Negotiator: parents, listen to your children

Those attending a talk by Dan Oblinger honed their listening skills Wednesday, May 12, in Good Shepherd Hall at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. (Advance photo)

Dan Oblinger describes himself as a hostage negotiator by night and a consulting negotiator and coach by day.

He was working his day job Wednesday, May 12, during a presentation at a Catholic Association for Business breakfast meeting in Good Shepherd Hall at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.

After discerning that his vocation was not to be a priest, the former seminarian for the Diocese of Wichita has worked as a crisis and hostage negotiator for about 12 years. He is the author of books related to the art of listening and speaks and coaches about the topic.

After describing a negotiation with a woman threatening to jump off of a parking garage, Oblinger shared insights about his techniques that can be applied in personal and business lives.

“There are a few principles and a few habits that can make you extremely effective at conducting discovery with people and finding out why it is that they might jump off of the parking garage, or why it is that they don’t want to go to bed at that time or take the trash out, or why they can’t follow your simple expectations as a business owner,” he said to the 76 CAB members at the meeting.

The dynamic is very much the same, he said.

“If you want stronger agreements, which is what negotiation is about,” he said, then listen.

“If you listen to your children, they will tell you what they’re struggling with in terms of personal holiness, their needs. If you listen to your employees, they’ll want to do business with you. That’s the lesson: listen. It is the foundation for negotiation.”

Oblinger ended the meeting by answering various questions from those attending.

His books, Life or Death Listening: A Hostage Negotiator’s How-to Guide to Mastering the Essential Communication Skill and The 28 Laws of Listening: Best Practices for the Master Listener, are available online and at Eighth Day Books in Wichita.