Chris Voss is one of the preeminent practitioners and professors of negotiation skills in the world. He was formerly the lead international kidnapping negotiator for the FBI as well as the FBI’s hostage negotiation representative for the National Security Council’s Hostage Working Group. He is the founder of The Black Swan Group, a consulting firm that provides training and advises Fortune 500 companies through complex negotiations. He has taught business negotiation in MBA programs at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. He also taught business negotiation at Harvard and guest lectured at other leading universities including the MIT Sloan School of Management and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. His book is titled: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It.
Some interesting insights from this episode:
- Working the crisis hotline was where Chris first learned the power of empathy. Showing someone that they feel heard is often enough to get them to change their behavior.
- Empathy is about the transmission of information whereas compassion is about the reaction to that transmission.
- Any time you relax into stress, you’ll handle it far better. The act of relaxation increases your body’s ability to handle its stress demands.
- Labeling is a verbal observation of an emotion or a dynamic. It’s a way of demonstrating that you’re listening and understanding the other side.
- Meeting someone halfway (i.e. splitting the difference) rarely works since it never feels like it’s really halfway. You feel the transaction was unfair. Reason being, based on the economist Daniel Kahneman, people tend to fear a loss twice as much as they are likely to welcome an equivalent gain.
- “Excellence is a delight with learning and growing. It is not the pursuit of perfection which is a fool’s errand.”