Chris Voss

237 – Chris Voss – How To Negotiate Like An FBI Agent | Modern Wisdom with Chris Williamson

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Key Takeaways

  • In every negotiation, aim to get a better relationship with our counterpart
    • By focusing on a better relationship
      • You’re more likely to gain information that they might have withheld otherwise
      • You increase the chance of a continuous partnership
      • You enjoy the process more
  • “We have to beat the other side” is a huge misconception about negotiation
  • Getting Better at Negotiation
    • Practice on any occasion you come across in day to day life
      • “There is no such thing as good and bad, there is only trained and untrained” – Denzel Washington in Man on Fire
    • Mirroring “Technique”
      • Repeating the last 1-3 words of what somebody just said in the form of a question
      • It triggers the counterpart to rephrase their point and share more information
    • Express the other side’s point of view, getting them to say “that’s right”
      • You show them you understand and listen to them
    • Labeling “Technique”
    • A verbal observation, labeling an emotion or situation
    • Labels trigger unguarded answers
  • Yes is nothing without “how”
  • No one ever feels good to compromise
    • Talk about collaboration instead of compromise
    • Think about new opportunities that nobody envisioned before

Key Products Mentioned

Intro

  • Chris Voss (@VossNegotiation) is the ex Lead International Kidnapping Negotiator for the FBI and author of the best-selling negotiation book Never Split the Difference
  • Host: Chris Williamson (@ChrisWillx)
  • In this chat, Chris Voss shares the most effective negotiation techniques and mindsets that he learned over the years as a Negotiator for the FBI

The Desired Outcome of a Negotiation

  • In every negotiation, aim to get a better relationship with our counter part
    • By focusing on a better relationship
      • You’re more likely to gain information that they might have withheld otherwise
      • You increase the chance of a continuous partnership
      • You enjoy the process more
  • Avoid adversarial relationships
    • They hurt the other side who will remember it
    • Not good in the long term
      • “Greedy? Yes, but long term greedy” – Gus Levy
  • “We have to beat the other side” is a huge misconception about negotiation
    • That’s a wrong way to look at it
      • Chris doesn’t call them the “adversary”, but the ”counterpart”
    • Both parties are usually better off collaborating

The Three Types of Negotiators

  • Assertive Type
    • Aggressive, loud, and act like “time is money”
      • Trump is a great example
  • Analytical Type
    • Appears cold and distant because they’re busy thinking things through
    • Comfortable with silence
  • Accommodator Type
    • Focused on having a good interaction
    • They make a lot of deals, as people enjoy working with them
      • Analysts may appear as accommodators to get a better outcome

Getting Better at Negotiation

  • Practice
    • “There is no such thing as good and bad, there is only trained and untrained” – Denzel Washington in Man on Fire
    • You can practice anywhere
      • When you order coffee practice a calm demeanor
      • Rehearse difficult interactions in your mind
        • See yourself acting more calmly and confidently
  • Late Night FM DJ Voice
    • When Chris uses this voice, it causes an automatic neurochemical change in the brain which calms the other person down
      • Talking that way, you trigger the change in your brain too
  • Mirroring “Technique”
    • Repeating the last 1-3 words of what somebody just said in the form of a question
    • It triggers the counterpart to rephrase their point and share more information
      • Much better than asking “what do you mean by that?”
  • Labeling “Technique”
    • A verbal observation, labeling an emotion or situation
      • “It seems”, “it sounds, “it looks”, “it feels”
      • Labels trigger unguarded answers
        • By saying “It seems like you’re thinking about something” you’ll get a more instinctive response than saying “what are you thinking about?”
  • Express the other side’s point of view, getting them to say “that’s right”
    • You show you understand them
    • By getting yourself in your counterpart’s shoes you get yourself out of anger
      • Anger makes you an ineffective negotiator
  • No negotiation approach works 100% of the time

How to Say No More Effectively

  • Many tough negotiators keep pushing you until you clearly say no twice
    • Four good ways to say No (each a little more firm):
      • “How am I supposed to do that?”
        • The other side hears “I’d love to comply, but you’re giving me an impossible task”
          • They don’t feel attacked and become more collaborative
      • “I’m sorry that just doesn’t work for me”
      • “I’m sorry I can’t do that”
      • “No”

Agreement and Implementation

  • Yes is nothing without “how”
    • Even people who mean to agree with you might get stuck on the “How”
  • There are three kinds of “yes”
    • Commitment
    • Confirmation
    • Conflict
  • The idea of “Yes” momentum is nonsense
    • According to it, if I get you to say many small “yes”, you’ll tend to say yes when I make the big ask
      • We’ve all been tricked by this, but after that, we raise our guard and become suspicious of it
      • If you get tricked, you’ll regret it later and won’t want to work with the person who tricked you again
  • Shift from seeking “Yes” to “How”
    • “How do we make a great deal?”
    • “How do we move forward?”
    • “How do we profit?”

Negotiating in Difficult Situation

  • Start with a slow, calming, soothing voice
    • Chris refers to this as the Late Night FM DJ Voice
  • Repeat back what they’re saying
    • Sometimes people want to feel like they had their say in a matter
      • Satisfy their need to be heard
    • It doesn’t mean that you agree to it
    • By summarizing what they said, you signal you are listening

Phrases to Look Out For

  • “Win-Win”
    • When people use this phrase in the opening stage, they’re usually trying to get you to agree to their “Win”
    • No information has been shared yet, they don’t know what a “Win” is for us
  • “Compromise”
    • Compromise is impossible for human beings
      • What we give up when we compromise feels a lot more than it is
        • Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky assessed that the pain from a loss of X can only be compensated by (at least) a 2X win (Prospect theory)
      • No one ever feels good to compromise
      • That’s why compromise is to be avoided
    • Talk about collaboration instead of compromise
      • Think about new opportunities that nobody envisioned before

Trump’s Communication Style

  • Trump is an assertive type
    • People tend to get bruised with assertive types
      • Over time, fewer people want to deal with them
    • Negotiations tend to slowly fade
      • Counterparts feel that if they don’t agree, they will get attacked
        • They prefer to not continue negotiating, they stop cooperating
      • US-North Korea Negotiation is an example of this
        • Nobody knows what’s the status of that negotiation
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Notes By Giorgio Parlato

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