Master Negotiation Techniques: Learn Chris Voss’s Strategies

December 28


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Mastering negotiation techniques is a crucial skill for business owners, entrepreneurs, high performing individuals, investors, and real estate investors alike. Exploring the techniques of successful negotiators, this blog post will delve into the teachings of Chris Voss – a former FBI hostage negotiator and author – to discover how tactical empathy can be used to reach mutually beneficial agreements.

We’ll examine the background of Chris Voss – a former FBI hostage negotiator turned author and educator – who has shared valuable lessons learned throughout his career. You’ll discover how to use tactical empathy in negotiations by identifying common ground and utilizing active listening skills.

Furthermore, we will discuss the mirroring technique for effective communication and its benefits when implemented strategically. Lastly, you can expect insights on small group training with mindset coaches through mini mastermind online sessions format as well as implementing Master Negotiation Techniques in everyday life situations for long-term personal and professional success.

Table of Contents:

The Art of Negotiation

Achieving success in both personal and professional life requires the mastery of negotiation skills. It helps to reach your desired solution while keeping both parties satisfied. Learn from Chris Voss, a renowned negotiator, as he shares his insights on effective negotiation techniques that can be applied in various situations.

Identifying Common Ground for Successful Negotiations

Good negotiators understand the importance of finding common ground during the negotiation process. Identifying shared interests or goals allows you to establish trust and rapport with your counterpart at the negotiating table, increasing the likelihood of reaching a negotiated agreement that benefits all parties involved.

Utilizing Empathy and Active Listening Skills

In order to truly connect with others during negotiations, it’s essential to practice empathy and active listening skills. By putting yourself in their shoes and genuinely understanding their needs, concerns, and motivations, you can create an environment where everyone feels heard and respected – ultimately leading towards more successful outcomes.

Chris Voss’s Background

Understanding the background of Chris Voss, a renowned negotiator, provides valuable insights into his unique approach to negotiation. With years of experience in high-stakes situations, Chris has honed his skills and now shares them with others seeking success at the negotiating table.

His journey from FBI hostage negotiator to author and educator

As a former FBI hostage negotiator, Chris dealt with life-or-death scenarios that required effective communication and strategic thinking. After retiring from the FBI, he authored “Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It” which became an international bestseller. Today, he teaches these invaluable lessons through various platforms such as workshops and online courses.

Key lessons learned throughout his career

  • The importance of empathy in understanding your counterpart’s perspective during negotiations.
  • The power of active listening for building rapport and trust between parties involved.
  • Tactical strategies like mirroring technique for effective communication at the negotiating table.
  • Focusing on mutually beneficial solutions rather than just winning or losing in any negotiated agreement.

Tactical Empathy in Negotiations

Explore the concept of tactical empathy as taught by Chris Voss, which emphasizes understanding the other party’s perspective during negotiations. This powerful technique allows you to build rapport and find mutually beneficial solutions without compromising your own goals.

Defining Tactical Empathy

Tactical empathy is a negotiation process that involves putting yourself in your counterpart’s shoes to gain insight into their thoughts, feelings, and motivations. By doing so, good negotiators can identify common ground and establish trust with their counterparts at the negotiating table. For more information on tactical empathy, check out this Inc article.

Examples of Using Tactical Empathy Effectively

  • Acknowledging emotions: Recognize any strong emotions expressed by your counterpart and validate them before moving forward with the negotiated agreement.
  • Demonstrating active listening: Paraphrase or summarize what has been said to show genuine interest in understanding their point of view.
  • Focusing on shared interests: Identify areas where both parties have similar goals or concerns to create a sense of unity during negotiations.

Incorporating tactical empathy into your negotiation strategy can lead to better outcomes for all involved parties while maintaining positive relationships throughout the process.

Mirroring Technique for Effective Communication

Delve into one of Chris Voss’s most recommended strategies – the mirroring technique – that enhances communication during negotiations by repeating key phrases or words used by your counterpart. This simple yet impactful method creates a sense of connection leading towards more fruitful outcomes.

How Mirroring Works in Practice

In the negotiation process, mirroring involves subtly mimicking your counterpart’s language and tone to establish rapport. By doing so, you demonstrate understanding and encourage them to share more information. For example, if they say “We need a better price,” you might respond with “A better price? Tell me more.” This approach makes good negotiators as it fosters trust and encourages open dialogue at the negotiating table.

Benefits Gained from Utilizing this Strategy

  • Better rapport: Mirroring helps build connections with others, making them feel understood and valued.
  • Increased trust: As parties become more comfortable sharing their thoughts, trust is established which can lead to a negotiated agreement both sides are satisfied with.
  • Fewer misunderstandings: Repeating key points ensures clarity on both ends while also providing an opportunity for any miscommunications to be addressed promptly.

To further enhance your negotiation skills, consider learning other techniques taught by Chris Voss such as tactical empathy and active listening skills.

Implementing Negotiation Skills in Everyday Life

Mastering the craft of bargaining is advantageous not only for business transactions, but also has an important part to play in various facets of your everyday life. By applying the techniques shared by Chris Voss, you can witness positive changes in your interactions with others and achieve long-term personal and professional success.

Adapting Strategies for Different Situations

The key to successful negotiations lies in adapting strategies according to different situations. Whether it’s negotiating a raise at work or resolving conflicts within personal relationships, understanding the unique dynamics involved helps you tailor your approach effectively. For instance, using tactical empathy might be more appropriate when dealing with family members than during high-stakes business transactions.

Long-term Impact on Personal and Professional Success

Incorporating good negotiators’ skills into everyday life can lead to numerous benefits beyond just reaching negotiated agreements at the negotiating table. These include improved communication, stronger relationships, increased confidence, and better decision-making abilities – all essential components for achieving overall success.
Forbes Coaches Council highlights how effective negotiation skills contribute significantly towards career advancement as well as fostering healthy personal connections.

FAQs in Relation to Master Negotiation Techniques

What are the 5 negotiation techniques?

Five key negotiation techniques include: (1) Preparation and research, which involves understanding your goals, knowing your counterpart’s interests, and gathering relevant information; (2) Building rapport by establishing trust and credibility with your counterpart; (3) Active listening to demonstrate empathy and understand their perspective; (4) Using open-ended questions to encourage dialogue and gather valuable insights; and (5) Employing various tactics such as anchoring or concessions to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Forbes provides more details on these techniques.

How do you negotiate like a master?

To negotiate like a master, develop strong communication skills including active listening, asking open-ended questions, utilizing tactical empathy, mirroring body language or speech patterns of counterparts for better rapport building. Additionally, thorough preparation before negotiations is essential – know both parties’ objectives well in advance. Finally, remain patient during the process while being adaptable when new information arises. More tips can be found at Inc.

What makes a master negotiator?

A master negotiator possesses excellent communication skills along with emotional intelligence that enables them to read people effectively. They have an ability to build trust quickly through rapport-building techniques such as mirroring or empathetic listening. Master negotiators also display patience throughout negotiations while remaining flexible enough to adapt strategies based on changing circumstances or newly acquired information from their counterparts. Medium offers insights on the qualities of a master negotiator.

What are the three 3 negotiating strategies?

The three main negotiation strategies include: (1) Distributive bargaining, which focuses on dividing resources and often results in a win-lose outcome; (2) Integrative negotiations, where parties collaborate to find mutually beneficial solutions that create value for both sides; and (3) Mixed-motive bargaining, combining elements of distributive and integrative strategies to achieve an optimal balance between competition and cooperation. Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation explains these strategies further.


By identifying common ground and utilizing empathy and active listening skills in negotiations, one can achieve successful outcomes.

Chris Voss’s background as an FBI hostage negotiator provides valuable insights into key lessons learned throughout his career, such as tactical empathy and the mirroring technique. Participating in small group training with a mindset coach can also provide exclusive opportunities to hone these skills further.

While we can’t boast the same negotiation mastermind background as Chris, you can check out the Investor Mindset for more information on how to improve your mindset & investing abilities today as well as learn from hundreds of other experts like Chris Voss!

Master Negotiation Techniques: Learn Chris Voss’s Strategies Transcription:

Steven Pesavento [00:00:03]:

This is the investor mindset. Podcast. And I'm Stephen Pesavento. And for as long as I can remember, I've been obsessed with understanding how we can think better, how we can be better, and how we can do better. And each episode, we explore lessons on motivation and mindset from the most successful real estate investors and entrepreneurs in the nation. You MINDSETTERS, do we ever have a phenomenal episode for you. Today, I am proud to announce that we just finished up a phenomenal interview with Chris Voss, author of Never Split the Difference, a phenomenal book on negotiation, one of the top negotiating coaches and trainers in the whole country in the world, and somebody who I've looked up to. I am so grateful for the chance to dive into some real amazing negotiation strategies with Chris. And what we're going to get into here is we're going to talk about how important negotiation is and how you're in negotiations nearly every single day of your life. You're negotiating getting on the highway, you're negotiating when you're in Starbucks. You're negotiating with your wife, your husband, your spouse, your partner, your team members. And you're negotiating when you're doing the things that you think about negotiations, such as going out, buying a car, buying a house, or building a real estate portfolio. But what I love about this episode is that Chris gets into some stuff he hasn't talked about elsewhere, he hasn't talked about over and over again. And these are some strategies that are going to make a big difference for you. So I encourage you to make sure you get your notebook out, take some notes, and if you don't have one, listen to it one time through and go back and get ready to start implementing some of this in your life. So, as always, if you haven't hit that subscribe button, I encourage you to hit it so you make sure you get this episode and every other episode that comes out. And if you're the kind of person who likes to help other people, please consider sharing this with somebody that you might think would get some value from it. So without further ado, let's jump into the episode. All right, guys, welcome back to the Investor Mindset podcast. I am very excited and grateful today I have Chris Voss on the podcast. How are you doing, Chris?

Chris Voss [00:02:16]:

Fantastic. Happy to be here.

Steven Pesavento [00:02:19]:

I am happy to have you. And as many of you guys know, as a master negotiator, chris Vos retired after 24 years with the FBI as the lead international kidnap negotiator. And Chris has written a fantastic book called Never Split the Difference, which is, in my opinion, one of the best negotiation books I've ever read. And he's the CEO of the Black Swan Group, a company that specializes in solving business communication problems using some of these same hostage negotiation strategies. And he's here with us today to help us learn more. In my opinion, one of the most transferable skills as we get into the mindset and strategy of negotiation. You ready to dive into things, chris?

Chris Voss [00:03:00]:

Yeah, let's dive in and see if we can swim.

Steven Pesavento [00:03:03]:

I love it. I love it. So, obviously, you've done some amazing things. You've saved some people's lives, literally. But why don't we start out by taking a look back at earlier in your life, what events or influences from your childhood shaped who you are today?

Chris Voss [00:03:19]:

Yeah. Wow. I think I grew up in a blue collar household, so it was just problem solving. Work hard, figure stuff out, try to get ahead of problems if you can, and do it collaboratively. And all those things are what any negotiation is about. It even where people are diametrically opposed. There's got to be some collaboration.

Steven Pesavento [00:03:46]:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I mean, growing up in a blue collar household, you went in, you became an officer, then in the FBI, and now you're teaching business people. How do you think coming from that blue collar background has played into what you're doing today and how you're helping people grow?

Chris Voss [00:04:04]:

Yeah, well, I like helping people, period, first of all. And I like doing it collaboratively. And wherever you are, whether you're a small town iowa, my father owned his own business, fuel oil business, and it was very much about home heating oil, keeping people warm in the wintertime, being there for them when they needed you. So I just grew up in that environment where, let's work together, let's get something done.

Steven Pesavento [00:04:35]:

Yeah. I think it's so easy for us to look at somebody like you, who a lot of people look up to, think you as one of the best negotiators out there, especially best negotiation trainers. And we can forget that. We all come from different places, and it's really cool to see how you've grown out of the midwest, out to new York, and obviously doing what you're doing. So tell us a little bit about what you're doing with your clients today. Obviously, you've been hostile negotiator, but now you're, from my understanding, helping other people learn how to apply these skills.

Chris Voss [00:05:07]:

Yeah, it's all business and personal negotiations these days. I was talking to a couple of people the other day, and they said the next book should be never split the difference. For raising kids, it's just about great human communication. So whether it's a personal relationship, whether your parent child, whether it's a business relationship, we train and coach. We do a lot of training. We go after individuals more as opposed to companies or sectors. We like high performance individuals, people that want to get better at communication. And we coach a lot. I didn't think we would coach. It wasn't even part of my idea of the business at first. I just thought, we'd train, but we coach people in all kinds of deals, so we're helping people get better. The hostage negotiation skills, really, I know in the intro we gave you said we solve problems. But what we really do is we accelerate outcomes. You might not even think you have a problem, but we can still accelerate the deal. We can help you get there faster. And that's a really cool thing because the commodity that we have that everybody has most value is time. So if we can accelerate things, we're going to save you a lot of time.

Steven Pesavento [00:06:20]:

It's such a big idea. And I know personally, after I read the book for the first time, and I've read it countless 1015 times, at least a lot of audiobook listens, but it was making big impacts in my personal life. I was communicating better with my partner, my business partner, my spouse. And it's amazing how these strategies really apply to all parts of life. And so what I'm curious is, from your experience, what are some of the myths? What are some of the things that people get wrong about negotiation? And why do you think they believe that?

Chris Voss [00:06:50]:

Yeah, I think the first thing that people get wrong is they figure they have to go first. They have to state their position first. And that's really insecurity. And it is a cliche that when you're talking, you're not learning. And so if you're stating your position, you're not gathering any information at that point in time. And if you're stating it, you're probably not actually having a good impact on the other side. Stating feels like blunt force pushing, and that doesn't help. Even in a negotiation, it seems to be contentious. So letting the other side talk first makes you smarter because you're going to get information. It makes them feel better. It also makes them more likely to make a deal with you because a lot of people just want to be heard out. So the real counterintuitive thing is don't go first. Let the other side talk first.

Steven Pesavento [00:07:41]:

Gather some information, get smarter, gather information first. Well, a lot of people, what I've noticed, especially when I'm talking to other people who have been soaking in negotiation training, everyone's thinking the same thing. So how do you break through that when they're like, I'm not going to give my number first. I'm not going to share first. How do you go through that process of getting the other person to start making this more of a collaboration than such an opposition?

Chris Voss [00:08:07]:

Yeah, you can tease it out a little bit. You could also pivot away from price and figure some other stuff out. You could say, all right, look, let's set price off to the side for a minute. Let's talk about what would make this deal great, what would make this a great deal for you. If they start outlining other terms, that would make it great for them. They're starting to create a vision in their head. They're vested in the process. Now they're more likely to come back with a favorable price. They may also throw a condition out that you wanted to ask for in the first place. And the more you can get without asking, the better off you are, which is another reason why you want to get the other side talking. They throw something out that you wanted anyway. You look at them and you're like, wow, great idea. And then they were going to be really happy about it when in fact, you wanted it all along. So it's another reason to let the other side go first.

Steven Pesavento [00:09:03]:

I love that. Well, there's so many good reasons to learn these skills. And I want to talk because I think this will be an exciting story for people to soak in, especially if they haven't gone through in the depths of studying your material here. But talk to me a little bit about what happened during the Chase Manhattan bank robbery. I know you just released a master class, and we actually have the recordings of that negotiation from back in the day available in that class, which I encourage people to go to. We'll include a link in the show notes. But talk to me a little bit about what happened during that and how you ended up breaking through to getting those hostages released safely.

Chris Voss [00:09:38]:

Yeah, doing the master class was really cool and it was fun that they wanted to put the Chase Bank in it. It was an adversarial negotiation. We wanted everybody out. They didn't want to give anybody up. They wanted to get away. Had a really guarded negotiator. That is the classic example of the great CEO comes to the table. Really great CEO. If the decision maker comes to the table and the decision maker has any sense, they're going to act powerless because they know they're the decision maker and they don't want to get cornered at the table. So they're going to say stuff like, I got all these people I'm accountable to. I got a board of directors. Whatever it is, whatever the pretend board of directors is, they start talking about people that are important, that are not at the table. They're really important. They're doing that for a reason. It's a distraction. So this guy in the Chase Bank, he was the ringleader, the organizer. He'd gotten everybody into that. We started out, we got him on the phone and he was like, I'm with these guys that are so dangerous. These guys are with me. Boy, I'm scared of them myself. They're so dangerous. We didn't really realize that at the time. I was to come to find out over hostage negotiation, then business negotiation. That's a classic move of an important person at the table. They're going to act helpless. And he did that a lot, was very controlling. And I ended up using mirroring on him. And mirroring is this great skill. You just repeat the last couple of words of what somebody said. It's not the body language mirror stuff that everybody teaches. It's not that the hostage negotiators mirror. It's just the last couple of words of what somebody says. And the crazy thing is, it gets people to blurt stuff out. They want to go on. They want to explain. And I had just asked him about I thought we had our bad guy's van outside. I thought it was his van. As a matter of fact, it was. And I said, hey, there's a van out here. We haven't been able to find the owner. And this guy goes, well, you chase my driver away. And I was so shocked, I didn't know what to say, which is the other great thing about a mirror. You can mirror when you're shocked. And I just said, we chased your driver away, because I didn't know what the heck he was talking about. My brain had kind of shut down. And he goes, yeah, well, when he saw the police, he cut and run. And I'm like, wow, we didn't even know there was a guy that got away. And you a really control freak person who's been very guarded about everything he says. Just blurted out some really important information. That spontaneous utterance, if you will, was what caused the driver to get to cop a plea, because we had no evidence on him otherwise, we ultimately figured out who he was. They went to the house. They grabbed him. They were getting ready to go to trial. And I ran across the prosecutors, and they said, yeah, we got nothing on this guy, nothing that taught time to the bank robbery. I said, yeah, we got one of the guys admitting that he was there. It's on the tape. Because I knew the tape backwards and forwards, and they had missed it in the transcript. And I said, give me the transcript. I'll show it to you. They took the transcript, and they just handed it to the getaway driver's defense attorney. And when he saw it, he copped the plea. He pled about a mirror.

Steven Pesavento [00:13:12]:

It's amazing how just by mirroring, you were able to pull out information without even asking a question, without making that person feel like they were giving you anything.

Chris Voss [00:13:21]:

That's the key to great negotiations, is pulling information without asking questions. Everybody's taught we're supposed to gather information. Actually, you got to ask good questions. Now, the point of a good question is to gather information. There's a better way than asking questions like mirrors, because mirrors don't cause people to get their guard up. And whenever you ask a question, to some degree or another, this guard comes up and are careful about how they answer.

Steven Pesavento [00:13:53]:

So fast forward at the end of this negotiation, which I got to push you guys to this master class, it's absolutely incredible. But at the end of this negotiation, all the hostages were released free.

Chris Voss [00:14:07]:

All the hostages came out safely. All the bad guys. There were only two bad guys inside the bank. They surrendered. Our decision maker. He was obsolete to the end. Initially we got his partner, I talked his partner out of the bank and we get him back on the phone. Now we're working on him to try to get him to surrender too. And he needed to buy time. He had three hostages and he knew if he let a hostage go, it would buy him time and keep the threat level down. We're not going to go crash into the bank after he's just released a hostage. It's actually a really smart move for control freak to do so. He knew that he had three. If he let one go, was going to buy him some more time, see if he could figure a way out. So he let two out of the three go. And then at the very end, when we're pressuring him to let the third hostage go, he was just so obstinate. The only movie he had left, instead of letting the hostage go and not cooperate was to come out himself. So that's when he agreed to come out, it was crazy.

Steven Pesavento [00:15:10]:

So I can see some parallels in the business world and I hope all the listeners here are grabbing onto those themselves and making some of these connections. But one of them is really clear that when I'm sitting down with a homeowner or I'm sitting down with a realtor or an investor or somebody in between, and they're telling me that they don't have the power to make the decision that there's all these other important people that are up the chain that that could be an indication that they're actually the decision maker and they're just trying to pass the buck so they have a little bit more power. Is there anything other correlations that you think we want to point out for the listeners?

Chris Voss [00:15:43]:

Yeah, well, the flip side, a person at the table, the more important they make themselves and conversely, the less powerful they are. Exact same dynamic in reverse. You got somebody at the table who's really in love with singular personal pronouns. The i, me, my. I want this my view, boy. The more they use those singular pronouns, the less influence they have. So that's kind of a two way street. If they're in love with plural pronouns, we, they, them, us, they're important. If they're in love with singular i, me, my, they're not that important. They're a good source of information, they're just not that important.

Steven Pesavento [00:16:26]:

They're almost trying to bring it back out of themselves to boost up their importance, boost up their worth, versus the people who already have it, don't need to. And they're actually trying to pull away because they know that that could hurt them in the negotiation.

Chris Voss [00:16:39]:

It's exactly right. That's exactly right. The guy's got no influence on the other side. It makes him feel important to pretend like he's got all that influence, like being at a bar and a bartender's first night. And you ask them if they got some kind of bourbon. And he says, Well, I don't stock bourbon in my bar. It's his first night and he doesn't own a bar, and he might not be there in a month. Got to make him stuff. Look at the board.

Steven Pesavento [00:17:05]:

I love that. Well, I can see so many practical applications, and I hope everyone runs out and gets never split the difference. And I want to let people know that Chris has offered a never split the difference study guide that you guys will be able to sign up for. We'll have a link in the show notes, and we'll let you know at the very end how to get that when you get on the newsletter list, of course, and get some of these strategies on a regular basis. But Chris, tell me if I'm new negotiator or maybe I've been studying the getting to yes, or I've been going down this path of learning negotiation. I think, man, I want to apply some of this stuff, but I'm stuck in some old ways. What would be your recommendation of some of the strategies to start with, to start practicing and adding to your tool belt? And I know some of them include labeling, tactical empathy, mirroring, and there's so many others, but which ones to you seem like these are the ones you need to add to your tool belt 1st, second, and third.

Chris Voss [00:18:01]:

Yeah, well, first of all, be willing to slow down just a little bit. And paraphrasing is real simple. Somebody's talking to you before you ever want to make your point. Try to paraphrase back to them a little bit. Make them feel heard, make them feel understood. Paraphrase is not agreement. It's not disagreement. It's just like, all right, so you got good reasons for this, and those reasons are and repeat back what they've been saying. And then be willing to go silence a little bit. Be willing to live with something. We used to call it effective pauses. Now actually, we refer to it as dynamic silence because it's so powerful. So make people feel heard. Let them fill in the silence. Keep quiet, and you're going to be surprised how many deals will make themselves. You don't have to do anything. Just see if you can get the deal to make itself.

Steven Pesavento [00:18:57]:

So for all the listeners out there, that just means shut up for a second, let a little bit of space happen, and let people know that you're hearing them out.

Chris Voss [00:19:07]:

Yeah, exactly.

Steven Pesavento [00:19:08]:

After you've gotten good at allowing some space to be there, you've gotten comfortable with the silence. You don't have to fill it in. I know that. I even get caught up in a podcast interview getting ready to make sure to fill that silence. But let's say I've mastered that skill. What do I want to add on next, and how do you recommend doing that?

Chris Voss [00:19:28]:

Well, the next great thing, if somebody's really been hurt out and the deal hasn't come to you. Great way to get things going again, and probably a very positive way. We live in a Las Vegas world. We don't live in an ivory tower world. The ivory tower world needs stuff that's perfect. The Las Vegas world just needs stuff that works more than half the time. There are a lot of casinos built in Vegas on a 51% success rate. You just have to get over more than half.

Steven Pesavento [00:20:04]:

Wow, that's great.

Chris Voss [00:20:05]:

And far higher than more than half. Really more about a three quarter success rate is after you've heard somebody else say, what do you want to do next? How can we move forward? Effectively, they're going to throw something out that you're going to love enough of the time that if it was a gambling system that you'd own Vegas, steve Wynn would be your assistant. So understand, nothing is perfect. What you need is the best chance of success, and somewhere north of 70, 75%, which is enough to be quite wealthy, to say, what are the next steps? How do you want to proceed? It's very deferential. The other side, what you've done is you're shoving someone forward with that. You're cutting them off from backtracking, you're cutting them off from side tracking, actually. What are the next steps? How do you want to proceed? You've just boxed them in and forced them to move forward. Now, they don't feel that, especially if you say it deferentially. They think it's their idea to figure out some next steps. The deal isn't going to happen unless you figure out next steps anyway, so see if they can figure out some good ones for you. It's a really effective way to move forward and save time, because the whole issue here is a well managed negotiation process actually saves a lot of time.

Steven Pesavento [00:21:45]:

Getting them just to come up with the steps on their own.

Chris Voss [00:21:48]:

Yeah, because most people talk about stuff without even thinking about what the next steps are. As soon as next steps are one of the principal things in your mind, you're going to start accelerating your success and you get next steps collaboratively. And the best way to get them from the other side in a way that we remember what they are is if they think they thought them. If you say, what are the next steps? How do you want to proceed? That doesn't mean you have to agree to whatever they throw out and be prepared to say, I don't know, I don't think that's going to work. But it does give them the opportunity to throw something out that you'll like. One of the ways of negotiation is described. It's the art of letting the other side have your way, and that's the way you do it. What are the next steps? How do you want to proceed?

Steven Pesavento [00:22:46]:

That is some really powerful stuff, and I hope all you guys are taking notes over here and if you're not, I encourage you to re listen to this with a pen and paper in hand, because this is stuff you can directly apply. It's going to make a difference in your business. I know I've bought hundreds of houses because of some of these strategies and how effectively they work. So one thing I'm really curious about, Chris rapport seems to be such a big conversation in sales and negotiation. How do we go about building better rapport with people that maybe we don't even have that much in common with?

Chris Voss [00:23:20]:

Yeah, that's the big issue. Common ground. Is it necessary? Is it useful? People love Common Ground because they both feel fantastic. Oh, we're in a negotiation training that we ran a couple of months ago and two people discovered they both had the same name for their dog. And they're like, oh, my God, this is fantastic. They talked about it, but they didn't get anything done. So your dogs could have the same name, your kids could be in Little League together, you could be from the same state. That isn't going to make your deal. And just because you're from the same state, from somebody, does that mean you're going to give in on a point that you shouldn't give in on? Common ground is really kind of a tricky area that feels great but isn't actually useful. So instead, what people want is to be understood. That's the whole idea. Common Ground is like, hopefully if we got common ground, you're going to understand me. What would happen if I could understand you without being from your hometown, without being from your state, without our kids playing ball together, without us having the same name for our dogs? That was where hostage negotiators came from initially, that's had massive amounts of influence with no common ground whatsoever. So if you get rid of common ground as an idea and just grasp how powerful it is to understand the other side, they feel common ground.

Steven Pesavento [00:24:50]:

Well, it's because a lot of the times we're not going to have common ground with people. We're just not. We're in different worlds. Maybe we're doing different things. We've got different goals and aspirations. Maybe one person over here is big in a personal development. They're studying Chris Voss. They're learning to be a great negotiator. The other person is just trying to get food on the table or try to get to the next thing they've got going. And so sometimes that can be difficult to find. But how do we go about trying to get people to feel understood? And how can we actually build that rapport without needing that common ground to stand on?

Chris Voss [00:25:26]:

Yeah, because the feeling of understood then definitely not just leads to rapport, but it leads to trust and trust based influence. That's the most durable kind of influence I want. And you want somebody to feel understood. Start repeating back to them what they've said. Look, let me just make sure I got this right. Here are your reasons for this. It seems like it sounds like it looks like this is where you're coming from. And especially include if you sense in any way, shape or form or even would guess that there's some sort of negativity involved, then you simply don't deny that negativity express it express an understanding and appreciation that it's there. It's like the proverbial elephant in the room. The elephant in the room is misconceptions. It's prejudices. It's preconceived notions. It's distrust. Well, nobody ever made the elephant in the room go away by either ignoring it or by denying it was there. People deal with the elephant in a room by pointing it out. And then you say, yeah, there's an elephant in the room, but I don't care. It doesn't matter anything if you want to say the word but, that's the perfect time to shut the front door. That's the perfect time to stop talking. The words but or and should trigger an alarm bell in your brain that should automatically close the front gate, close your jaws, get you to stop talking. That's the perfect time to use dynamic silence. When you feel the word but or and coming out of your mouth, then that should be actually an early warning system that it's time to stop right where you are and let what you just said sink in.

Steven Pesavento [00:27:18]:

So pretty much never say the word but because it's going to be an anchor. It's going to hold you back instead of moving you guys forward together.

Chris Voss [00:27:27]:

But a bad word. My son Brandon, who I believe has been a guest on your show, he sure one of his favorite phrases is, nobody wants you to put your butt in their face. Doesn't develop rapport.

Steven Pesavento [00:27:43]:

Oh, that's amazing. That's amazing. So these are some amazing strategies. And I feel like I hope that the listeners I hope that you guys are really seeing how this stuff can really make a difference in more than just your business life. Because yes, it's going to help us get more deals. Or it's going to help us build that relationship with these different clients or these different people, but it's going to help us in our personal life. Because think about if you took away the word but from your relationship with your husband or wife. It's going to end up creating an environment where they really feel heard and listened to, understood. I mean, that's what every husband or wife, I would assume wants.

Chris Voss [00:28:21]:

I know.

Steven Pesavento [00:28:22]:

That's what every wife that I've ever talked to wants.

Chris Voss [00:28:24]:

Yeah. And I got to tell you something. You can't have a great relationship without understanding the other side just can't happen. And the important people in your life deserve that. They deserve to be understood. And so consequently, you got opportunities to develop these skills every day in the morning, at lunch, at night. And these are the perfect times to get good at. Hearing people out, because the more you do it, the more you build your abilities to do it well.

Steven Pesavento [00:28:53]:

Okay, so obviously, practical application. We can walk into Starbucks. We can use it there. We can use it when we're going to the restaurant. Some of these places. When you're in your trainings and your seminars and you're teaching your clients and your students, you're doing your coaching, and they're learning all these strategies, and they leave, and they're fired up and ready to go. What kind of program should somebody put in place to really make sure that they become an expert at labeling or mirroring or changing their tone of voice or any of these things?

Chris Voss [00:29:21]:

Yeah, well, we've got a bunch of different types of training that we put out. I mean, we got a lot of ways to help you. A lot of it is free. We got a newsletter that we put out. We got the book Master classes. Very affordable. When you're ready, I mean, to really get sharp, then come to one of our trainings. But the choice that we all have and I just used the word but the choice that we all have is negotiation is a performance skill. And tomorrow you're either even you're worse or you're better. Now, it actually takes some effort just to stay even. It's like putting a rocket ship into outer space into orbit. It takes a lot more fuel to get it out there than it does to keep it in orbit. But if you don't keep firing those rockets while it's in orbit, it's going to fall back to Earth. So you got to figure out a way to continue to sharpen the skills. Plus, there's a neuroscience application, really, once you built those skills, every time you fire those neural synaptic connections, a substance called myelin is wrapped around that electrical connection in your brain. And for the people out there that understand electronics and electricity, every time you insulate a circuit a little bit more, it fires more effectively. So you're constantly building those circuits with the repetitions.

Steven Pesavento [00:30:48]:

That's just such good advice. I hope you guys really take it and start applying it. Just a couple of questions left here, Chris. Tell me about how you define success. And what is success to you?

Chris Voss [00:30:59]:

Yeah, well, success, first of all, just taking a shot. It was probably Gretzky that said, the hockey player, he's been gone for so long, I'm sure out of the game. A lot of people have forgotten who was but one of the greatest hockey players of all time said, I missed 100% of the shots that I haven't taken. You got to take a shot. Go ahead and take a shot. See what happens. Even if you fail, you just got smarter. There are certain types of negotiations that I realized that I've gotten rusty at, and some of them are with hotel clerks, and I'm in hotels all the time. Three hotels back, I wasn't particularly good with the hotel clerk. And when I checked into in Los Angeles just two days ago, I went smooth because I realized I'd gotten rusty. And so I'm making it a point to talk to these people a little bit more. Hey, one of the things that a lot of hotels are doing these days, everybody wants to check in early. They thought, well, we can charge them to check in early. They call it the early check in fee. I wanted to check in about 5 hours early. I didn't want to pay a fee. So I brought my skills back up to speed and I did it in a very playful manner. Playful is an emotional intelligence hack. It makes both of you smarter in the moment. It makes them more likely to cooperate if you're playful. So I need to practice these things. So get out there and get some practice because one way or the other, your choice for how you're going to be tomorrow is coming at you as sure as tomorrow is coming at you. And you're only going to be even. You're going to be worse. You're going to be better. No effort only leaves you worse just to stay even. You got to get some practice in.

Steven Pesavento [00:32:49]:

I love that. Go out and practice. And so on that note, what are some of the keystone habits? The things that you do on a daily or weekly basis to help you stay on top of your game in negotiation or maybe some habits that you're doing just in your normal life?

Chris Voss [00:33:03]:

Yeah, well, if you're making a point to smile when you say hello to somebody, you're triggering chemical reactions in your brain. The mere act of smiling connects to your mirror neurons and it releases really small hits of dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. All of these things give you more mental agility. I mean, just you can force a smile on your face and give yourself a small hit of dopamine. So every time you smile you make yourself a little bit sharper. The other person feels it. They don't just hear it, they feel it and they react to it. They get a little bit of hit too. And so you're off to the race. It's just by smiling appropriately when you start out. And it takes practice because we're actually wired to be negative. So you've got to practice. I saw an analogy the other day that said just because I bathed today doesn't mean I don't got to bathe again tomorrow. We're negative. Our skills are going to deteriorate. You got to stay, do your repetitions in a positive frame of mind. Same way you got to wash your hands every day. You got to take a shower every day. Whatever you do to stay clean. Just because you did it yesterday doesn't mean you don't have to do it again today.

Steven Pesavento [00:34:24]:

I love that. I love that. That's powerful. So we've made it to the growth. Rapid fire round where the questions are quick.

Chris Voss [00:34:31]:

Hold on.

Steven Pesavento [00:34:32]:

Answers do we need to be buckle up. What's a book that's impacted your life the most or one you're excited about right now?

Chris Voss [00:34:40]:

The Rise of Superman by Stephen Kotler. It has had a massive impact and opened my thinking in so many different ways in terms of human performance. I've read several other books as a result of reading that were by Kotler. It also got me interested in a lot of other stuff very much related. The Rise of Superman is a great book.

Steven Pesavento [00:35:03]:

We'll have to add that to the reading list. So from an inspiration standpoint, talk to me about mentors and how do you look at going out and finding great mentors in your life?

Chris Voss [00:35:13]:

All right. Yeah. Never take advice from somebody you wouldn't trade places with. The way you get great mentors is finding someone whose success you want to emulate and then asking them some questions. Now, don't ever ask to pick their brain. Can I pick your brain? Is the phrase that they are going to react negatively to the same way a battered child is going to react to getting hit or getting hugged. They're going to pull back the can I pick your brain? Is the guy who wants free consulting. Establish a relationship with somebody if you don't know them, find a way to demonstrate some value. If they got a book, give them a five star review. Give them something to start off with that would be really easy for you to give, but it shows that you're not just a taker. You're willing to give a little first and then how did you become successful? What are you doing? What's an insight do you have? Demonstrate any value to them whatsoever and there's really good chance that they're going to start giving you value in return. That because it's from them could have a massive impact on your life and is enormously valuable to you. So think about whose success you'd like to emulate and learn from them, and then they'll become your unofficial mentors.

Steven Pesavento [00:36:40]:

That's powerful. Well, I encourage you guys, if you have read Never Split the Difference, head over to Amazon, drop a five star review for Chris, and pass on a little bit of love like he's talking about here. So finally, Chris, from a purpose perspective, what drives you to live your best life every day?

Chris Voss [00:36:57]:

Yeah, helping people as a hostage negotiator. FBI hostage negotiator, we help people get their lives back. I mean, literally get their lives back. As a business negotiator, we're helping people get new lives on a weekly basis. Somebody will say to us, this deal is going to change my life. That is cool. They're making a better life for themselves and for their family. The other thing that's cool about that statement is it's not at somebody else's expense. They're always making a great deal with somebody. Somebody else is really benefiting well, so that's a great statement to hear from somebody because they're not exploiting other people, but they're making life changing deals.

Steven Pesavento [00:37:46]:

That's powerful. Well, you're definitely making a change and a difference in people's lives. I know you've made a change, a difference in mine. So I thank you for that. I thank you for being here. And I want to know where can we find out more about you or get in touch?

Chris Voss [00:37:59]:

Short, sweet way. The newsletter is the gateway to everything that we do. It's the gateway to the website. There are training announcements in it. It's practical, usable, actionable. It's one article once a week, Tuesday mornings, when you're ready to rock and roll on your week. You got the Monday catch up days behind you. You're ready to get into it on Tuesday morning. And it's a simple actionable article. Simplest way to subscribe to the newsletter, we have a text to sign up function. Text the number you text to is two 2828. And again. The number you're texting to is 22 828. The message you send FBI empathy, all one word. Don't let your autocorrect put a space between FBI and empathy. Lowercase. FBI empathy, all one word. Shoot that out to 22828. You get a response back to asking for your email. The newsletter is free and it is a gateway to everything.

Steven Pesavento [00:38:58]:

Phenomenal. Phenomenal. We will include that in the show notes. We'll include a link to the master class and all the things we've been talking about. Chris, this has been phenomenal. Thank you for what you're doing. You're doing good work and I appreciate you being here.

Chris Voss [00:39:12]:

I love the conversation, man. Thanks for having me on.

Steven Pesavento [00:39:15]:

Thank you for listening to the Investor Mindset podcast. If you like what you heard, make sure to rate review, subscribe and share it with a friend. Head over to the to join the Insider Club, where we share tools and strategies from the top investors and entrepreneurs on how to take it to the next level.



business focus, CEO negotiation, Chris Voss, Coaching, common ground, communication skills, elephant in the room, Failure, feeling understood, free training, hostage negotiators, master class experience, master classes, Mentors, moving forward, negotiation outcomes, negotiation training, neuroscience, Never Split the Difference, performance skill, playful interactions, podcast, rapport, real estate investors, Relationship Building, rusty skills, smiling, Success, success rate, Trust, trust-based influence, understanding

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