How much time do we spend thinking about the daily negotiations we go through with our family and employees? The answer is probably not a great deal. But we’ll spend longer preparing for a negotiation taking place over a large business deal. Chris Voss believes the skills he learned as a top FBI negotiator can pay dividends for anybody from the head of a billion-dollar corporation to the small business owner looking for a better deal on a few products in his book, Never Split the Difference.
The book throws out some impressive points and makes it clear that negotiations can make all the difference to the small tasks undertaken each day and the overall success of a company. Among the different ways you will learn to negotiate are mirror the words, demeanor, and body language of those you are looking to deal with. Mirroring the body language of individuals has been written about before but perhaps not as a strategy for negotiating. Putting the other party involved in a negotiation at ease would seem like a good option because they will be more willing to open up to you. Another highly recommended book on negotiation is Winning Through Intimidation.
Chris Voss is trying to tell us that learning as much as possible about another person while negotiating is the best option for an entrepreneur to achieve their goals. In reading the book you may be a little shocked at some of the ideas behind the work of Voss and Raz, but the more you read the more you’ll believe they provide an excellent way of negotiating for success in all aspects of life.
One of the most impressive aspects of the book is the idea that learning as much as possible about the person you are wanting to negotiate with is a great idea. Feeling empathy for those who are also involved in the negotiation is not only a good idea on a human level but it can also make negotiation easier for us all to complete. This is a key to Ken Langone’s success in his book I Love Capitalism!
You may appreciate the honesty of Chris Voss in the book as he explains the way he used techniques in his work with the FBI. Knowing the techniques have been tried and tested during international negotiations that involved the lives of people gives them more power, or credibility, or a seal of approval than cannot be found from an average author. This credibility is perhaps only match by Navy SEAL Jocko Willink and his book Extreme Ownership.
As mentioned, feeling empathy for those you are negotiating with is vital, but showing emotion in your own voice is not something he recommends. Voss refers to the voice that is most useful in a negotiation is that of a late-night FM Radio DJ that is soft and soothing enough to give the person you are negotiating with a feeling of safety and security that will allow them to move forward with negotiations and feel comfortable in your presence. This is the kind of thing that only an FBI negotiator could say believably.
The authors bring many different business models to the ideas being presented in the book. By linking the strategies used by the FBI's team of negotiators to the work completed by well-known business researchers and strategists you’ll likely feel comfortable taking the ideas presented in the book into your real-world negotiations. Ideas like:
Taking any of the strategies detailed by Chris Voss into your negotiations will likely have a positive impact on most aspects of your career and perhaps your life. Voss presents his case for using the skills he perfected with the FBI as a negotiator professionally and impressively that compels us to take note of his ideas.