What Does It Take To Be a Hostage Negotiator?

When corporate security teams or law enforcement officers are on the front lines dealing with a crisis, they need more than a weapon on their belt to diffuse the situation. The art of negotiation and communicating to lower tension and stall for time is underrated and overlooked.

Gary Noesner, former FBI hostage negotiator, knows this firsthand, which is why he authored a book on the topic — Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator. In this episode, Fred and Gary discuss what skills are needed to be an effective hostage negotiator, the curriculum he built to support the role, and changes he foresees in the space.

Gary Noesner retired from the FBI in 2003 following a 30 year career as an investigator, instructor, and negotiator. He was an FBI hostage negotiator for 23 years of his career, retiring as the Chief of the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit, Critical Incident Response Group, the first person to hold that position. He has appeared in numerous television documentaries about hostage negotiation, terrorism, and kidnapping and has been interviewed in Time, Forbes, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.