SPOS #937 – Scott Walker With Deep Insights From A Real-Life Hostage Negotiator

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Welcome to episode #937 of Six Pixels of Separation – The ThinkersOne Podcast.

Here it is: Six Pixels of Separation – The ThinkersOne Podcast – Episode #937. Life is a negotiation… and every one of us should be thinking about how we can get better at it. Scott Walker is a Sunday Times bestselling author and a keynote speaker on negotiation, communications, leadership and resilience. Scott is one of the world’s most experienced kidnap-for-ransom negotiators, offering discreet advice to top corporate, political, and NGO leaders to manage and recover from all sorts of real-life threats. With over three hundred cases resolved worldwide, he now helps clients develop resilient and agile leadership skills to navigate uncertainty and conflict, while consistently delivering top performance. He also trains leaders and teams to master communication, influence, and conflict resolution.In our conversation, Scott dives into negotiation strategies and techniques, pulling from his new book, Order Out Of Chaos – Win Every Negotiation, Thrive In Adversity, And Become A World-Class Communicator. He emphasizes that negotiation is everywhere in life and underscores the critical role of trust, especially in hostage situations. Scott breaks down the challenges of dealing with irrational actors, the importance of saving face in negotiations, and why maintaining long-term relationships matters. We also touch on managing stress and anxiety, emotional self-regulation, and understanding one’s own emotions before entering a negotiation. Scott shares stories from his hostage negotiation days, highlighting empathy, trust-building, and assertiveness. We also explore the complexities of kidnapping negotiations and the unique challenges of cyber extortion. His book, Order Out Of Chaos isn’t just about high-stakes negotiations – it’s a guide to becoming a top-notch communicator. Scott’s book, built on years of experience and research, offers simple, proven strategies to handle high-pressure moments, practice proactive listening, develop emotional intelligence, and manage conflict. Whether you’re negotiating a deal at work or navigating everyday situations (like with your kids!), the techniques in this book will help you communicate effectively and get the results you want. Enjoy the conversation…


  • Negotiation is a part of everyday life, and it is important to recognize and improve our negotiation skills.
  • Trust is crucial in hostage negotiations, and third-party intermediaries can play a significant role in building trust.
  • Saving face and maintaining pride are important considerations in negotiations, as they can impact the outcome and long-term relationships.
  • Time can be a powerful negotiation strategy, allowing for emotional regulation and the exploration of options.
  • Managing stress and anxiety is essential in negotiations, as they can impact decision-making and outcomes.
  • Emotional self-regulation is crucial in negotiation, and understanding one’s own emotions before entering a negotiation is essential.
  • Building trust and empathy are key elements in successful negotiations, whether in hostage situations or business deals.
  • Kidnapping negotiations involve balancing empathy and assertiveness, managing expectations, and developing a battle rhythm.
  • The cyber extortion industry presents unique challenges, and companies must weigh the risks and benefits of negotiation.
  • Difficult situations can be opportunities for personal growth and resilience, and reframing the meaning of challenges can lead to a more fulfilling life.


  • 00:00 – Introduction and Background
  • 00:30 – Negotiation in Everyday Life
  • 03:08 – Trust in Hostage Negotiations
  • 05:17 – Negotiating with Irrational Actors
  • 08:06 – Saving Face and Maintaining Pride
  • 09:28 – Negotiating in Geopolitical Conflicts
  • 11:33 – Time as a Negotiation Strategy
  • 12:49 – Expanding the Pie: Win-Win Negotiations
  • 16:25 – Addressing Concerns and Criticisms
  • 20:51 – Short-Termism vs. Long-Term Success
  • 26:14 – Negotiating with Nefarious Intentions
  • 31:08 – Simplifying Negotiations
  • 32:03 – Managing Stress and Anxiety in Negotiations
  • 32:07 – Emotional Self-Regulation in Negotiation
  • 36:15 – The Importance of Negotiating with Yourself
  • 37:02 – Lessons from the First Professional Negotiation
  • 44:04 – The Complexity of Kidnapping Negotiations
  • 49:25 – The Business of Kidnapping for Ransom
  • 53:07 – The Aftermath of Hostage Situations
  • 55:46 – The Unique Challenges of Cyber Extortion
  • 01:02:14 – Finding Resilience and Meaning in Difficult Situations

Download the Podcast here: Six Pixels of Separation – The ThinkersOne Podcast – Episode #937.

Before you go… ThinkersOne  is a new way for organizations to buy bite-sized and personalized thought leadership video content (live and recorded) from the best Thinkers in the world. If you’re looking to add excitement  and big smarts to your meetings, corporate events, company off-sites, “lunch & learns” and beyond, check it out.

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