How Crisis Negotiations Really Happen

When you think of a crisis negotiation scenario, do you immediately go to your favorite TV drama? Do you ever wonder if the way the show portrays them is correct? Crisis negotiations are high-stress situations that take years of training and unique skills to do. So, while negotiations may look glamorous on the TV, it’s higher-tension in real life and requires a lot more work.

Open Communication

Opening a line of communication is the first step in getting a situation resolved. Officers need to build a rapport with the other party so they know that the officer truly only wants a peaceful resolution to the issue. Officers will throw in a crisis response throw phone system, which is a phone in a large, protected case that allows the officers and the other party to speak freely without interruption.

Active Listening

Active listening is a good way for officers to build trust. It shows the other party that the officer is trustworthy. Because of this, the other party finds it easier to open up and give information to the officer. By listening to the person’s grievances and allowing them to get things off their chest, the police officer can help control the situation. Additionally, the officer shows a high level of respect when they are actively listening. This respect allows the person on the other side to feel heard and understood.


Crisis negotiation scenarios can take hours to be resolved. Because of this, officers must continually practice a high level of patience and not take their frustrations out on the other party. If an officer fails to be patient with the other side, negotiations will often crumble, resulting in an undesirable outcome.


A negotiator might feel strongly that the negotiations are coming to a close, but that can change in a split second. When things change, a negotiator must be willing to pivot as well. Additionally, just because a technique worked in the past doesn’t mean that it will work for every future scenario. Officers must be willing to change their tactics for every scenario.

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