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Gary Noesner

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Former Chief Negotiator for the FBI who retired in 2003 following a year-long career as an investigator instructor, and negotiator

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About Gary

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As a leading expert in the field, keynote speaker Gary Noesner has appeared before hundreds of law enforcement and corporate groups talking about Hostage Negotiation, Crisis Management, Kidnapping, Terrorism, and Workplace Violence. He has conducted training seminars and given presentations in all 50 states and over 40 countries around the world, and is regarded as a dynamic and informative speaker.

Keynote speaker Gary Noesner retired from the FBI in 2003 following 30 year career as an investigator, instructor, and negotiator. A significant focus of his career was directed toward investigating Middle East hijackings in which American citizens were victimized. In addition, he was an FBI hostage negotiator for 23 years of his career, spending the last ten years as the Chief Negotiator for the FBI. He retired as the Chief of the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit, Critical Incident Response Group, the first person to hold that position. In that capacity was heavily involved in numerous crisis incidents covering prison riots, right-wing militia standoffs, religious zealot sieges, terrorist embassy takeovers, airplane hijackings, and over 120 overseas kidnapping cases involving American citizens.

Following his retirement from the FBI he became a Senior Vice President with Control Risks, an international risk consultancy, assisting clients in managing overseas kidnapping incidents involving their employees. Gary gives speeches and continues to do management consulting work part-time.

Sought-after speaker Gary Noesner has appeared in numerous television documentaries about hostage negotiation, terrorism, and kidnapping produced by the History Channel, Nat Geo, WE, Discovery, TLC, A&E, CNN, CBS, BBC, American Heroes Network, and others. He has been interviewed in Time, Forbes, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Roll Call, the Washingtonian Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, and other publications. Gary has given speeches at major universities, done numerous radio and television interviews, and was the subject of an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air in 2010.

Speaker Gary Noesner has written a book about his FBI negotiation career which was published by Penguin Random House in 2010, entitled: Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator. The book is being used in part as the basis for a six part mini-series on Waco that will air on the Paramount Network on January 24, 2018.

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    Keynote Topic from Speaker Gary Noesner 

    How You Say It

    In the keynote, Gary identifies key factors that lead to a successful negotiation and relationship building, and uses FBI incident anecdotal story to illustrate the application of each. Audiences will learn:

    • How to examine your engagement with others, it is often the case that how you say something is, at the least, as important as what you say
    • Being empathic by showing respect, compassion, and understanding is always appropriate
    • How someone receives disappointing or bad news is as impactful as the bad news itself
    • Never underestimate the power of a calm soothing voice to resolve conflict, build trust, and create/maintain a positive relationship

    Other Keynote Topics from Speaker Gary Noesner 

    • Negotiations in Life and Work: The Key Elements of Effective Interpersonal Communications

    • Avoid Conflict/Gain Cooperation

    • How to Have Influence at Work and in Life

The Art of Negotiation

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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.

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Keynote topics with Gary Noesner