Girls Learn the Art of Negotiation
Wednesday, 04 July 2012
Sixth Form students from the Girls' Division attended a talk aimed at giving them a better understanding of the negotiation skills needed to cope in a hostage situation. The talk, given by HMPS North West Lead Psychologist Mrs Carol Bond, formed part of the girls' Gifted and Talented Programme, an ongoing Learning Support programme which aims to enrich the students' learning experience and develop their thinking skills.
The title of the lecture was 'Resolving Hostage Situations: Talking Your Way Out of a Crisis"; and Carol spoke about the definition of hostage situations, their management and the psychological approach to resolutions, including 'what not to say and why'. Students were asked to consider how they would resolve a number of tense hostage situations within a limited amount of time - replicating the pressure of a real hostage situation.
The talk revealed how the hijacking of a coach in 1972 (which inspired the film "Speed") and the subsequent efforts to diffuse the situation, set the parameters for future negotiations in hostage scenarios. Carol spoke of terrorist hostage situations such as the Moscow Theatre and the Mumbai hotels. She advised pupils that it can be virtually impossible to resolve a situation if the hijackers are 'absolute', but described how there is often room for negotiation in 'contingent' cases such as pirates or other ransoms, robberies that have gone wrong, or where a personal crisis has escalated.
The students were taught that the key tactics in negotiation are: containment, in order to bring as much safety as possible to the situation; isolation, to build the hostage taker's dependence on the negotiator; negotiation, in order to find a safe resolution; and playing for time, which will reduce stress levels and bring more rational thought to the situation.