What Business can learn from Hostage Negotiation

When people think about what a hostage negotiation course entails they generally think that it is so highly specialised, that the skills have no application elsewhere. The first part of the assumption is largely true; a hostage negotiation course needs to be extremely focused and comprehensive. But, contrary to what many people might think, the skills of a highly trained hostage negotiator are applicable in many other areas. This is especially true in the business world. As the Australian experts at conflict resolution and crisis intervention, CRTC recognise the value of our hostage negotiation course for businessmen and businesswomen. Here are just a few of the skills that translate well:


One of the keys to listening in a hostage situation is the ability to identify, select and interpret important words. It is in this way that you can turn information into intelligence that you can use. In a hostage situation, you need to gain an understanding of the values of the other party without inserting your own into the negotiations and this principle also holds true in business.

Risk assessment

This is obviously a vital component of any hostage negotiation course. In a real life scenario, a negotiator needs to know who is or who might be the source of the risk, where and to whom the risk is greatest and the extent of the risk. Risk can and should be assessed in detail or holistically, at an individual or group level. Again, knowing how to identify and react to information regarding risk is valuable in a business setting.


Many people, in every sphere of life, are resistant to change. This is often because information can be misinterpreted, especially if it is passed down a long chain of people. If you clarify what people want and what they are troubled by, you begin to understand their motives and are able to work towards allaying their fears and compelling them to be open to change and new ideas.

It is because they have these and similar skills that those trained in hostage negotiation and crisis intervention are much sought after as corporate speakers and business advisors. The skills transfer well between these disciplines and can lead to a more harmonious and successful business. A hostage negotiation course, then, imparts a range of skills that are not only useful during extreme events, but also applicable to more everyday situations.

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