Friday Buzz: Persuade Like a Hostage Negotiator

A former FBI official explains how the right line of questioning can help you win an argument. Also: how social media tools are really superheroes in disguise.

During any board meeting, conference session, or other discussion-based forum, people will disagree.

For those who staunchly stand by their positions, opening their eyes to see the other side can be an uphill battle. And in a way, that’s like a hostage situation.

In a guest post for The Week, Eric Barker suggests using the kind of techniques the FBI uses to negotiate with people in challenging situations—including asking open-ended questions, taking pauses, and providing encouraging responses.

These steps let a challenger know that you acknowledge and understand where he or she is coming from, and ideally, that adjusts his or her thoughts and actions. Barker spoke with the FBI’s former Head of International Hostage Negotiation Chris Voss, who notes that there’s a difference between paraphrasing one’s thoughts and parroting them.

“The idea is to really listen to what the other side is saying and feed it back to them,” Voss says. “It’s kind of a discovery process for both sides. First of all, you’re trying to discover what’s important to them, and secondly, you’re trying to help them hear what they’re saying to find out if what they are saying makes sense to them.”

Let the other side know their viewpoint is understood—no matter how off-the-wall it may be—and you may just win them over.

The Social Media Justice League

With great power comes great responsibility. Using social media, you can do everything from commanding a person’s attention with a provocative statement to disseminating breaking news at superhuman speed. The plethora of social media platforms is a force to be reckoned with. So says Incline Marketing Blog.

The firm’s post equates the speed and power of Twitter to that of the Man of Steel. Why? Well, it too saves the day. Twitter allows associations to interact with members directly and help them through their own personal dilemmas “easily and collectively.”

Meanwhile, Facebook, with its arsenal of tools, is compared to Batman, and Pinterest is a lot like everyone’s favorite web-slinger: Spider-Man.

“Social media platforms often look exactly like every other citizen of the world; humble, normal, workman-like,” the firm states. “But over time, these tools can help your organization with their tremendous powers to do good. So next time you’re looking for a new member for your nonprofit’s team of superheroes, take a look at social media; it won’t let you down.” (ht @InclineMktg)

Other Good Reads

Great stories deserve to be told in a captivating medium. SCD Group’s Steve Drake says bringing your association’s message to life in a video can help influence members to become more involved.

According to some of the world’s leading marketers, a new purchase model must be implemented to teach marketers how to empower, rather than persuade, customers to buy their products.

“Cue the need for technology partners”: Eventsforce CEO George Sirius suggests that event planners form strategic relationships with technology providers that suit their events’ specific needs, and he also offers up a bevy of questions to ask to guarantee that the pairings are worthwhile.

The sound of silence: Inc. contributor Bill Murphy Jr. suggests situations in which it may be best to keep quiet at a meeting.


Alexis Williams

By Alexis Williams

Alexis Williams is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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