What is negotiation? 
How do hostage negotiators for the FBI negotiate?

Chriss Voss – A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations in Never split the difference.

Conflict is inevitable. To be adequately skilled and equipped to negotiate your needs and desires from others is a critical and necessary skill. There has been a lot of books about negotiation, like the famous business book Getting to yes, However, in this book, the author address negotiation from a different, field-tested approach. 

Psychologists show that humans are very irrational and emotional beasts. Humans suffer from cognition biases (loss aversion, frame effects,…)

Chriss allocates immense energies towards entering and understanding the emotional and psychological dimensions of others. 


    • The art of letting someone else have your way.
    • Very unpredictable.
    • Serves two distinct, vital life functions: (1) Information gathering (2) Behavior influence.
    • Process of discovery, not a battle – strive to uncover information.
    • Playing field beneath the words.
    • “Walking on a tight rope” – Concentrate on the next step.
    • Defined by a network of subterranean desires and needs.
We are almost always acting and reacting, first and foremost from our deeply held, but mostly invisible 

fears, needs, perceptions, and desires – We are creatures of perception. 

Negotiation techniques:
    • Listening: Demonstrate empathy show a sincere desire to better understand others. Listen as a martial art, balancing subtle behaviors of emotional intelligence and assertive skills of influence – Gain access to the mind of others.
    • Voice: The tone of voice is almost 30% of the communication – stick with positive and easy-going.
    • Smile
    • Truth oriented: Our minds act on cognition bias for consistency rather than truth.
    • Mirroring: Intention should be “PLEASE help me understand you” – speech pattern, body language, vocabulary, tempo, tone.
    • Tactical empathy: Understand the feeling and mindset of others. Hear what’s behind the feeling – pay attention to potential pathways.
    • Labeling: Label their emotions.
    • No: Invite a no – Provides a temporary safety and comfortable ground – Focus on what you and your counterpart actually want.
    • The illusion of control: Humans have a deep universal need for autonomy – Ask them for help.
    • Don’t compromise: No deal is better than a bad deal.
    • Subsume your ego
Mandate a mindset shift – towards more emotional, adaptive, and intuitive. You have got to understand their worldview and their reason for being – On that, you will build influence.
Seeing the subtle psychological strategies and currents below the surface is critical, for both you and your counterpart. What blindness you have over your worldview, and what his narrative and worldview are about. learn to be yourself at the table.
In each negotiation as in life, there are “Black Swans” – Unknown unknowns. We are all blind to some degree. Your counterpart always has pieces of information they don’t understand their value.
Unearth, adapt to, and seize the unknowns.
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