Retired FBI hostage negotiator Gary Noesner and Mike Webster describe active listening as being a “powerful tool” for hostage negotiators “to stimulate positive change in others.”Active listening is arguably one of the most important set of skills a person must successfully employ while interacting with someone when there is something you are trying to achieve. This can include negotiating a contract, salary, sale or purchase of a house, or it can involve trying to resolve a dispute amongst friends or co-workers.
Research has consistently demonstrated active listening as being critical for communication and conflict resolution experts to successfully and peacefully resolve conflicts and disputes.
Below are the seven techniques of active listening that are taught by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crisis Negotiation Unit (FBI CNU) to their special agents and other law enforcement officials from around the world.
Emotion Labeling: It is important for the emotions of the person speaking to be acknowledged. Identifying the person’s emotions validates what they are feeling instead of minimizing it. During a negotiation, people can act with their emotions and not from a more cognitiveperspective. By labeling and acknowledging their emotions, it helps restore the balance.
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