Interview: Simon Wells, Terrorist Negotiator, HM Government
Here's a snippet from a Q & A with Simon Wells. Read the full article [HERE]. Simon Wells has spent the past 13 years as a crisis negotiator in the UK and overseas, including on behalf of the UK government with terrorist groups. He has 30 years' experience with the Metropolitan Police including 20 years specialising in using behavioural science to benefit law enforcement, the military and special forces units across the world.
4) One of your books focus on negotiating with antagonistic people - which often comes up in the workplace. What do most people do wrong?
This may sound like I am repeating myself but people fail to listen, observe and actively engage. Furthermore, we spend too little time considering the other person’s position. Even those we label as terrorists (which is a verb not a noun) have a message and by failing to listen (whilst not necessarily agreeing with what they are saying) we create antagonism.
The other issue is the time we spend planning and preparing for encounters, considering how we approach meetings, and separating facts from rumour, or innuendo. Just by spending more time doing this we can create a more positive first impression and opening dialogue which should lead to less antagonism.
5) What are a few easy ways people can improve their listening skills?
Sounds simple, but practise. Most people think they are good listeners, I would say that at times we can be, but it is more a non-conscious reaction, by practicing on actually listening to people’s words we can better understand them. A simple exercise is just to ask someone ‘how is your day going?’ then actually do nothing and listen as opposed to ask questions. Just nod and use minimal encouragers (‘uh ha’, ‘go on’, ‘and then’).