position to pick up the pieces after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are 3 steps to fixing your deals during this time: 

  1. Deactivate the fears
  2. Dynamic silence
  3. Shape new thinking with a “How?”
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How to Demonstrate Leadership During a Crisis

By Derek Gaunt | February 03, 2020

The way someone acts during a crisis is a telltale sign of whether they’re a good leader or a mediocre one.

In the world I came from—the world of hostage negotiations—frequently there was a crisis. I had people under my charge who were tasked with executing my game plan and in order to get the outcomes we were aiming for, I knew I needed to maintain my composure.

Here are five tenets that helped me do exactly that. 

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Negotiating When They Are Not Talking

By Derek Gaunt | August 08, 2016

Sam Felder (not his real name) had barricaded himself in his home.  Suffering from hellacious migraines and post-traumatic stress, he told his wife he could not take it anymore.  Sam loaded his handgun and told her to leave.  She complied, ran to a neighbor’s house, and called the police.  Police attempted to negotiate with Sam for close to 10 hours.  It was the end of June and sweltering out.  The agency managing the incident elected to cut power to Sam’s home.  It was done, I was told, because Sam had been using power tools to barricade himself into the basement of the home with planks and 2x4s.  Not sure if it was a move I would have made based on the circumstances but it was done.  The managing agency reached out to my team for mutual aid support.  

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Establish Your Kill Line

By Derek Gaunt | March 21, 2016

A woman calls 911, hysterical.  She tells the call taker that her boyfriend, a military vet, is despondent and threatening to commit suicide by way of a handgun in his home.  

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He Issued A Demand or Deadline, Now What?

By Derek Gaunt | February 22, 2016

“We want four million dollars, forty 1,000-year-old ginseng roots, a 50-troop military helicopter, to take us to Thailand…and four bullet-proof vests.” These demands (and they are actual demands made during an incident) could stymie most hostage-barricade managers. To the lesser-trained they seem non-negotiable. Demands and deadlines tend to crank up the stress level for decision-makers.  Generally speaking, they shouldn’t and here’s why.

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Negotiation Training: Look What You Made Me Do

By Derek Gaunt | January 25, 2016

Jerry was a fifty-seven year-old male who doused himself with gasoline and was in possession of a handgun, threatening to commit suicide.  This was his response to an eviction notice.  It was clear he had issues. After 12 hours of negotiations and 40 rounds of gas (yes, he was still talking), it was also clear that Jerry was a SWOMie (Suicide With Other Motivations).  

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Just Talk To Him

By Derek Gaunt | January 04, 2016

MOREPIES.  It’s the acronym developed by the Crisis Negotiations Unit of the FBI in order to help negotiators remember the eight skills in the Active Listening Skill (ALS) set.  

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