Hostage negotiator inspires entrepreneurs with art of listening

The importance of effective communication was laid bare for a group of entrepreneurs when a hostage negotiator appeared as a special guest at an event hosted by Appco UK.

Richard Mullender spoke about the power of not simply hearing, but genuinely listening to glean crucial information from a conversation.

Using a hostage-negotiation scenario, Richard showed how listening for emotional triggers in conversations allows you to base your own responses on what a person is really saying. 

He went on to describe different things we can do with the information we get from listening, and how we can use it to improve our relationships with those we are speaking to.

Among his tips was to discuss what you’ve been told. This is a key tool hostage negotiators use and involves “stating your impression”

When someone is telling you something, take it in, listen, and then give your impression of what they have said. 

If your impression is correct, they will agree with you, and continue to talk. If your impression is wrong, they will correct you, and clarify their perspective.

Either way, you will find out extra information that could make your interaction with this person more meaningful.

Richard also suggested one simple question to help revolutionise recruitment: “Tell me about your best boss/mentor, and why you liked working or contracting for them?” 

He said a person’s answer could tell you how they work, and what they would need from you as a leader.

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