Hostage Negotiation 101: Building Bridges out of Barricades

S/Sgt.(RCMP Ret’d) Matt Logan completed his Ph.D. in Counselling Psychology on the morning of September 11, 2001 by successfully defending his dissertation “What hinders or facilitates successful crisis (hostage) negotiation”.


This presentation reviews the research based on that study and confirms much of what negotiators do. It also questions old ideas and introduces the D-Fusing approach:

  • De-escalating

  • Demarcating

  • Demystifying

  • Distraction

  • Depolarizing

  • Disaffiliating

  • Disengaging

This Presentation calls for the need to work as a team, to communicate as a team, to train as a team, and to synchronize the effort of tactical and negotiation. It calls for negotiators to develop attributes that allow them to be good listeners, empathetic, caring, calm, intuitive, willing to integrate their training and to learn from experience. It calls for them to use time to build relationships through affinity, cultural understanding, and communication that reduces fear by explaining and demystifying the process. It calls for negotiators to use intelligence and third parties to co-construct a bridge out of the barricade by minimizing risk and damage and to create an environment of empowerment so the subject can walk across the bridge without losing face. It calls for leadership, not by rank, but by being a person with experience, credibility, and possessing the attributes of a good negotiator. It calls for an ability to assess a situation by asking "why are we here?" and making the decision to walk away if the assessment answer is "we can deal with this in a more effective manner by leaving right now". It calls for a pursuit of knowledge and a thirst to not only acquire the tools of active listening and relationship building, but to develop personally so that these tools will be more than skills but will be personal attributes.