Interview with Gary Noesner
Why did you join the FBI to begin with?
At the age of 12 I saw a television program about the FBI and decided then that it was the kind of exciting, meaningful, and prestigious profession that I would love to do. My dream came through many years later after completing college when I was accepted into the FBI training program and became a Special Agent.
What types of unique experiences have you had as a result of your profession?
During my lengthy 30 career in the FBI I was able to work a wide variety of interesting and challenging investigations. Most significant were a series of overseas terrorist hijackings in the 80’s in which I was placed in charge of the investigations. Later as a hostage negotiator for many years, I worked overseas kidnap cases, right wing militia standoffs, prison riots, airplane hijackings, and terrorist embassy takeovers.
These high profile and challenging incidents were unique and few FBI agents were fortunate enough to work so many varied and critical incidents. My career enabled me to visit all 50 states and over 40 countries, so my experiences were varied and enriching as a professional.
What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?
I very much enjoy public speaking and always have. Before joining the FBI I was briefly a teacher, and my friends also would suggest I am an bit of an entertainer, so I am able to combine those attributes with my wide spread negotiation experience to both entertain and enlighten audiences on how to communicate effectively to avoid conflict and gain cooperation.
Who or what inspires you most?
I am inspired by anyone who undertakes actions that help others in life. Whether that is in the area of personal relationships, business, or politics, I admire those who put aside their personal ambitions and work toward making this a better life for everyone. I believe in doing something that makes a difference, standing up for what is right, doing the right thing, and being willing to take on the risks of doing so.
What skills are needed to be a good negotiator?
A good negotiator is a good communicator, plain and simple. First you need to be able to exercise a great deal of self-control, to avoid allowing your emotions to block your ability to think and behave in a calm and rational manner to solve problems. Being a good listener is the single biggest skill that good negotiators apply in their work.
I learn nothing when I talk about myself, but if I listen to the problems and concerns of another person, I can then better appreciate their point of view and identify areas where we can work together to achieve compromise where we will both benefit.