Chris Voss, a hostage negotiator with the FBI for 25 years, is now CEO and Founder of The Black Swan Group.  His insights from the FBI, Scotland Yard and Harvard Law School have been applied to communication challenges and negotiations in business.

Voss recommends what he describes as a 'ridiculously simple, but incredibly powerful' technique for de-escalating a crisis: emotional labelling. 

"People love to have others understand how they feel. Hanging a tentative label on an emotion heard, observed, or more importantly implied, is the best way to demonstrate empathy. Empathy is the cognitive ability to discriminate effective cues in others and the ability to articulate those cues. It not only encourages reciprocity it allows people to become more receptive of others’ points of view. Attentive listening has positive benefits.  It allows the individual to evaluate and clarify their own thoughts and feelings and become better problem solvers."


Listen to Chris' interview with Kathryn Ryan on National Radio by clicking the image, or go to