Based on decades of experience in FBI hostage negotiation, Never Split The Difference reveals how principles of high stakes negotiation based on emotional intelligence work more effectively than conventional negotiation theory.
Never Split The Difference Summary
Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator and a world expert on negotiation. Drawing on his experience in the field, the author shows how techniques like deep listening, mirroring, anchoring, Ackerman bargaining and calibrated questions can work to unlock negotiations.
Running counter to established theory, Voss demonstrates how applying these principles can help you in sales, business, parenting or any other form of conflict resolution, making it instantly applicable for anyone seeking to improve their negotiation tactics.
Below are some of the key insights from the book.
- Negotiation is about uncovering information from the counterparty.
- A good negotiator prepares with scripts but also seeks to uncover Black Swan information.
- Tone of voice and non-verbal communication is paramount throughout a negotiation.
- Negotiation is a process of deep listening similar to psychotherapy where the counterparty is coascled into solving their own problems.
- Mirroring is the art of insinuating similarity. To mirror effectively, simply repeat back the last three words of someone’s argument and wait 4 seconds.
- Labelling is an act of tactic empathy whereby you foresee and name the counterparty’s feelings in soft and direct way, encouraging them to agree.
- Taking the sting out helps to defuse counter arguments by preempting objections and inviting the counterparty to explain how you can work to overcome them.
- Getting to No can be just as effective as getting to yes as it opens up the real negotiation and places your opponent in a space of control and safety.
- Like a psychotherapist, change only really happens when you demonstrate Unconditional Positive Regard for your counterparty. This is achieved when you hear the words ‘that’s right’ which is often the turning point where negotiation advances.
- Using behavioural economic anchors can help you bend your counterparty’s perception of reality making it more likely they will compromise towards your position.
- Using calibrated questions (how, why, what, when where) will help exhaust your opponent by playing for time and forcing them to use mental energy to respond to your points.
- ‘Yes’ is nothing without ‘How’ because only a committed yes will actually shape the environment of the negotiation.
- Ackerman Bargaining is a set process of offering 65 / 85 / 95 / 100 percentage of your target price with a specific number and non-monetary incentive used in the final stages to demonstrate exhaustion of budget.
- ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face’ so prepare yourself for unexpected events and respond in the moment.
- Work to understand the worldview/religion of the counterparty as this helps to uncover normative leverage during the negotiation.