London detective and hostage negotiator
Several years ago, our founder, Richard Mullender, was working as a London detective and hostage negotiator. Word of his interviewing skills spread and he was asked to become Lead Trainer at Scotland Yard’s National Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Unit.
Scotland Yard needed to change
So Richard left theory to the backroom boys and introduced an intensely practical approach to teaching life or death listening. By drawing on his experience of negotiating with the Taliban, dealing with extortion threats overseas and diffusing domestic sieges, Richard radically overhauled protocol at Scotland Yard.
Turn information into intelligence
Instead of training rookie hostage negotiators to listen purely for facts and emotions, he delved deeper. He taught them to identify motivators, values and levers. Right down to specific key words that are the most powerful indicators of states of mind. By turning information into intelligence, Richard’s team of negotiators learnt to understand the people they were talking to in a very short space of time. A life-saving skill when negotiating with hostage takers or potential suicides.
United Nations and the FBI
Richard’s eminently practical approach impacted on the global scene too. Hugely influential bodies from the United Nations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation invited him to share insights with them.
Richard established Mullenders
In 2013 Richard met Katie Bleach. With her help they established the training company Mullenders, sharing elite level listening skills with the commercial world. International success quickly followed. The seeds of The Listening Institute were sown.
The corporate world saw the immediate value of
- Understanding the drivers behind clients and colleagues’ attitudes and behaviour.
- Using elite listening skills to uncover their true agendas.
- Using those unique insights to influence outcomes.
An Institute for listening
As the demand for listening skills grew, Richard and Katie assembled their own crack hostage negotiator cell, made up of the most talented British government agents. The team set about creating a curriculum for a teaching organisation with one simple mission: To teach hostage negotiation skills for business.Our courses Talk to us
A colourful life
Battle. Sieges. Extortion. In Richard’s world, you learned quickly, or you paid a heavy price. Richard took those lessons with him on the entrepreneurial trail that led to The Listening Institute. See for yourself.
- Came under fire in Northern Ireland.
- Guarded Rudolf Hess in Berlin’s Spandau Prison.
- Brief stints in the civil service and manufacturing sectors
- Spent a decade as a London detective investigating serious crimes.
- Appointed Lead Trainer at the National Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Unit at Scotland Yard.
- Advised the FBI, the UN, The Indian Secret Services, The Scorpions in Mandela’s South Africa and The World Food Programme
- Joined talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, resulting in the release of three UN workers.
- Contributed to the intelligence that informed the rescue of Norman Kember in Iraq.
- Set up his own training company teaching life or death listening skills to the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
- Fulfilled speaking and training engagements worldwide, helping organisations from Cambridge University to KPMG, and from UBS to PwC, to achieve ambitious outcomes.
- Advised senior media, business and political figures on negotiation strategy at the highest level.
- Established the Listening Institute in response to spiralling demand for elite listening skills training.
- Joined by former police-trained UK hostage negotiator colleagues to form a crack training cell.
- Created a curriculum based on accumulated learnings to date, road tested by cross-sector industry leaders worldwide.