William Ury’s book Getting Past No contains a five-step model for Hostage Negotiators to follow. It has direct applications to macking.
1. Go to the balcony. The Negotiator doesn’t go anywhere in a literal sense. It means he “steps outside of himself” and imagines being up above, looking down on the scenario. This is a psychological technique that helps Negotiators maintain their cool. They must remain calm and keep a level of emotional detachment. If the Negotiator becomes angry or overly sympathetic, he might deviate from his game plan and act with his heart instead of his head.
2. Step to their side. In most hostage situations, the hostage taker is severely pissed off at someone or something. The Negotiator must make him feel as though they’re traveling down the same road together. He understands what the guy is going through, and would feel the same way if he was in his shoes.
This is the same approach the Mack takes when a woman he is trying to converse with is irritated or upset about something. He’s got to switch her thoughts from negative to positive. According to Ury’s model, this is accomplished with a three-step approach: listen, identify with what they the hostage taker is feeling, and acknowledge it.
3. Change the Game. Next, move the discussion to another subject. You’ve allowed her to vent, you’ve empathized, but now it’s time to move on just as the Negotiator doesn’t want the hostage taker to dwell on his cheating wife, since it will only make him more upset.
Make this next topic something fun and interesting. Now is a good time to discuss one of your Favorites, or pose a Hypothetical that takes her mind completely off her problem.
4/5. Build a Golden Bridge / Make It Hard To Say No.
Negotiators sometimes refer to this as “building a bridge of yesses.” They never want to make it easy for the hostage taker to say the word “no,” because that puts the hostage taker in a position of power.
If the Negotiator asks “Will you come outside now?”, the hostage taker can easily refuse. He has any number of reasons not to come outside. He’s worried about being shot by the cops, getting shipped off to prison, etc. He can only imagine worst-case scenarios.
Now you lay out a scenario that addresses and eliminates her concerns: “Here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to call you tomorrow night around seven, because you told me you go to bed early during the week. Then we can talk about getting together for dinner soon at this really cute little Italian restaurant I found, that has the best spaghetti and meatballs you’ve ever had in your life. I know you mentioned you love Italian food. It’s going to be incredible food, fun conversation, no strings attached.”
You’ve built a “yes” bridge. You’ve stated your intentions, led her down a road of positivity, and painted a positive scenario instead of letting her mind dwell on negative possibilities.