Negotiation, Communication & Body Language Tactics To Upgrade Your Life & Relationships, With Former FBI Negotiator Chris Voss.

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Lifestyle, Mind-Spirit, Podcast, Podcast-new, Relationships, Self-Development

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Envision a situation, whether in your personal life or professional endeavors, where you were eager to negotiate effectively but fell short, leaving all parties involved feeling dissatisfied.

Now, reimagine that same scenario with the benefit of training from a former FBI lead negotiator. How might that conversation have unfolded differently, leading to a more successful outcome for everyone?

Today's guest, Chris Voss, is a renowned author, dynamic speaker, and expert in the art of negotiation. Using captivating stories, insights, and useful tips for business and everyday life, he guides those who want to improve their negotiation skills. Chris has lectured on negotiation at business schools across the country and has been seen on ABC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News. Chris has also been featured in Forbes, TIME, Fast Company, and Inc.

During his tenure from 1986 to 2000, Chris served as a member of the New York City Joint Terrorism Task Force. His responsibilities included investigating the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, monitoring the New York City landmark bomb plot, and serving as the “co-case agent” during the investigation of the 1996 TWA Flight 800 explosion.

Chris spent 24 years working in the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit and was the FBI's chief international hostage and kidnapping negotiator from 2003 to 2007. In 2006, he demonstrated his expertise as the lead negotiator in two high-profile cases: the Jill Carroll case in Iraq and the Steve Centanni case in the Gaza Strip. Additionally, he supervised hostage cases in the Philippines, Colombia, and Haiti. Throughout his career with the FBI, he worked on more than 150 international hostage cases.

After retiring from the FBI in 2007, Chris founded The Black Swan Group, a consultancy and training firm specializing in negotiation skills. His experiences have led him to share his knowledge as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and as a lecturer at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He is also a co-author of the book Never Split The Difference, which challenges traditional negotiation strategies. His other written works include The Full Fee Agent and Empathy and Understanding In Business. As a leading authority in negotiation tactics and strategies, he created and narrated a MasterClass, “The Art of Negotiation,” in 2019.

Enhancing your negotiation skills can lead to better outcomes, stronger relationships, and increased effectiveness in various situations. So, if you're ready to completely transform your negotiation approach, join me and Chris as we uncover the secrets behind tactical empathy, mirroring, labeling, and other strategies that can revolutionize your negotiations.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-Who is Chris Voss?…06:15

-How did Chris come up with the title of the book?…08:00

  • Tahl Raz helped him write the book
    • The working title was Killer Deals
  • Tahl Raz co-authored Never Eat Alone with Keith Ferrazi
  • Tahl suggested a new title Never Split the Difference 
    • Compromise is bad — splitting the difference is lose-lose
  • Chris dislikes the use of the phrase win-win, not the concept
  • Somebody talking about win-win is someone who is really worried about winning
  • What defines a win is how involved people feel in the process

-How did Chris learn negotiation tactics?…10:42 

  • At first, he was rejected when he applied to be a negotiator
    • Had no history, no resume, no credentials, no education
    • “Never take advice from someone you wouldn't trade places with”
  • He started volunteering on the suicide hotline
  • Emotional intelligence is not riding a bike
    • It's not a skill that you acquire and then keep forever
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
  • Body language should be entirely separate from communication skills
  • When he was young, Elon Musk read several different books at a time 
    • Looking for universal principles
  • Chris learned a lot on the crisis hotline and applied it on the streets
  • Education is taking what someone has already learned and applying it in your life
  • 20-minute limit on a suicide hotline phone call
    • Learned that this was an accelerator of communication

-What made Chris good at his job?…14:29

-What does a typical negotiation look like?…17:19

  • There are 3 types of crisis/siege negotiations
    1. Spontaneous
    2. Planned
    3. Prepared for
  • Chase Manhattan Bank Robbery with hostages
    • Chris came after 2 hours
    • Some sort of communication was already established
  • Getting on the phone with the distressed person and becoming their therapist
  • The hardest negotiations are when the person talks to you but has no intention of making a deal
    • Happens in business all the time
    • In law enforcement, it's called suicide by cop 
  • The toughest negotiations
    • Kidnappings that went bad
    • Orchestrated murders with zero chance to save the hostage

-What are the biggest mistakes people make when negotiating?…20:54  

  • Not listening to the other side
    • Very few people know how to listen
  • People do not have tolerance for those who fail to listen to them
  • A story of buying a Toyota 4Runner
    • Chris threw out a very low price
    • Used tactical empathy to get the seller to lower the price
    • He never budged on his price, and he got it

-What is tactical empathy, an accusation audit, and labeling?…23:07 

  • Empathy is the demonstration of understanding
    • It's not sympathy or agreement
    • You don't have to like the other side to be empathic
    • Being able to articulate how they see things — knowing how they see it is not enough
  • The Black Swan Method
  • Tactical empathy is realizing how the brain is wired
  • Your default wiring is survival mode — largely negative
  • Success mode is positive
  • The powerful accusation audit strategy
    • An audit of all the accusations they might make against you, not yours to them
    • After naming all the accusations, you go silent
    • That makes you a straight shooter
    • Calling it out deactivates and inoculates
  • How to show you are listening?
    • By paraphrasing what they said or labeling how they felt
  • The difference between mirroring and paraphrasing
    • Paraphrasing is taking what they said and putting it in your own words
    • Mirroring is repeating almost exactly word for word from 1–3 words — showing them that you heard their words
  • Every word has an emotional impact
  • The word “I” is very self-centered
  • Labeling is throwing a verbal label on an emotion that you're picking up
    • Using the phrase “It feels like…”
  • Labeling is the most flexible skill

-What is the problem with the phrase “I'm telling myself right now that you're frustrated”?…36:27

  • Empathy is seeing how the other side sees things
  • The closer you are to somebody, the more times you've inadvertently wounded them, the higher their expectations are of you
  • You are making the other person's perception a story you’ve been telling yourself
  • Not acknowledging their feelings
  • Don’t be afraid to know how your significant other sees things

-What is a calibrated question?…39:11

  • A calibrated question is designed to induce thinking more than to get an answer
  • Confronting a person with what they said but with respect and without accusations
  • The calibrated question is designed to shift your thinking to a certain place
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • Slow thinking is in-depth thinking
    • Giving a “stop in your tracks” question
  • The secret to gaining the upper hand in a negotiation is giving people the illusion of control
  • Being out of control makes people anxious and not being collaborative takes away trust
  • Two types of calibrated questions:
    1. “What?” — identifying obstacles
    2. “How?” — finding a solution and implementing
  • “How” questions, in particular, can be very assertive
    • Empathy should precede assertion

-How do you use people saying “no” to your advantage?…43:43

  • It's kind of like a “Pavlov's dog” response
  • The word “no” is a safe word
  • Once people say “no” they tend to rethink their decision
  • “No” makes you feel safe and protected from any outcomes
    • Tends to think through more easily
  • “Yes” makes you more anxious
    • “What have I let myself get into?” “What are the traps?”
  • People say “no” more often when they have decision fatigue
    • It helps them feel safe and protected
  • Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher
    • The book is an academic read and very hard to apply

-What is the importance and accuracy of body language?…49:25

  • There's a lot of information from body language
  • Reading body language is highly inaccurate
  • You have to follow up on what is going on in the head
  • Labeling the body language to find out what's going on
  • Training yourself to send a certain message through your body language
  • Manipulation can be effective short-term but can ruin the trust in negotiations
  • Everything can be used for good and evil

-What are the do's and don'ts of digital interaction?…53:16

  • If the camera is off, people are multitasking and not listening
  • Walking is a great way to process information
  • If there's too much information coming, you need time to process
  • How to manage your brain to soak in as much information as possible
  • A lot of the skills of tactical empathy are about going back over the ground to pick up what you may have missed
  • Managing your attention and understanding what's distracting is critical to focus
  • Multiparty Zoom calls and picking up unguarded body language of the person who's not speaking

-How does education impact the development of negotiation skills?…59:11

  • Homeschooling versus Montessori versus private versus public schooling
  • Top performers are going to want to learn no matter where they were taught

-What is the “60 seconds or she dies” negotiation simulation?…1:00:19

  • YouTube channel
  • Mock Negotiation: 60 Seconds or She Dies — a part of Chris Voss’s masterclass
  • A simulation of a hostage negotiation
  • Labeling takes you a long way
  • Explaining how humans react — neuroscience vs. the speculation of psychology
    • Neuroscience is pretty much a hard science
  • The exercise — mock phone call from a hostage and you have 60 seconds to negotiate
    • Labeling — the most successful tactic in that situation 
  • The Black Swan Group
  • A black swan is the impact of the highly improbable
    • Black swans are the pieces of information that change everything
    • The tiny little behaviors that are invisible but can change everything
  • What Chris Voss’s clinics look like:
    • 2-day immersive training — Diamond Training
    • 1-day training — Specialized Topics
  • The primary demographics are entrepreneurs

-What are the 3 books that have been most informative to Chris?…1:04:43 

-And much more…

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Chris Voss:

– Podcast:

– Books:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Chris Voss or me? Leave your comments below, and one of us will reply!

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One thought on “Negotiation, Communication & Body Language Tactics To Upgrade Your Life & Relationships, With Former FBI Negotiator Chris Voss.

  1. Elizabeth Hutchinson says:

    I need your support if possible a reply asap?

    I have to provide my birth certificate for a new job. They wont hire me unless i bring it the first of work.
    I have to negotiate a good reason to convince them I am a US citizen….I am a US citizen….I have my drivers license and my social security card..I have always used this for a new job and they were acceptable.
    They said it was a govt contract job that is why I needed it. I had worked at other govt comapnies that did not require my birth certificate. I am upset…I have very little monies to get to the state i was born in to pick up my birth certoficate. I am poor….I am needing negotiation skills to convince them I am a US citizen without my birth certificate. I have it being processed in the mail sent to me, however it will not arrive in time for my first day of work! They told me i could start a later date however what if I dont recieve my birth certifcate in time? They implid they would not pursue hiring me….I showed them my receipt of my birth certificate being processed and the arrival convince them it is me and that I need them to hire me…what else can I do. I have an expired passport that I can renew they are asking over 700 to fedex to me…I just dont know what to do? I want to start my first day on Feb 26th,..if you have an answer to help me…i feel discriminated against…

    contact me asap please.

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