Convince Me…or Else: A Real, Live Crash Course in FBI High-Stakes Communication

This is a one-of-a-kind complete immersion role playing event. The experience is designed to dramatically enhance critical thinking and build convincing and strategic skills.

Offered just twice a year, this class is only open to corporate booking.

The phone rings…

You pick up. On the other end of the line is a stranger with a thick accent. He sounds angry and unhinged. He mutters something about a manifesto and how America is finally going to pay for her sins. He isn’t kidding: He’s locked inside a national bank with 21 hostages…and a bomb.

How do you talk him out of pushing the detonator and killing everyone? What strategies can you use to defuse him – and the situation –and save innocent lives? How do you keep from making a deadly mistake that will cost you your career and reputation?


Everything. Because the skills it takes to talk this guy out of blowing himself and 21 innocent people to kingdom come can give you the upper hand in any business situation, no matter how intense the crisis or negotiation or how high the stakes.

Chip and Adele can teach you and your team the skills it takes to talk a terrorist from blowing up a room full of people. These are the exact same skills it takes to:

  • Get hyper-focused on your #1 objective, quickly and effectively.
  • Think fast, assess clearly and confidently, and take the appropriate action.
  • Make timely, appropriate decisions every step of the way.
  • Earn trust in a sensitive negotiation by communicating from a “we” instead of a “you” point of view.
  • Handle anyone’s roiling emotions so you can negotiate with clarity, precision, and calmness.
  • Discover the fluidity of just-in-time teamwork
  • Speed read the opposition.
  • Practice Forensic Listening™ to make people feel heard and better understand them.
  • Defuse conflict and overcome resistance.
  • Nimbly assess a situation so you can navigate it to your advantage.
  • Meteorically grow your support team so everyone performs optimally.
  • Know when to summon the SWAT team–when to deploy the big guns to gain a tactical advantage.


“FBI Hostage Negotiator” is a one and a half-day participation event that immerses you and your team in what the FBI calls an “active situation”. Team members will take turns role-playing as hostage negotiator, coach, intelligence expert, team-leader, investigator, liaison to media/political officials, and other roles. It will be up to you and your team to convince, disarm, overcome, “eliminate,” or otherwise subdue the bad guy and win freedom for our mythical hostages.


To keep things as real as possible and encourage teamwork, this event is limited to 12 players.

“I really enjoyed this learning experience! It was so intense; my heart was in my mouth the whole time! And I just used those FBI negotiation tactics to close a deal I’d been working on for months!”

Danielle M.

“This isn’t your typical team building event! Chip and Adele kept ratcheting up the adrenalin to make us perform at a superior level. We discovered strengths we didn’t know we had, as a team and as individuals.”

Justin T.



Step One

Before the event, the organizers will schedule a call to discuss your goals and your desired outcomes, and the people you want us to particularly focus on during the exercise, if any.

Typical requests might include:

  • Help us create more cohesive teamwork.
  • Give us the skills to have faster response times in a crisis.
  • Empower our team to communicate more clearly to leadership and each other during a crisis.
  • Forge a sense of trust and community among our leadership team.
  • Shore up morale during a challenging situation or after a stumble.
  • Infuse a sense of unity, courage, and innovation among our people.

If none of the above reflects your current needs, we also take custom requests.



Step Two

Chip and Adele will collect bios for everyone on the team. Based on your goals and your team’s dossiers, Chip and Adele will create a customized hostage situation drawn from Chip’s decades-long career as an FBI negotiator.

Step Three

Two weeks before the event, each member of your team will receive a sealed envelope containing an FBI-style briefing on the situation they will face.

When you arrive onsite, we begin at once.

As with a real-world situation, Participants are expected to arrive prepared. Gear related to their role will be waiting for them on site. Roles will be switched up several times during the event so participants can learn different skills. You and your team have eight hours to resolve a multi-faceted crisis or the hostages will die.

The next half day, presented by Adele Cehrs, will be a detailed debrief of the lessons learned and their business applications.

FBI Hostage Negotiator is full of unexpected twists and turns that force individuals into team players – and teams into world class performers. Every person will get to know their strengths and capabilities and those of their teammates. Whatever the outcome, participants will learn from both their wins and their mistakes. Your team will leave with a powerful new skillset to help them grow their careers–and your business.