Lt. Scott Tillema, FBI Trained Hostage Negotiator | Crisis Communication & Business

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In this week’s episode we sit down with Scott Tillema, FBI Trained Hostage Negotiator, Veteran Police Lieutenant and TedX Speaker. Scott Tillema is a rising thought leader in crisis and hostage negotiations. He is invited to speak at many hostage negotiation conferences across the US, and is viewed by his peers as a reference in difficult negotiations. For 7 years, Scott conducted negotiations for the largest multi-jurisdictional municipal SWAT team in the US. 

Currently, Scott is a Lieutenant with a Chicago area police department and has 17 years of police service. His experience and knowledge in hostage negotiations is sought after by police negotiators and universities alike.

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The Success Story podcast is focused on speaking to incredible people who have achieved success through trials, tribulations, wins and losses. In each episode we sit down with leaders and mentors.  We document their life, career and stories to help pass those lessons onto others through insights, experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.






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Lt. Scott Tillema, Scott, Scott D Clary


Scott D Clary  00:06

Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast, I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between. Without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. So today on the success story podcast, I have Scott dilemma, who is a FBI trained hostage negotiator and a full time police lieutenant in the Chicago area. He is a recognized thought leader in the field of police crisis and hostage negotiation, actively training and working with police negotiators across the country. Scott has developed a model for hostage negotiation, which is now being adapted for the use of private sector sales, communication, leadership, and Scott as an individual’s very impressive, he speaks both domestically in the States and internationally on this topic, communication and negotiation and leadership as well. And he was also done, or he has done a TED talk on the same mat on the same subject matter that’s been viewed millions of times. He’s known for giving dynamic keynotes and connect with his audiences, teaching attendees, how they can negotiate under pressure, and really just bringing value to their personal and professional lives through communication, and negotiation. So thank you very much, Scott, for sitting down. I’m really excited to speak to you because I think that the perspective you bring to the table is going to be very interesting. So thank you.


Lt. Scott Tillema  01:56

Hi, Scott, it is a pleasure to be with you on success story, podcast. Thank you for having me today.


Scott D Clary  02:01

No, it’s my pleasure. And outside of the the the the the joke that I want to make about you having a great name and all that stuff. It’s great to speak to another Scott. But I want to give a little bit of context as to why I was excited about this. So I’m, I’m I work in sales, and I work in tech. But my family and Scott, you don’t know this, but my family has traditionally always been in law enforcement. So I’m actually kind of the black sheep. So I’m in Toronto, and my father, my grandfather, and my uncle were all active duty RCMP when they were still working. So they’ve all they’ve all been heavily involved in law enforcement and incredible respect to what you’re doing. But I understand that not the same extent you do, obviously, but I understand the pressure and the stress that they have gone through throughout their careers. And I’m sure that you’ve probably dealt with similar circumstances and whatnot. So I guess what I would love to know his sort of your origin story and unpack how you are why you decided to first of all, become a law enforcement professional. And then and then let’s go from there as to what you’re doing over the course of your career and how you came to where you are right now.


Lt. Scott Tillema  03:16

Sure, this is gonna be exciting for your listeners, because I’ve tuned into a few of your podcasts and you have on business leaders, well known and respected business leaders. And And today you have someone who doesn’t know anything about business. So this is gonna be a wild little adventure. Here today. So this is gonna be fun. I kind of have the opposite story. I, my parents are not law enforcement. And I had five roommates in undergrad at the University of Wisconsin, and they all got into business school, and I was the one who wasn’t smart enough to get into business school. So I had to find something else to do for a career. So here I am, as a police officer 18 years later.


Scott D Clary  03:53

That’s lovely. So like when you first went into law enforcement, did you have a specific branch that you were looking to get into? Or was it just like, a job that you took on and you sort of fell in love with it as you became more immersed in it? Cool, my background,


Lt. Scott Tillema  04:06

my undergraduate degrees in behavioral science, and I later went on and got a master’s degree in psychology. So I always had an interest in people and understanding how people think and why they do the things they do. And as I spent some time, my first couple years in law enforcement, you know, initially, first try to learn the job. And it’s complex. There’s a lot of different aspects to it. But I always knew that I wanted to do something that really gets in the minds of people. And I was lucky to have spent five and a half years working as a detective. And what I really wanted to do was get into hostage negotiation. And I live in the war work in the Chicago area. And I found that at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, they had a master’s level class in hostage negotiation. I thought, Man, that would be really, really cool to get in that class and I wanted to audit the class or sit in and I couldn’t do that without being in As a program, so I finally made the decision, the commitment to go back to school to get my Master’s in psychology to learn a little bit more about this. And it was shortly after I went to school for psychology that I interviewed to get on a original SWAT team that serves 1.8 million people in the Chicago area and 70 different agencies throughout the Chicagoland area. And I was very lucky to get selected to be one of a number of hostage and crisis negotiators on this SWAT team. And I was very lucky to have that assignment for about seven and a half years.


Scott D Clary  05:37

Beautiful. Okay, so after, after you had that assignment, obviously, the training that you have, that you’ve accumulated over the course of your career has led you to obviously speak about hostage negotiation. Um, when did that when did that, you know, light bulb, turn on that there was more to the skill sets that you had outside of just the practical use case that you found yourself using them every day? And there could be some overlap to other other you know, business or even I’m sure relationships and whatnot, in terms of crisis negotiation.


Lt. Scott Tillema  06:14

Yeah, I, when I came off the team, it was because I got promoted with my own agency. So I still had the desire to be a police negotiator, a hostage negotiator. But when I was taken off the team, I figured, well, how can I still stay active? How can I stay involved, and I started teaching that for police officers throughout the Chicago area. And, and it was strictly for law enforcement, I had no training or knowledge beyond strictly negotiation within the police realm. And it was in late 2016, that an organizer of TEDx Naperville, Chicago area suburb, had reached out to me and said, Hey, look, we’re putting together a TED conference in the Chicago area. And we understand that you teach hostage negotiation. And he pitched the idea to me, he’s like, you know, I think that you could bring value and how to, you know, teach society, how to have an argument and how to have a conversation, because the context of this, this was right during the presidential election with Trump and Clinton. And their thought was, you know, everybody in society is so angry, and they and they keep fighting with each other. And nobody knows how to listen and have a thoughtful dialogue. We want someone to come on and share some principles and some perspectives on how to do this. And the thought was, you know, we’re going to have the election and everything was going to get back to normal, and everybody would be happy again, and things will be good. And, of course, you know, that, that things have progressively gotten worse, you know, certainly throughout the United States and across the world that that we’re even more polarized. So the talk that I gave for TEDx Naperville, back in 2016, I think is still relevant today. And that I was just sharing a couple principles and how we communicate with each other how we can influence each each other how we can, you know, really, yeah, that that deeper empathy of somebody else, so as people would start to listen to this, I would get people reaching out and saying, Hey, would you be interested in talking to this group or that group? So I’ve been lucky to have been invited to not only police hostage negotiation conferences across the country, but to speak from groups, such as, you know, churches, to businesses in Switzerland and Germany throughout the US, just saying, Hey, bring this concept to us. Because it’s, it’s familiar enough, and that it makes sense that we can use it, but yet, it’s different from what we’re used to hearing in standard business training.


Scott D Clary  08:47

So the the TEDx conversation was, was sort of like your initiation into into this into this world of speaking to other parties outside of what you had already known. So you had never done any sort of discussions or chats about, like negotiation, outside the scope of law enforcement until the TEDx and that sort of what kicked off, like, all the like the conversations, the speeches, the the, you know, the the keynotes that you’ve given over over your career.


Lt. Scott Tillema  09:17

Correct, right, I’m doing this completely backwards, because yeah, all of the professional speakers, they work and you can see it, just that sort of LinkedIn and through the different courses, and the different training that people work to get to the TEDx stage. And And truly, I think it was a last minute filling because they didn’t reach out to me until about six or seven weeks before this event that they pitched in. So with with no background in public speaking and no formal training at all, and no education outside of the police world. You know, I kind of slap this together in the course of six or seven weeks. And this was kind of my audition and my my first real run at doing any kind of public speaking So it’s a little bit backwards and that most people work up to this. And I kind of use this to start from and now I’m kind of growing into different areas. And from that I’ve gotten some great opportunities. And I like getting into executive education to learn a little bit more about business and about negotiation. I’ve attended Harvard Executive Education recently, IMD business school in Europe last fall. And it’s great to sit in a room with 300, top level business executives, and have a conversation with them and say, I know nothing about what you do, and absolutely mean it, and then still be intriguing enough that I might be able to bring value to the conversation.


Scott D Clary  10:41

I think that the your, your insights and perspective and lens that you look at conflict resolution, and just communication is very valuable. For executives in particular, just because it’s I think it’s sometimes hard to see the forest through the trees for some of these people. So when they have a fresh perspective like this, that’s probably where you actually provide the most insight because of the track that you took. And you didn’t actually build up to this, but it sort of became almost not accident is very, it’s putting it far too lightly. But, you know, it’s, it wasn’t something that was planned ahead of time. And it wasn’t part of your career trajectory. But the fact that you’ve done it, and now I think that’s what sort of made you so valuable, because when when we speak about business, I think that the the parallels are evident, but let’s Okay, so let’s speak about and obviously, this has been a successful Ted, TED talk, because I think it’s like, you know, in the millions of views. So let’s speak about the the the high level theme, that that was sort of, I guess, I don’t know if this is like the title of the TED Talk. But the theme that I pulled out of this, and that I’ve seen sort of listed in line with his TED talk is, can you have a productive conversation with someone when you both disagree? That was like the the, the overarching theme for the TED talk. Okay. So yeah, how? Okay, so let’s answer that. Yeah.


Lt. Scott Tillema  12:02

With this, I try to also frame it that it’s more than just me and you having a conversation, because it’s really easy for you and I to talk when we’re sitting on the couch or hanging out and having a drink. Yeah. But it becomes very, very different when we introduce that level of stress. And that’s, and that’s very similar, whether it be in policing, or business negotiations, or sales, marketing, there’s a level of stress because there’s something on the line. So under that context, is how I tried to frame this out to say, it’s not your everyday conversation, that under pressure under stress, you need to do this, and this is why it works.


Scott D Clary  12:35

I even find that, you know, I do a lot of I don’t want to go too much off on a tangent. But when I do these podcasts, I find that the second and like I’ve done, I don’t know about 30 of these podcasts now. And I’m not like a podcast expert. But even I, the second you start interviewing someone, the dynamic of the conversation, the whole conversation changes. And I found that it’s as subtle as you know, I call somebody on on Skype now, because we can’t really do anything face to face, but you call somebody on Skype. And you’re having a very like casual conversation ahead of time, and it’s flowing so easily. And then the second, it’s like a formal interview, I find that people, they start to freeze up and not everybody, but it’s like the communication becomes a little bit more, like rigid. And I don’t know if that’s just because if people feel like they’re under pressure, or they have to say the right thing. And I think that I’ve always personally tried to like steer away from that in the conversations. Because I think that leads to like, like, almost like a robotic back and forth. But I’ve noticed that, like I’ve noticed like, and this is like nothing to even come close to what you do. Like, it’s still like a level of pressure that’s outside of the norm for most people.


Lt. Scott Tillema  13:47

That’s the truth. And I teach people that because of this. And if you haven’t done these high level negotiations are these high level conversations. It’s very, very different. And under pressure, we we lose some ability to do things that are pretty normal for us to do and we we lose our ability to empathize. I mean, take what’s going on right now with the COVID-19 Coronavirus going on everywhere. We’re in self pressure preservation mode, we think how can I care for my own physical needs? How can I care for my own emotional needs right now, and people are starting to realize that under pressure, we behave differently. So that’s why when I teach this, I make it very, very simple. I mean, there are whole books dedicated to hostage negotiation, whole books on communication. And I’m able to break this down and say, I just want you to remember four words, and this is understanding, timing, delivery, and respect. And we can take these four words and break them into one sentence principle and break that into his deepest we can go and as much as you can remember, but when it becomes time for that big conversation, for for when it matters most, at least Have a framework, a flexible framework that you can use to guide you, when you’re nervous when you’re under pressure, when you have to make a decision to know, this is the roadmap I need to follow. And within that, I’ve got a lot of flexibility to help me get to where I need to go with the specific person or group that I’m working with.


Scott D Clary  15:16

So So I want to unpack that a little bit. But I do want to start, I want to start with that higher level theme. So how do you have is that is that so to say, to have a productive conversation with someone under pressure is is that framework but when to have a productive conversation with someone when you both disagree, is that doesn’t always have to be like a high pressure situation. So let’s just start with the that piece. And then let’s take a productive conversation with someone who you’re disagreeing with, then under pressure, so how do you first have a productive conversation with someone when you’re not agreeing on a point, but it could be casual, but you still get your way.


Lt. Scott Tillema  15:52

And that’s, that’s the first principle I talked about, understand. And we become really adverse to listening to someone else. And it starts with having the mindset that you are willing to tolerate and listen to a point that’s different from your own. And when I mean, listen to it, I mean, thoughtfully, working to understand what they believe, by asking questions and exploring what they’re saying, and how they’re saying it to, to have an appreciation for who they are. And I think that we as a society have really become afraid of this to say, I’m not going to listen to your point of view. Because if I listened to it, I’m afraid that I might have to believe it or accept it, we have this fear that we might have to change that we might have to break out of what we know and what we believe. So to have an open mind and come in with with a blank slate to say, you know, what helped me understand you and make it not about yourself, make it it’s not about me, it’s about you to be thoughtful and asking these engaging questions. And then, you know, maybe a higher level, studying their expressions, micro expressions, body language, so you can do some behavioral analysis to see, you know, do we have some deception in here? Or is this all legit is everything pretty consistent? So the very first step that not under pressure is, let’s, let’s take time, the number one, give someone our attention, put down your phone, put down the computer, quit multitasking, and give them your complete attention, and be interested in that. And rarely, rarely do we see this in society anymore?


Scott D Clary  17:30

Why outside? Like, why is there such an aversion to because I think the root cause of this, like you mentioned, is for people to not want to accept or fear of having to open up their mind to other opinions. I don’t know the answer to this is probably a much more deeper, you know, higher level philosophical conversation. But do you have a an opinion as to why people have such an aversion to that?


Lt. Scott Tillema  17:55

I think it’s because people don’t want to admit that we don’t know as much as we think we do. It’s much more comfortable to have a certain base level knowledge about something and say, Well, I believe this and I formed an opinion based on a very small amount of knowledge. And it’s really a lot more easy to feel something than it is to truly think about something and learn and analyze and come up with a thoughtful opinion and position on whatever issue it is. And people don’t like to be challenged. We don’t like to feel that uncertainty. We’re afraid of being embarrassed work and afraid of, you know, saying, You know what, I just don’t know the answer to this. I’m not sure why I feel like this. I’m not sure where I learned this piece of information. So none of us really want to have to defend what we know or what we believe. So I think that that’s a big piece in why we’re not willing to really engage someone in a thoughtful conversation. We don’t want to say, You know what, I don’t know that. And you know, what you’re saying does make sense. I don’t necessarily have to agree with it. But what you’re saying it has a lot of merit. And maybe that’s something that I need to consider.


Scott D Clary  19:08

Now, it’s that’s funny, because that’s essentially saying the key to winning an argument if you know, winning, I put that term in quotations, air quotes, the key to winning an argument is actually allowing yourself to know that you could be wrong, because you cannot understand someone if that’s the case, if you aren’t willing to open up to them. And you’re saying that’s the basic. That’s the basic premise of getting what you’d like you have to be able to understand someone and make them feel heard. Is that more or less correct?


Lt. Scott Tillema  19:36

Right? Absolutely. And from a negotiation standpoint, how can I solve a problem? If I don’t know what it is? I think one of the killer minds in any discussion is, well, I understand. No, you don’t understand. And even if you think you understand by saying, Well, I understand you’re really invalidating that person. It’s, it’s an insensitive thing to say and really He is going to get them to shut down to say, how can you possibly understand I’ve just shared with you a couple sentences about my life? How can you come back to me and say, Well, I understand your situation. Now, if you have some similarities, if you have something that you can share with them, then try and figure out that timing piece and figure out, you know, at what point would it be right for me to say, You know what, I’ve had a similar experience, let me share this with you. So the second, the second big piece of timing is trying to get right of when, when it is your time to share with them that maybe you have an understanding, or at least an interest in what they have to say.


Scott D Clary  20:40

So how do you how do you map out when that so the first piece is understand? So that’s, that’s one that we just sort of went into? So the second piece is timing, you’re saying? So how do we how do we understand when that timing is? What’s the threshold for understanding?


Lt. Scott Tillema  20:54

Well, for me, timing, like this is the strategy piece for me. And it’s not always about tactics at the table, I think that your power and negotiation comes from information and options. So I’m trying to grow the information that I have. And in a conversation with somebody that could be, you know, just listening one on one. But when we’re doing a high level police negotiation, I’m working with an entire team. So I’ve got people behind me behind the scenes that are digging every piece of information they can on this person. And that should absolutely be happening in business negotiations as well to get information, because that’s going to put you in a stronger position. The same with options, the more options I can roll on my side. And the more options that I can take away from the other side is really going to put me in a much more powerful position to say, now I’m going to introduce an idea or a thought, for your consideration. So I think that it’s really kind of a balance of once I’ve gathered a good amount of information about the situation, I’ve asked a number of questions and my open ended questions are not really yielding a whole lot of new information. Anything that I can inquire from expressions that I see anything that I can inquire from body language that that I might be able to, you know, dip my toe into a question about, hey, I get the sense that you’re a little bit uncomfortable when you talk about this particular area. And I’m not, I’m not sure that you can ever run out of good questions to ask. But the questions that they become more narrow, they I think they should work from open ended questions and become a little bit more focused as you go on. But I think that is really going to come from the experience of understanding that I’ve gotten some good information, I have a number of different options that I can use. And now I’m in a good position to start implementing a good strategy of when I’m going to deliver my message.


Scott D Clary  22:51

I love it. And like when you’re if you’re listening, and I’m sure now you can pick up on as you as you say, these things like the the the hallmarks of a successful sales, negotiation, or business negotiation are very like they’re very apparently you can draw the parallels quite easily, in terms of doing discovery, for understanding how to sell something, or to you could bring a product to a customer understanding the pain points the customer has doing as much research, as it all it all lines up very. But, you know, I think that there’s other things like you mentioned, like in the communication, not just the strategy, but the actual way that you communicate to an individual that can be brought up from what you’re discussing, that can be very useful in any negotiation. Now, you mentioned that sorry, I apologize, I don’t have a pen on me. So I didn’t write this down. You mentioned four things. So you mentioned understand, and you mentioned,


Lt. Scott Tillema  23:42

time, and then delivery and respect. So you let into the third principle perfectly to talk about how we are going to present that. So when I talk about delivery, really, when you get into a negotiation, or you’re going to have these high level conversations. So much of this goes toward your preparation, how much preparation you put into it. And I think the good negotiators take time to prepare. But really, most people stop at the content, we prepared the content of what it is, we are going to present what it is we want to say what our talking points are going to be. But nobody ever gives consideration to how we are going to present that. And these these are tactics at the table. And this is where police negotiators are exceptional, very, very good at how to deliver the message. And and I can break this down into a couple different areas though rate, the rhythm, the pressure, the volume and the tone. These five different areas are the areas that we can really give thoughtful consideration to when we’re delivering the message. And in police negotiation. I’m very lucky that when I’ve been the primary negotiator, I have a coach right at my side that can give me real time feedback into not only what I’m saying but how All I’m saying it. And I’m not exactly sure how you can do that in the business world, if truly you’re at the table, having a negotiation, but having a coach there to think to guide you and think through the rate, the rhythm, the pressure, the volume, and the tone of what you’re saying, is going to is going to create a feeling on the other side. And truly, we want to create a positive emotion to help them be in a good spot where they can make thoughtful decisions. Because a lot of times in my work when we’re dealing with someone who’s in crisis, who’s suicidal their way up, way down or all over the emotional scale, and we want to get them in a very comfortable groove, where they don’t have to worry about, hey, I’m going to yell at them, it’s going to be some kind of surprise that every time they engage with me, it’s going to be a very, very comfortable feeling that they get when when they start talking with me. And with that, I hope that I can solicit more information and hope to get them to be more agreeable to me to get them to like me, because that’s what’s going to give me the influence that I need to get to the resolution for where I want to go.


Scott D Clary  26:07

Now, I understand everything you’re saying makes a lot of sense. Because I’ve also listened to the podcast with another another individual who does this. So Chris Voss, if you’re in this world, you’ve heard his content before. And he speaks about like the late night FM DJ voice when you’re when you’re trying to get what you’d like, is that something that is like a known in the in the hostage negotiation crisis negotiation world?


Lt. Scott Tillema  26:33

Absolutely. It’s it goes along the lines of how are you saying this, and part of that is taking your rate and slowing it down a little bit, and maybe dropping the volume a little bit. And studies show that the lower the voice, the more authority one is perceived to have. So you take some of these scientifically proven pieces and put them into play that when I’m talking with you, and I’m talking about teaching and sharing, about negotiation, I get excited, I know that my my rate is a little bit too fast. I know that my cadence is sometimes not always very steady, because I want to talk about this. Now let’s talk about this over here. And now we’re going down here. But when we get into this type of discussion, you get a little bit slower, you get a little bit softer, get a little bit lower. And that is it’s really working the mind of the other person to get them in a better place where they can think and make better decisions. And that’s ultimately what we want. I just want someone to come to an agreement with me. And that’s really what negotiation is that we can come to agreement that maybe you don’t have to change your your beliefs, maybe you don’t have to change any, we just have to get to a position where you and I can each move forward on a particular thing. But yes, absolutely. Chris Voss very, very well respected leader in this field, without question.


Scott D Clary  27:57

Now, do you notice that after a certain amount, because I noticed this, when I’m first jumping on the phone with somebody for the first time, and I’ve never spoken to them before, I definitely speak a little bit quicker. But once I get to know them, and once I understand how to communicate with them, or at least I think I can understand how to communicate with them and how they like being communicated to I find that I have an easier time slowing my own self down and talking with a little bit more of a cadence, kind of like what you’re discussing. Is that Is that like the the end result, like, is that desired objective to sort of get somebody on the same wavelength as you or communicate on the same wavelength as them? Like, what how do you sort of bring them in, you sort of meet so that you’re in sync with that person, because I assume that would be an important and important point. If you’re charging somebody you know, metaphorically off the ledger or whatnot, you’re trying to, you’re trying to get them to calm down and slow down. So is that something that’s built into this, this speaking cadence,


Lt. Scott Tillema  28:56

right, and we literally are talking people down from


Scott D Clary  29:00

the ledge, I didn’t want to say that. And we


Lt. Scott Tillema  29:03

marry each other in conversation, we we mirror each other from what we hear, and we and you’ll find that it’s really, really hard to keep yelling at me, when I’m very, very call, people are looking for that fight, they’re looking for you to bring it up a notch and get a little bit more angry, because we feed off each other. When we get louder. It’s very, very tough. If I decide I’m going to go a little bit more quietly on my VI and just because I’m speaking softly doesn’t mean I’m not speaking with strength. And you go a little bit lower, and then it’s gonna force them to listen a little bit harder to you. Just just physically, we have to listen a harder because you’re a little bit more quiet. And with that, now you’re tricking your brain into thinking, Man, I’m really listening hard. So this must be something that I care about or want to pay attention to. And that is really getting yourself in the next piece to have that have influence over that person to get to where you want to go.


Scott  30:03

We’re just going to take a quick break and we’re going to speak about our sponsor for this week’s episode of the success story podcast, the good Levin bar. Now let’s be honest, we’re all quarantine at home right now, this is very topical. And the good Levin Barr has released a snack that is very appropriate for the times when we’re stuck at home. We don’t have as many you know, we’re not as active we don’t have the ability to go to the gym, we’re not even walking around as much we don’t have a commute. So a lot of us are unfortunately putting on weight or perhaps not eating as healthy, making a few too many trips to the fridge. And eventually, when all of this is over and said and done, we will be emerging from our homes back into the world like hibernating bears except instead of slipping through the winter, all we’ve been doing is staying at home and eating a little bit too much. And even if we haven’t eaten that much, we still want to maintain our healthy physique, our healthy shape our healthy weight. So for all of us who are looking to either lose weight before you know the world turns back to normal, or perhaps they just want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Many people look to keto to help shed quarantine pounds. I’m a big fan of keto. I’ve used keto in the past. I’m actually on keto right now. It helps me maintain my weight when I’m not as active. It helps me maintain mental focus and clarity, and high energy levels. keto is a very very popular way to lose weight without sacrificing a lot of the really delicious foods that we all love. And the good loving bar is the number one certified organic keto protein bar in retail and online. And they’re number one for a variety of reasons. They’re the best plant based, they have organic ingredients. The best taste, which is super important whenever you’re dieting with flavors like chocolate dip, strawberry, chocolate, coconut, peanut butter brownie, and the best customer service that always makes me smile. You can try them out right now by visiting www dot the good Levin put together a multi flavor order and get 25% off by me by using my name Scott as a promo code when you check out. So remember, when you’re checking out, you get 25% off if you use my name Scott as a promo code. And if you reach $50, you will get free shipping anywhere in the US. That’s good Levin bar. So t h e And get 25% off your first order for using my name as a promo code, they guarantee you will be loving the good Levin bar. And you’ll also love how healthy and in shape, you maintain your body, your physique, your lifestyle, as we’re all stuck at home. Anyways, that’s it for this response to the good loving bar. Now I have one more point that that I’ve sort of been taught over I’ve taken like some executive courses at universities over my careers and they speak about they speak about individuals communicate differently. So there’s some people that are I think, in the sales world, they’re categorized by color spectrum, which is there’s like a red, a red personality, a blue personality, a yellow personality, a green personality. And I don’t know what those actually correlate to I’m sure there’s some, you know, much more probably prolific psychological principle, but it’s like the Reds are aggressive, and they speak this way. And then the yellows are a little bit more logical. I can’t remember exactly. But is that something that you tie into how you communicate with somebody effectively, is that you have


Lt. Scott Tillema  33:55

to, and that’s why we start with understanding to say, I can’t go into this with this is Scott’s communication style. And this is just how I do it. And you’re either with me or you’re not. I think that’s that’s really putting yourself in a bad position. I need to communicate with someone in a way that they are very comfortable. And I learned this as a detective. When I was a young detective, I remember going into to do an interrogation. And my partner was a much more seasoned detective. And as a young detective, you know, I watched all the same cop shows that everybody else watched. So I have my nice white shirt and tie. I look nice, because that’s what they do in the movies. And that’s what they do on TV. And my partner, he had on some kind of collared shirt and he took it off and he was down to his T shirt is a white t shirt probably at one time with some yellow stains on it and it will look like a bum and I said what are you doing? He goes, I’m going to go in there and I’m going to get a statement from this guy. And he was thinking about how can I connect with this guy where he’s at And I’m thinking about, I want to do it my way, or what I believe would be the right way. And, and the big takeaway here is meet these people where they’re at. And sometimes you need to up your game and put on the shirt and tie and put on the suit. And, and, and meet them there. And sometimes it’s, Hey, let’s let’s meet over a beer and have a very casual conversation. So in the end, with a communication, it’s not about you. And a successful communicator has to have all these tools available, that they can very quickly adapt to what’s going on and find out what’s working, and continue down that road.


Scott D Clary  35:40

And then the last point that you had brought up was respect. And I can see how once once all of this is done properly? Is the respect does that come naturally? Or is that something that you still have to like, because it seems like if you do all these things, that almost should lead to a certain level of respect to the individual, because you’re putting so much time and attention in the way you deliver and the way you communicate? And the words you use and the tone and the and the cadence. So what is the respect piece outside of just delivering everything to the best of your ability for the first three.


Lt. Scott Tillema  36:11

For me, respect is about emotion. And a lot of people believe that we make decisions based on thought and reason and being rational. And I think that that’s, that doesn’t play nearly as much into how we make decisions as people might think. So when I talk about respect, of course, we’re going to be polite and how we deliver this. But think about how we can foster these emotions. And it’s not about wanting to be understood. Instead, I want to create the freedom and the autonomy for the person I’m talking with to make their own decisions. Because if I force them into a yes or no answer, how am I ever going to get them to go through with this? If this is in a police negotiation? They might say yes, just to get me to go away a little bit. But how am I then going to get them to get off the couch, put the gun down and come out of the house, or come out of the room, or whatever. And the same thing in business negotiations? How are you going to get them to go through with this and do their very best to hold up their end of the deal. So you get the best product, the best agreement, however, that negotiation is working out. So I think about two big emotional triggers that I always want to keep at the forefront of my mind when I’m having a negotiation or conversation with somebody. And that’s going to be autonomy and fairness. In in police negotiations. In an effort to limit the options of the other side, you’ll see a SWAT team surround a house, you’ll see a lot of officers kind of locked down an area. So this person’s not free to leave, you have the fight the flight, the freeze, and when you take away the flight where they can’t get out of there now they’re they’re limited and what their options are. And I think how terrible is that? For somebody who is used to being in control. They’re used to having all the freedom in the world, and we just taken that away from them? How do we respect their autonomy and their freedom, and they still respect them as a person. So I always want to present this with options, I’m never going to tell them, you need to do this. Nobody likes to be told what to do in any contest. But if I can phrase it in a question, hey, when you come out, would you prefer to come out the back door or the side door. Now for me, it might all be the same, it doesn’t matter. Perhaps that the operational tactical chemo one amount, one side or another. But if I can give them that little bit of freedom, and that little bit of choice and influence over their own life, that goes a long way for their, for them to feel respected, because hey, this person respects my autonomy, I’m still in control. I made this decision for myself, and not someone else. And then the second big emotional trigger that I always try to work with is the fairness piece. We don’t like being treated fairly. And no matter what it is, if we feel we’re treated unfairly, we’re going to stay with this and it’s going to bother us for a good long time. One example that I’m going through right now, I bought some batteries from a major battery manufacturer, and there’s a $5 rebate that you get. And this is these are the biggest scams on Earth these reeving so this battery company owes me five bucks, and right and this is months ago, and I’ve sent emails and emails and you think what is $5 of your time? What is your peace of mind? But this is stuck on me because I feel I haven’t been treated fairly. So I think through the logic of why why are you wasting your time your email and your thought Why does this even come across your mind? Simple it’s not fair. So what I teach people is this, a great line that I like to use in negotiation is really, really simple. And I tell them, I’m not even negotiation as, as a supervisor in the police world, I’ve used this many times with great success, when you’re dealing with somebody who might be upset for a variety of reasons, you say, You know what, one thing that I can assure you is that I’m going to treat you fairly. And if at any point in this conversation, you feel that I’m treating you unfairly, I want you to stop me right then and we’re going to fix it right away. And what a great empowering thing to say to someone. And what a very empowering thing to hear. Maybe you don’t have influence over the final outcome. But if you feel you’ve been treated fairly in the process, and that you had some autonomy, and some freedom and some input toward the final result, you’re going to be fully on board with the result, whatever it might be.


Scott D Clary  40:55

I like that a lot. I really, really liked that statement. That’s something that I think in a business negotiation, or even not even trying to kill, I think businesses and like close a deal. But think about all the times you’re dealing with upset individuals in a business. Yeah, that would, that’s very, very empowering employees, you know, customers. There’s so you know, even now, actually, this is a this is a question that I want to ask. I think about this for relationships. So not everybody here is in the position in a business where they’re dealing with, you know, very difficult communication. Well, I think, actually, to be quite honest, at some point in everybody’s career, they’ll have to speak or negotiate with a boss or something uncomfortable, or, you know, appear coworker or a customer doesn’t matter. But let’s take it a step back, say, you know, maybe not in the business, even in a relationship. Is this something? If you’re trying to discuss something with your spouse? Is this something that you can use? Or does it seem too robotic? If you said something like that?


Lt. Scott Tillema  41:55

This is it. This makes sense. And I think that most spouses have trained police negotiators know what’s coming, when when I go to say emotion labeling, oh, you sound really upset. They know what’s coming. They know that I’m trying to label the emotion. My wife doesn’t like that one bit. So after a while, when you have somebody who knows some of these techniques, maybe they’re not as, as useful all the time. But I think back in every time I have a problem in my relationship with with my wife, which like everybody else, I’m sure is frequent. You think back to which one of these areas has gone wrong? did? Did I not take time to understand what she was saying? Was the timing bad? am I watching a football game right now? And she’s telling me, hey, you need to go out and do this. The timings wrong? Well, that’s why that failed. He asked me to take the garbage out, right as they were going for it on fourth down. I didn’t hear anything. You had to say the timing was wrong. The delivery, I get in trouble, not because I asked for this to happen. But hey, you you said it rude. You didn’t say it politely? You didn’t. You sounded upset. So it’s a delivery fail. And then the respect, this is a big autonomy violation saying, you know, I’m asking the kids to do something that she can jump and say, No, we’re doing it like this. Alright, why am I upset is a respect thing. It’s an autonomy violation. So anybody in any relationship, I want your listeners to take this and take these four areas and say, every time something goes wrong, whether it be your personal relationship, internal communication at work, problem with a sale or some outside connection, find which one of these four areas didn’t work, and see if that makes sense. See if, if that fits into one of these categories up, you know, what I didn’t take time to understand, or I’m upset because they didn’t take time to understand me, whichever one it might be. And I would bet in a majority of these situations is going to fit into one of these things. And once you have that framework of understanding, Ah, now I know, here’s where the problem is. I’m going to build on some of these techniques to use so I can properly address


Scott D Clary  44:04

and that’s another really good segue, how do you this seems like for somebody listening to like, okay, that makes sense. But like, holy shit, like, that’s a lot of stuff to like, think about every time I speak to somebody. So how do you start? How do you like, what’s the first step? So that you just don’t give give up on cause like thinking about four things every time you have a conversation? If you if it’s not natural? It can seem very daunting, in my opinion. How would you how would you just start incorporating this is there like an easy way to sort of check yourself in certain conversations or is just something that sort of dive into


Lt. Scott Tillema  44:42

and it will be easy, it will be easy, and then just like anything, eventually it’s going to become second nature and you can analyze things as they’re happening. For now. Take take a problem that you’ve experienced, and then step away from it and reflect on it once it’s over and kind of go back and give it a little psychological autopsy and figure out where did it go wrong? What was the problem, and then come back to it and say, Hey, Scott, last time I was on your podcast, I felt that it went very, very poorly, because I didn’t take time to understand what it is you were saying, or I felt it went very, very poorly, because I was delivering my content in a way that seemed to upset you, it didn’t seem to sit very well. And I want to apologize for that. And now I come back with a different strategy and delivery. So it’s okay to do this analysis after the fact. But if you keep focusing on this, you become very, very good at it. And you can see where things are going wrong and adapt to that and make those adjustments in real time. And again, if you can do this in a professional setting where you have a coach and you have a team to support you, that’s when you become very, very powerful. Because nothing employees negotiation is done like it is in the movie where you have one, Kevin Spacey, superhero negotiator that’s going to knock it all out by himself. It takes a team. So put your ego aside and be willing to accept that coaching, be willing to accept that feedback and work as a team to say, you know, here are the areas that we need to improve on that I need to improve on that you need to improve on and be willing to get that feedback. I think that’s so important, an area that a lot of us have trouble taking in.


Scott D Clary  46:25

I like that a lot. I wanted to touch on one more point that that I guess can sort of weave in between all of these all of these subjects, I want to speak about nonverbal communication. So I’m going to ask, although I have my opinion, I think it’s very important, but how important is nonverbal communication? And also, actually, let’s start with that, because I just want to understand how to sort of read into nonverbal communication clues. So how important is nonverbal,


Lt. Scott Tillema  46:56

completely important? 100%? Absolutely, everything. And I think people are starting to see that as now we interact with people wearing masks. And this has become very common, and I don’t like it at all. Because I can’t get enough information. When my boss comes into my office, and she’s telling me this, this and this, I can’t see her face, I can’t see if this is a smile, I can’t see if this is a straight line book. If it’s a menacing directive, we all lose that communication when we can’t see each other’s faces. So expressions are super important. Body language, super important. And I think that for great communication, it’s really important to do it face to face. Now in the police world. I don’t like doing face to face when somebody is holding a gun to their head. And I’ve done that on a couple of occasions. But it really puts my safety in jeopardy a little bit. Now, that’s not really a problem that you’re going to have in the business world. But if you can see and study the nonverbals and the facial expressions, you’re going to be really, really powerful. There’s a couple leaders in the field. Paul Ekman, Joe Navarro, Chase Hughes, I’m actually reading a book right now by Chase huge, Hughes that ellipsis manual. And he’s got 22 different pieces of nonverbals that that we do. And within those, they’re each one or a lot of them have subsections of each. So I think for people who aren’t reading emotions, through expressions, and through body language, you’re missing out in two different areas. First of all, you can’t read what somebody else is telling you. And second, you don’t know what you’re telling the other side. But people who are really good at this, I can make sure that my nonverbals line up with my verbals. And then I become very convincing and very powerful because everything is very consistent. And then when I know how to read this, if I see the inconsistencies, then I start to think there’s deception here, they’re not being truthful, or they’re not being completely open. And when this is in the negotiation context, you could be losing millions and millions of dollars, because you missed the the contempt microexpression you miss the adjustment and the chair, the arms, what are the hands doing? Where are the eyes looking? This is going to cost you so much money. So take the time to read these books to go to these classes and invest. I think it’s absolutely fantastic to study behavior analysis to study how we can engineer behavior that we want. I think it’s absolutely terrific. And and it’s everything. It’s absolutely everything and for people who are not on board with this, you’re you’re missing. You’re missing I’m talking


Scott D Clary  49:42

now. So great that that’s good. But what like for us we had this entire conversation we’re not on video right now and I actually I like doing on video because I can read facial expressions and I’m not a master of nonverbal cues by any means. But I do still feel like when I when I’m speaking someone faces face, it’s a little bit easier to be comfortable with them. Like, you know, when we’re doing this conversate when we’re having this conversation, we’re doing it, you know, over Skype? Is there is there inflections in the voice you can hear like, when is there a point where I think there is, but I’m asking you, is there a point where you felt like I was more comfortable speaking to you? Is that something that you can pick up on? If you spend enough time even with nonverbal?


Lt. Scott Tillema  50:22

I think we can even without seeing each other, just the inflections? Absolutely, it happens. And you can probably analyze it in yourself. If people don’t believe this, I would say just hit the record button and record yourself doing the podcast. And I probably have the same evolution throughout the time that we’ve been talking to here today, that that I’ve gotten more comfortable. And we can all recognize this in in the inflections and how we say it. So even without seeing it, the pauses, how are we pausing, what what is emphasized the rate, the rhythm, the cadence, all this stuff in the delivery that I spoke about earlier, goes a long way in really conveying what it is you want to convey. And I would maybe make the point to say, use all of this to your advantage, because I know where I’m poor in communication. One area that I’m really, really bad at is keeping a poker face, my good friends would love to play poker with me, because they know they would destroy. Because when I see something that I like, the smiles come in, and it’s common in a big way. I’m happiest can be and there’s no way around it. I’m like a child. I mean, people wonder, you know, how can you function in the professional world when you have no control over your smile and your emotional state? So I think you know, what, maybe, would there be times that it would be beneficial for me, knowing that this is an area that I’m not so good at, to work over the phone with somebody or work over email, because I’m going to mask my weakness and use it to my advantage. So something to think about in the self understanding and giving some thoughts of where can I protect myself from from my vulnerabilities?


Scott D Clary  52:03

I like that. No. Would you would you also, though, argue that if you can own your vulnerabilities, and they no longer are vulnerabilities, if you if you just come across as authentic, is that? Is it? Or is that just like, you know, like wishful thinking?


Lt. Scott Tillema  52:19

i Yeah, it might be more wishful thinking, because I can say, You know what, I’m really, really bad in this area. But I know it, you know, just take a baseball analogy, you know, I’m really, really bad at hitting a curveball, and I know it, so I’m gonna own it, that doesn’t make me any better at hitting the curveball, I’m still gonna need to step up to the plate and get the job done. So to some extent, you know, in a negotiation in a conversation, there are certain things that you can control. But there’s a lot that you cannot, and you don’t want someone else to exploit this, and I could exploit it in a very polite, friendly kind of way. So you feel, you know, I’m being very respectful of that. But at the same time, I’m going to the well over and over and over again, and using this to my complete advantage. And you don’t want that. So not only should you be aware of it, but go ahead and work on that and work to fix that. So you can be even stronger for your next conversation.


Scott D Clary  53:13

Good stuff. Um, is there anything that you had discussed in the TEDx talk that you that you wanted to highlight today that we didn’t discuss sort of like the open floor over to you,


Lt. Scott Tillema  53:23

I think that you’ve covered the big principles. And for people who are just kind of hearing about this, or have heard about this, and are interested in doing this, there’s a lot of good literature to read a lot of good books to read, there’s a lot of good videos to watch. But at the end of the day, knowledge is one thing, but putting into practice, and doing it is a whole different ballgame. I was very lucky to have completed the Chicago triathlon a couple of years back, and I was pretty decent at running and pretty decent at biking. But I’m not much of a swimmer other than sitting at the pool with a beer in my hand. So I needed to learn how to swim. So I started by watching Michael Phelps videos. And this dude is awesome. And I saw what he was doing. And in my mind, I’m doing the exact same thing and I got it down. But then I had to go jump in the pool. So make that step, take that uncomfortable step of now I need to try this. Now. I need to put this into practice. And it’s okay to fail. It’s okay to not succeed at everything we do. But that’s what’s going to make you better. So for anyone who says, You know what, this might be a little bit overwhelming to maybe learn the eight skills of active listening and try to use one of these every so often. Yeah, it might not work out it might not fail. And just because you have the knowledge doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at it. But don’t be afraid. Don’t let your fear overwhelm you to the point where you can’t function and you’re not willing to try because wherever people are at in their journey to negotiation excellence and I would trust that you have some listeners right now who are way better at this stuff than I am. My hope is that wherever they’re at in their journey, that this can add a little bit more value to help you get a little bit better, a little bit smarter a little bit quicker to have even better outcomes in their negotiations.


Scott D Clary  55:13

Yeah, I agree. And I think that it’s something that I think I, you know, I’m gonna go back and listen to this after it’s over and take some notes, because I think I have to be more again, it’s being that self aware. Right. And I think that I think that a lot of us, you know, just sort of jump into conversations like bull in china shop. And you mentioned, you know, I prepare the content. Well, I do prepare content, even for these and this, I’m just, you know, the the podcast context, not the sales contact. I do prepare content, I prepare thoroughly. But there’s other points that could come naturally to some, I think some of this comes naturally to people that are, like, are gifted, but I don’t think it’s something that is I don’t think communication style, effective communication style is something that a lot of people focus on, or enough people focus on. In my experience, I think,


Lt. Scott Tillema  56:05

even if they’re very good, yeah, no, you can even get better. You can even get better. Don’t ever get complacent.


Scott D Clary  56:11

Very good.


Scott  56:13

A couple a couple wrap of questions that I like, and you kind of already touched on those. But I always like asking, they’re sort of like life lesson insight questions from, you know, the variety of people that I have on. So, you know, I guess one lesson that you would, you would tell your younger self that sort of helped you get to where you are, would help you get to where you are quicker and more comfortably, professional, personal something, something that you tell yourself,


Lt. Scott Tillema  56:41

I think one of the big things is always prepare for opportunities. We don’t know when and where these opportunities are going to come from. But if you are not prepared to step through that door, it doesn’t matter if the door is going to open or not, if you’re not ready to take this step. So always, always work on preparing yourself for wherever it is you want to go to be as great as you want to be quite, you have to prepare, we might not have the control over when that opportunity is going to come or if it ever comes at all. But when it comes, if you’re not ready, that’s where you’re going to miss. So to have the mindset, the growth mindset, to find excellence, to be ready for that opportunity. It could lead to great things. And when you have the opportunity, take it don’t let fear, control your decision of Ah, maybe maybe I’m not ready for it. That fear of failure, get rid of it, and go for it and see what you can


Scott D Clary  57:40

  1. Was that was that the conversation you had when you when you did the TEDx?


Lt. Scott Tillema  57:44

No, the conversation I had was I was certain it was one of my co workers messing with me. There is no way that that TED is calling me because I wasn’t doing this. I mean, outside of a very limited scope of police training. This is not what I do. I mean, this is not my thing at all. So I was certainly I had a couple people for sure that we’re in on this, that they’re messing with me, they’re gonna wait for me to get excited and be like, Alright, I’m doing it, and then they were gonna let me know. No, we’re just messing with you. So. So my first thought was, you know, this isn’t real. And police have terrific, terrific senses of humor. So I just figured it was all just a big job.


Scott D Clary  58:22

I love it. And and the last question I like to ask is, where do you go to to learn? You mentioned some good books. Is there anything else any other outlets, podcasts that you’re tuned into right now? Other good books, you know, other mentors that you’ve that you’ve listened to that can sort of be agnostic of, of industry or, you know, job title that people should go check


Lt. Scott Tillema  58:46

out? Yeah, there’s so many great books that I read, and so many great leaders right now. I’m big into behavior. So a little bit outside negotiation with Eggman Navarro cues. That’s kind of what I’m really working on right now. Because it’s there’s a change in negotiation from being over the phone to now we can it’s very 3d. So these are skills we have to take on. But in negotiation, George Cole Reser, Professor of leadership, psychologist and negotiator has some really really good books and videos out there hostage at the table is his book and I thought that was a pretty powerful book that brought in psychology leadership and negotiation. I was part of his his class in person class not too long ago. You had mentioned Chris Boss, he’s he’s a probably the biggest name Ambassador right now. Coming out of police negotiation field crossing into business. He’s got some really good stuff and I’m FBI training. He’s FBI. So I find that what I know is very consistent to what he teaches. I work with the Shriner Nichols Mediation Institute, they have a lot of great material out there. So take some time grab book, it starts with one book one video and build that interest. And I, my negotiation library could keep people busy for the next couple years. But that’s a couple things just to get started.


Scott D Clary  1:00:16

Good. Thank you. And where do where do they? Where do they go to find you if they want to get in touch? Or can they get in touch? And we’re sorry? Yeah,


Lt. Scott Tillema  1:00:24

of course. Yeah. Yeah, man, that’s a cool thing. I’m a police officer. I’m not I’m not I don’t have a book to sell you. I don’t even have my own website for you to go and check out. I’ve got a profile on LinkedIn. Be happy to connect with anybody on LinkedIn. I have a couple videos on YouTube. My TED talk is the secrets of hostage negotiators. Feel free to check that out. I do corporate training through the Shriner negotiation Institute. And I’m a professional speaker with a big speak, speaker’s bureau. So you can find me on those websites, big speed calm, be happy to connect with all of your audience and all of your connections. And really, I’d be excited to learn from them, how they might use this, how they use this, or ideas that they have on how to make this model a little bit better, so I can steal your expertise to bring it back into policing, so we can turn that around and save lives.


Scott D Clary  1:01:17

That’s all for today. Thanks again for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast. You can download or stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available, including iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I heart, radio, and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already. Please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes takes about 30 seconds as it allows other people to find our podcast and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message. And remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott Clary from the success story podcast, signing off

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