Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hostage & Crisis Negotiators: Nonverbal Communication Basics

The appearance of the
negotiator matters.

Learn the skills used by these expert negotiators and how it can help you.
Nonverbal communication plays an important role during hostage and crisis situations involving law enforcement personnel.  Nonverbal communication is not limited to solely “body language” but rather includes a variety of other elements.  To raise awareness of the numerous nonverbal communication elements that are possibly present during an interaction, I created the METTA acronym (movement,environment, touch, tone, and appearance) during my doctoral research on nonverbal communication and mediators.

Below, I have applied the METTA acronym to the hostage and crisis negotiation setting offering an introductory look at how nonverbal communication can impact the negotiations while also offering insight to the skills used by these professionals. 

Movement.  Congruent body movement that is matching the words being spoken helps display genuine empathy while also contributes to developing rapport and building trust.  Even when communication signals are limited such as just talking via phone, it still plays an important role.  Think about the next time you are on the phone and notice how often you nod your head, use hand gestures, and use paralanguage such as “mmm” to express agreement or understanding. 

Read the full article from Beyond Words at PsychologyToday.com [here]. 

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