Project Description

Never split the difference

  • By Chris Voss
  • In Short: In the book, Chris Voss a former FBI negotiator gives his insights on how to negotiate effectively and how to apply these skills in other domains like business.Can it get more Hollywood than this? Learning secret influence strategies from inside the FBI! Are you starting to drool yet? You probably should; this book is filled with great insights and super practical tips on how to negotiate i.e. influence.Often tips aline with insights from the field of influence, but are more concrete and thus usable.Some tips:
    • Negotiations are not a battle and not about winning an argument, they are about finding out, getting information.
    • Use mirroring, where you repeat the last or most important words of what the other is saying. It shows interest and lets the other elaborate and reformulate.
    • Use labels: “It sounds like you…”, “It seems like you…” followed by a silence, it shows empathy, it lets the other feel safe and again is an invitation to talk.
    • Chris Voss, warns for always going for the “Yes”  in negotiations. The idea is of course that getting a yes is a “foot in the door”, a commitment (as we know from other influence literature). However Chris Voss argues (from experience) that If you put pressure on people or they just feel uncomfortable they may say “yes” just to get out of the situation. A “yes” is meaningless without getting a “how” or implementation strategy of the other.
    • Don’t fear hearing a “no” from the person on the other side of the table. The “no” starts the negotiations, and also affirms the other party’s autonomy, which lets them relax and actually pay attention to what you have to say afterwards. So, get the other to say “no” as soon as possible in a negotiation. Which, I thought is a very interesting point!
    • When it comes to negotiating money, and you have to give your asking price. Give a range, rather than one amount. “For a typical day I ask between 500 and 800 Euro.” Pick the numbers in such a way, that the number you are aiming for is just above the low end. At the end of negotiating about money, choose a price that is an odd or very precise number (3467,80 Euro), this gives the impression of hard calculation, and the idea that you gave all there is to give.
    • When you are on the bidding sight and try to let the other agree on a low price offer you have in mind, use for your first offer, 65% of the low offer you have in mind, after the refusal follow it up by an offer of 85% of the price your aiming for, than 95% than 100%.
    • Ask a lot of “how” questions, “How am I supposed to do that? “How would you like to resolve this?” These questions, can trigger empathy, they focus the other on solving your problem.

    Are this all his tips? Absolutely not, he has many more. Tips and insights that are taken from his days with the FBI and later as a consultant. It is specifically the very practical influence strategies, the templates and examples with actual phrasing that make the book a very good read.

    The book also holds a mirror to your own negotiation style. At least it did for me, showing for example that trying to convince the other with arguments, and getting “yes you are right” is actually ineffective negotiating that will not result in actions.

    The book should not be read as a list of tips, rather as an invitation to practice them. It is in this practice where better negotiation skills are born. All in all, I think it is a wonderful book. Enjoy!