How to Listen When Emotions Run High, with Hostage Negotiator Dan Oblinger - MS011

Meeting Strategist - Conversations on Leadership & Communication

Sep 11 2019 • 1 hr 27 mins

This episode provides essential listening guidance and tools for leaders and lovers - or anyone who regularly finds himself in emotionally charged situations.

Dan Oblinger is a hostage negotiator, author of ‘Life or Death Listening’, a keynote speaker on leadership, listening and negotiations and a father of five adopted children.

In this extra-long episode, Dan breaks down how leaders, parents and lovers can harness the power of emotions to build trust and transform their relationships. We also discuss Dan’s first encounter with a jumper, how to rewire your listening brain and why leaders should ask more scary questions.

For more information and links related to this episode, please go to the full show notes at

Here are some of the episode’s highlights with timestamps:

  • 6:54 – Why power and authority won’t get you anywhere in hostage negotiations

  • 18:56 – How to listen to 3-year-olds: the power of personal connection

  • 28:21 – Creating a collaborative corporate culture

  • 37:50 – How Dan is able to shift the focus to other people in high-stakes situations

  • 50:47 – Prefacing and other ways to ask better questions

  • 1:10:12 – How to negotiate with someone if you don’t even get past the reception desk

About this podcast

Welcome to Meeting Strategist. On this podcast, Marcel van de Hoef interviews professionals and thinkers from the worlds of investment, business and arts about their approach to business conversations. You'll hear inspiring stories about impactful meetings, while also learning about the strategies, tactics and mindsets these guests rely on to make meetings more constructive.

Marcel is an Amsterdam-based communication advisor and trainer and the curator of the Meeting Strategist blog. His mission is to help senior professionals think more strategically about meetings, ask better questions, improve their listening skills and have more meaningful conversations in business and life. Learn more and stay up to date at