Chris Voss

When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to your highest level of preparation. So design an ambitious but legitimate goal and then game out the labels, calibrated questions, and responses you’ll use to get there. That way, once you’re at the bargaining table, you won’t have to wing it.

Chris Voss

Who has control in a conversation, the guy listening or the guy talking? The listener, of course. That’s because the talker is revealing information while the listener, if he’s trained well, is directing the conversation toward his own goals. He’s harnessing the talker’s energy for his own ends. […] The art of putting listener’s judo into practice involves remembering four things:

  1. Don’t try to force

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Chris Voss

It’s critical to break the habit of attempting to get people to say “yes”. Being pushed for a “yes” makes people defensive. Our love of hearing “yes” makes us blind to the defensiveness we ourselves feel when someone is pushing us to say it. Though “yes” is the final goal of a negotiation, don’t aim for it at the start.

“No” is not a failure. … [ Read more ]

Chris Voss

Experience has taught great negotiators that they are best served by holding multiple hypotheses—about the situation, about the counterpart’s wants, about a whole array of variables—in their mind at the same time. Present and alert in the moment, they will use all the new information that comes their way to test and winnow true hypotheses from false ones.

In negotiation, each new psychological insight or additional … [ Read more ]

Chris Voss

Don’t treat someone the way you want to be treated—treat them the way they need to be treated based on what’s driving them. How they got to the moment in time where they are across the table from you, and what drove them there, is different than how you got there. What happened to them the night before they encountered you is different than what … [ Read more ]

Life Is Negotiation: Field-Tested Techniques in Emotional Intelligence and Tactical Empathy from an FBI Negotiator

Erase everything you’ve been taught about negotiation. You are not rational; there is no such thing as ‘fair’; compromise is the worst thing you can do; the real art of negotiation lies in mastering the intricacies of No, not Yes. I guarantee if you erase everything you think you know about negotiation and apply these methods in your next conversation, you’ll walk away surprised at … [ Read more ]