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This study is based on Rogan and Hammer’s (2002) model of crisis negotiation and focuses on face message behaviour. Saving or losing one’s face is an important issue in crisis negotiation. We suggest that the salience of face issues varies with the type of conflict phase, particularly escalation and de-escalation. Two indicators of face message behaviour were constructed. They are supposed to be sensitive to changes in face messages and to differentiate between different phases of conflict. To validate this supposition, the following assumptions were tested: Negotiators show more face supporting (honour) and less face threatening (attack) behaviour than perpetrators; the level of threatening behaviour is supposed to be higher in escalating than in de-escalating phases; the change from deescalating to escalating phases should be more pronounced for a hostage-taker than for a negotiator. Ten escalating and seven de-escalating phone calls from an authentic hostage-taking were analysed with both measures to test these assumptions. Significant main effects (for both indicators) and interactions (for one of the indicators) were identified, partly confirming our assumptions. Results are discussed against the background of present theories and research.