Never Split the Difference Book Summary: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

by Accessory To Success December 23, 2020

Never Split the Difference Book Summary: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

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Main Takeaway

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on it is a book that can help anybody who wants to strike deals in their business life or at home. Chris Voss is a former FBI negotiator who brings his particular set of skills to the boardroom to help everybody negotiate to their maximum potential when the stakes are at their highest.

The authors have created a study in negotiating based on the skills Voss used as one of the top FBI negotiators. In developing his skills as a negotiator, Chris Voss has created five basic rules that will help any of us become a better negotiator. This is what you will be reading about in the book

What You Will Learn

  • Listen to those you are negotiating with to build trust and allow a real conversation to begin
  • Build empathy using mirrors to buy time for your team to build their strategy
  • Build trust to help you find a pathway to agreeing on a deal
  • Labelling the emotions of those you are negotiating with to help avoid having to learn about their personal lives and the factors that appear in their lives
  • Focus on what you want from the negotiation to remove all the issues that are not important to you

The Book Summary

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.

Never Split the Difference Book Summary Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It Quote 1

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.

Never Split the Difference Book Summary Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It Quote 2

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:

  1. The rule of three where a negotiation moves forward when the person we are dealing with agrees on the same point on three separate occasions.
  2. Use how and why questions to ensure there is little conflict when detailing current problems
  3. Use tone of voice and body language to get a point across rather than detailed sentences
  4. Let the other party go first to make sure your first monetary offer is not too high or low

Never Split the Difference Book Summary Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It Quote 3

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.

About The Author

Christopher Voss is a business leader and author who spent the majority of his career working with the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI. It was during his career with the FBI that Voss undertook negotiation training that led to him becoming the Chief International Hostage Negotiator for the law enforcement agency.

Before his distinguished career in law enforcement, Voss had been successful in his academic studies at Iowa State University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Voss worked with the FBI for over 20 years before retiring in 2007 to take up a prominent business role as the founder of the Black Swan Group and as an adjunct professor at the McDonough School of Business.

Tahl Raz is a well-known business journalist who has also authored several business-focused books. The best-known book by Tahl Raz is the popular, Never Eat Alone, which has remained in print in hardback form for over a decade. Raz has branched out into various business projects including his online education program, My Greenlight.
Accessory To Success
Accessory To Success


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