At Wordstock in 2013, we sat on the edges of our seats and listened to Richard Mullender, crisis and hostage negotiator. He had a lot to say about sub-text. Language, explicit and implicit. Putting all the truisms of active listening in the bin. He was, er, very persuasive. We called him back for some more.
In May we held our first all-day Listening and Persuasion course. Martin Clarkson and the Storytellers provided us with a gorgeous central London space (huge thanks!) We ended the day negotiating with scary people through a crack in the door. It was edifying and exhilarating.
Here’s some of the feedback from our day in May:
“I’ve been developing my interviewing skills for 25 years but gained two new and incredibly valuable insights within 15 minutes of Dick speaking. The insights, tips and techniques kept flowing throughout the day. There was much that surprised me and made me think again about some of the ‘rules’ of communicating. And it was all presented in a refreshingly direct, no-nonsense style. Highly recommended.” —Tim Rich
“It was fantastic. So intense that I didn’t think that I was absorbing everything and when we did the final hostage scenario my heart was beating like a hummingbird. But, when push came to shove, I’d taken in more than I realised. It was a full-on, enlightening and fun day. I’m just waiting to find a good opportunity to try it out on people (without terrifying my friends when I do).” —Sarah Farley
“Friday was brilliant – essential stuff for anyone who wants to know how language *really* works. The great thing about Richard’s approach is how universal it all is – there’s something there for pretty much anyone with an interest in communications at any level. He’s also a fascinating, charming chap who makes learning a pleasure. Very highly recommended.” —Roger Horberry
“I really enjoyed the workshop and already (after only a week) it has had a myriad of uses in everyday situations from rewriting a scene I’d been working on, to chatting to my kids. It’s also revolutionised watching TV interviews where the interviewer just isn’t getting information out of the person on their sofa. It’s not often I spend eight hours that change the way I approach so many tasks and an unexpected bonus, it’s given me confidence about situations in which I had not realised before that I was the slightest nervous.” —Sara Sheridan
“I had a whale of a time and found the whole day incredibly enjoyable and useful. I’ve already been applying some of the stuff to my work… I’m hugely impressed by Richard (and his colleagues). He speaks so engagingly that I don’t think I once zoned out during the entire day.” —Lin Sagovsky
What the day was all about:
There is a popular myth that the ability to ask questions correlates with the ability to be a great communicator; in fact the opposite is often true. The ability to ask the right question at the right time and then simply listen is the true skill of the great communicator. The less you say the more they give, the more you ask the more you give away. Every question is a clue as to what the person asking wants.
These communication skills have been developed, tried and tested in the most sensitive situations that the police and hostage negotiating worlds offer. A police investigator and hostage negotiator for over 25 years, Richard Mullender has extensive experience in these situations.
This unique course is designed to bring the techniques of witness/suspect interviewing and hostage negotiation into the business world and provide you with keys to communicate more effectively. The course will improve your interpersonal relationships, enabling you to truly understand your clients’ needs, provide greater customer satisfaction, get the right result from every negotiation, make all meetings more productive and efficient, and successfully manage any situation that life throws at you.
The day covered:
Active listening skills
Communication and conversation rules
Preparation, planning and impression management
Building rapport, gaining trust and exercising influence
How to obtain information by using questions effectively
How to listen, what to listen for and how to interpret what you hear