Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, Tahl Raz

Never Split the Difference

Table of Contents

Reading Time: 12 minutes



The Power of Broke by Daymond John, Daniel Paisner - Notes

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The Power of Broke by Daymond John, Daniel Paisner - Notes

Deepak Shukla’s Notes On Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, Tahl Raz

Hey guys,

I finished reading this book on the 10th of January 2021.

Here’s a synopsis of the book I grabbed from Amazon:

“A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations – whether in the boardroom or at home.

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator.”

And here are my actual notes I took whilst I was listening to this on Audible:

  • Pushing hard for what you need/what is right is honest and ethical
  • Genuine honest conflict can actually help progress
  • The adversary is the situation – the person you in conflict with is your partner!
  • We know of many couples who get a divorce without ever arguing
  • Most people mess up because they fear conflict itself
  • Overcoming fear to get what you want in life
  • When it doesn’t make sense if often makes cents (ie opportunity to learn some valuable information)
  • Interruptions / interruption of flow / odd exchanges – often leads to people cracking. Pay attention to this because it can reveal a goldmine
  • Why reporters always keep mics on because at the beginning and end when the main thing is done is often when you learn the most
  • Observe unguarded moments
  • Hidden interests often confused as irrationality
  • Religion as a reason
  • When the partner expresses goals – express your concurrence for their ability to achieve them
  • When someone displays passion and purpose for what we always wanted it’s intoxicating. We all want a map to joy and it makes us relive our childhood spirit
  • Listen for something that reveals a particular outlook or perspective and then find vocabulary that will help them identify with you
  • Similarity Principle – trust people more who we think are similar to us
  • Get people to come in as backup listeners
  • Get recordings if possible to listen again and listen some more
  • Review everything you hear – you will not catch everything the first time
  • Using other guys religion against him Is an extremely powerful negotiation tool
  • By positioning your demands within the world view your counterpart uses to make decisions – you show them respect
  • The paradox of power – the harder you push the more pushback you get
  • Understand their religion – aka their world views and beliefs (whether religious or not)
  • You want to see what language someone speaks and speak it back to them
  • Understanding normative leverage can be as simple as Asking what your partner believes and just standing back and listening
  • Normative leverage
  • Sentences like ‘it seems clear that you’ve always valued that you pay on time’ or ‘it seems like you don’t care what position you are leaving me in’
  • People will act irrationally and shut off the negotiation if feel under threat
  • People will do than give up their autonomy so be mindful when making a threat
  • Loss aversion is real as a threat – if you don’t do X I will do Y
  • Remember if someone says ‘I want’, you have positive leverage
  • Eg you have more leverage than you think in negotiation kidnapping. What business is successful with only one buyer?
  • Black swans are leverage multipliers
  • Black swans can be completely innocuous and hidden in plain site
  • Why are they communicating what they are communicating right now
  • Don’t verify what you expect
  • Feel for the truth behind the camouflage
  • Ask lots of questions and read non verbal cues
  • Each side is in possession of at least 3 black swans that if were uncovered would change everything
  • Always retain a beginner’s mind
  • Every situation is new. We must let our known knowns guide us but not dictate what happens
  • When the pressure is on you don’t rise to the occasion you fall to your highest level of preparation
  • Ackerman method for haggling
  1. Set your target price
  2. Set your first offer at 65% of your target price
  3. Calculate 3 raises of decreasing increments of 85/95/100%
  4. Use Empathy and lots of ways of saying no before you get the other side to increase your counteroffer
  5. When calculating your final price use specific non round numbers – gives number credibility and weight
  6. Throw in your final offer with some non monetary item that they probably don’t want
  • Unsolved issues are the problem not the person
  • Why would you do THAT? (Tone here very important)
  • ‘Why did you do that?’, only ever used to knock someone back
  • Threats delivered with poise – ‘I’m sorry that just doesn’t work’ – very effective
  • For anger to be effective it has to be real but you also need to control it
  • Real anger. Threats without anger and strategic umbrage
  • You bake with the flour you have
  • You can’t be what you’re not.
  • Have you understand their type be opening yourself up to their normal
  • Don’t treat others the way you would like to be treated to treat others the way they want to be treated
  • I am a normal paradox
  • Accomodator
  1. Time spent building a relationship
  2. Want win-win
  3. Will become friends with other side even if agreement not reached
  4. Yield concession to appease or acquiesce and hope another side reciprocates
  5. Social accomodating peace-seeking and poor time managers they probably accommodator
  6. Be social and friendly
  • Analysts –
  1. Methodical and diligent
  2. Not in rush
  3. Their motto – as much time as it takes to get it right
  4. Prefer to work alone
  5. Rarely show emotion
  6. Self image linked to minimising mistakes
  7. Rarely deviate from their goals
  8. Do well with FM DJ voice
  9. Speak off in a way that’s distant And cold instead of soothing
  10. Pride themselves on details. Will spend weeks on it to prevent being shown up
  11. Analysts hate surprises
  12. Information gathers and problem solvers – hyper sensitive to reciprocity
  13. Sceptical by nature
  14. Don’t expect immediate counter proposals by them
  15. Asking too many questions at start bad idea because they want to understand all the implications, pays to be prepared
  16. Silence is opportunity to think
  17. Don’t adlib
  18. Apologies of little as they see negotiation and their relationship with you as separate things
  19. Respond well to labels
  20. Not quick to answer calibrated questions
  21. May need few days to respond
  22. If you’re analyst you should worry about cutting yourself off from your biggest piece of data – your counterpart
  23. People will be more forthcoming as a result if you smile
  24. Smiling used for when caught off guard
  • To be good you have to learn to be yourself at the table. To be great you have to add to your strengths
  • Personal negotiation style
  • Chapter 9: Bargain Hard
  • More of ‘we, they and them’ is savvy decision maker who keeping his options open
  • If you hear a lot of “I, me and my” authority probably lies elsewhere
  • Yes is nothing without how
  • You can express no 4x before you actually need to use the word
  • Best way to get your counterparts to lower their offer is to say no using how questions – how am I supposed to do that
  • Humanise yourself – say your name in a fun friendly way and get your own special price
  • Include your name ‘my name is Deepak’ 🙂
  • When people lying these are the signs:
  1. Liars use more words than truth tellers
  2. Use far more third person pronouns like ‘you, him it they them’ rather than I
  3. Liars tend to speak in more complex sentences in a bid to win over their suspicious counterparts
  4. Ie try to baffle people with bullshit
  • Ask yes for 3 times in different ways uncovers falsehoods and incongruences that might not come up if just once
  • 7/38/55 words body language and tonality best ways to gauge people
  • How do we ensure the managers of those we are training are fully onboard
  • How do we make sure we deliver the right material to the right people?
  • How onboard is the rest of your team
  • How does this affect everybody else?
  • How will we know when we’re off track?
  • How will we know when we’re on track?
  • The art of letting someone else have your way
  • A deal is nothing without good implementation
  • Use some variation of ‘how can I do that?’ creates forced empathy
  • Yes is nothing without how
  • Bite your tongue!!
  • Who has control is discussion the guy listening or the guy talking? Guy listening of course
  • When you’re attacked in a verbal skirmish step back and ask a calibrated question – will change entire tenor of conversation
  • Pause think and let passion dissipate
  • Self control is most important thing
  • How am I supposed to do that forces counterpart to do your work for you and internalise your POV
  • What’s the objective here?
  • What is it that you want?
  • What are we trying to accomplish here?
  • How can we solve this problem?
  • What is it that bought us into this situation?
  • How can I help to make this better for us?
  • What about this is important to you?
  • What is the biggest challenge you face?
  • What and how are most important openers
  • Don’t use ‘why’ it can backfire very easily
  • How would you like me to proceed
  • How can I help make this better for us?
  • What about this is important to you?
  • Calibrated questions –

[convertful id=”197358″]

  1. Design questions to take someone somewhere
  2. Avoids words like can / is / do or does
  3. Start with reporters questions – who what when why and how
  4. These words inspire counterpart to think expansively
  5. Better to cut further and start with what how and sometimes I
  6. Who when where and why can often get 1 word answers
  • When you are negotiating payment terms you can summarise challenge discuss why it’s a challenge for you and then ask the question – how am I supposed do that?
  • How am I supposed to do that? Is a great question for asking someone to figure out how to help you
  • He who learns to disagree without being disagreeable has learned the most valuable secret of negotiation
  • Our job as persuaders is not to get them to believe what we say. But to get them unbelieving
  • Giving counterpart illusion of control by asking calibrated questions by Asking for help – one of most powerful tools for suspending unbelief
  • Key is to stop people from unbelieving in a negotiation
  • Coopting not coercing. Coaxing
  • All negotiations are defined by a subterranean pattern of desires and needs
  • If someone gives you guidance and it’s specific and detailed they will have a vested interest in watching you implement and seeing if you succeed
  • Ask ‘what does it take to be successful here?’
  • Spark their interest in your success and you gain an unofficial mentor
  • Pleasant persistence on non salary terms
  • Always use specific numbers – odd and never with zero’s
  • Figure out what’s cheap to yourself but valuable to your counterpart
  • If you offer a range expect someone to come in at the lower end
  • Eg I’m about to tell you something and it isn’t good you’re going to think ‘X/Y/Z’
  • Anchor their emotions by acknowledging all their fears
  • Loss aversion – to get real leverage have to convince someone they’ve got something to lose if the deal falls through
  • Prospect theory – Kaunheman
  • You can use ‘We’ve given you a fair offer’
  • If someone uses ‘F’ bomb against you then you say ‘I see – well ok let’s go back to the part that you felt wad unfair and look at it again’
  • You can drop the ‘F’ bomb to get a better deal – I just want what’s fair
  • Important you share deadline you have with opponent to get to crux of matter fast
  • Deadlines are almost never ironclad
  • No deal is better than a bad deal
  • Deadlines are boogeyman of negotiation unsettling us unnecessarily
  • Deadlines are almost ALWAYS arbitrary and never trigger consequences of any matter
  • Imaginary deadlines create a fear in people that causes them to make irrational choices
  • Don’t fall for the line in the sand or false sense of urgency to believe that doing a deal now is better than doing a good deal
  • Make time your ally
  • Don’t settle. And never settle the difference
  • Compromise is often bullshit. We compromise to avoid fear and to avoid pain. Too few are driven by their actual goals
  • We compromise because it’s easy and it saves face and to be safe
  • Chapter 6 Bend their reality
  • This can massively with my relationship also with Daniela
  • Using ‘thats right’, to make a sale – can turn a no into a yes
  • Figure out what someone needs to hear to finish with the words ‘thats right’ – this creates environment for subtle epiphany
  • Drive towards that’s right. Not ‘you’re right’ – that changes nothing and is actually a disaster
  • Every tactic in the listening arsenal

1. Effective pauses – silence is powerful (told Benji to use it for emphasis) – keep using it till eventually emotion is drained from a dialogue

2. Minimal encouragers – ‘uhuh’/’yes’/’ok’/’i see’ to convey you’re paying full attention and what person has to say

3. Mirroring (repeat back what person says)

4. Labelling (give his feelings a name and identity with how he felt) eg it’s all terribly unfair and I can see now why you sound so angry

5. Paraphrase – repeat what he saying back in your own words

6. Summarise – paraphrase + labeling = summary

7.Ultimately the only way from here is for person to say ‘thats right’

  • Get them to say a ‘thats right’, several times to make them more malleable and to get to suble epiphany
  • Need to create a subtle epiphany
  • Them saying ‘yes/yes/yes’ doesn’t open up pathway to internal change – must apply behaviour stairway model instead
  • Sweetest words in any negotiation are ‘thats right’
  • Unconditional positive regard is how you need to accept anyone to open up a path to true change
  • Process is: behaviour stairway change model – 1. Active listening 2. Empathy 3. Rapport 4. Influence and 5. Behavioural change
  • CNU @ Quantico are FBI top dogs for hostage negotiation
  • Negotiation is about convincing the other party that what you want is their own idea
  • Is now a bad time to talk instead of ‘do you have a minutes to talk’ encourages a no which empowers prospect
  • Aim for no at the start enroute to getting your yes
  • One line email you can use – Have you given up on this project?
  • Can also say ‘lets start with what you don’t want’
  • Sometimes difficult to get people into saying ‘No’ so need to do it purposefully by miscategorising
  • Start with no – Jim camp
  • Embrace the no
  • Go for the early no
  • Start with ‘is now a good time to talk?’
  • Beware a plastic/early Yes. a counterfeit yes. No starts the conversation
  • Start with their most basic wants
  • Two kinds of yes
  1. Commitment yes is one you want
  2. Three sound almost exactly the same
  • Persuade in their world
  • Practice hearing no as something other than rejection and respond accordingly
  1. What about this bothers you
  2. What is not working for you
  3. I don’t think I understand
  4. I don’t think I can afford it
  5. I want some more information
  • Welcoming them to say no brings down many barriers and actually opens up communication
  • No often decision frequently that changes so let other person have no because it makes them more open to help you get to yes later
  • No starts the negotiation
  • Use labels to reinforce positive perception and dynamics
  • List worst things party can say about you
  • Focus on clearing the barriers to an agreement first
  • Empathy, after someone has an argument, is a brilliant strategy as person is searching for a human connection
  • When you list someone’s fears or negative thoughts they often add colour and nuance to them which gives you more information
  • Anticipate all negative things other side might think about you and list them out
  • Accusation audit
  • Taking the sting out
  • ‘it seems that you are really passionate about X and really want to make sure you’ve Found the right Y
  • ‘i’m sensing some….’
  • Clear the road before advertising the destination
  • When writing stuff make it more emotional as a means of stirring up a particular emotion
  • Research shows best way to deal with negativity is to observe it without judgement or without a reaction
  • Whenever make a mistake go right at it as fast as possible
  • Labelling is a tactic not strategy
  • Try now. Label an emotion then be silent. People will open up
  • It seems like / it sounds like. Don’t say ‘i’m hearing that’ – use of pronoun ‘I’ makes it feel selfish like you aren’t interested in others feelings
  • Words / tone / body language = words music and dance. Spot feelings is about how people respond when you ask them questions
  • Labelling an emotion – moves emotion into rational part of brain thus removing it’s intensity
  • Labelling is a way of naming the way someone feels without making reference to any other external factors
  • Neural resonance
  • Tactical empathy is emotional intelligence on steroids
  • Put a smile on your face always!
  • SLOW IT DOWN. Most common mistake negotiator’s make is going too fast. Ends up making people feel like they are not being heard
  • Negotiation is not an act of battle but a process of discovery
  • Oprah Winfrey = amazing negotiator (watch some of her shoes)
  • Mirroring will make you feel uncomfortable when you first try it – but it’s a valuable Swiss army knife for conversation in every social setting
  • Mirror will get you the clarity you want whilst respecting and listening to what other person is saying
  • Ask someone ‘what do you mean by that’ and you’re likely to incite defensiveness or irritation
  • Intention behind most mirrors is please help me understand?
  • How to deal with any type of conflict: 1. Use late night FM DJ voice 2. Start with I’m sorry 3. Mirror 4. Silence 5. Repeat
  • Being right isn’t the key for a negotiation. Having the right mindset it
  • Mirror for FBI when you repeat last word or last 1-3 words of what somebody said
  • Waiters who used mirroring instead of positive reinforcement got 70% more tips
  • Generally an unconscious behaviour
  • Mirroring also called isopraxism – essentially imitation
  • When you mirror someone they can start vomiting information
  • You can be very direct and to the point as long as you use a tone of voice that says ‘im ok you’re ok – let’s figure things out’
  • Radio DJ voice is smooth downward inflecting and drawn out – I’m in control
  • Smile in your face and smile in your voice will increase your own mental agility
  • These voices are cross cultural and never fail regardless of location
  • Three times of voice available to hostage negotiators
  1. Late night FM DJ voice
  2. Positive playful voice
  3. Assertive voice (forget this)
  • We grasp what the other person is feeling without even intending to
  • How we are – general demeanor and mode of delivery – easiest things to enact and best tool for change
  • Listening is where negotiation starts. Validating them emotionaly and making them feel safe
  • Active listening requires quietening your inner voice – which takes extreme effort – most people can’t do it
  • Life is negotiation
  • Tactical empathy
  • When someone listened to intently they tend to listen 👂 to themselves more carefully
  • Listening intensely is worlds cheapest form of therapy
  • The universal premise that everyone wants to be listened to and understood
  • Two systems of Thought – animal mind (fast) and rational mind (slow)
  • Kidnappers are just business man trying to get the best price
  • ‘How am I supposed to do that?’ is a very good challenging technique and variations of this work well
  • Be the smartest dumb guy in the room
  • When in a tough negotiating position ask ‘innocent’ open ended questions to change the frame of the conversation