Never Split the Difference
Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
Admittedly, this book presents itself a bit audaciously. Give it a chance though, and you’ll see there’s nary a more appropriate title. In his book Never Split The Difference, Chris Voss takes you along for a ride through his adventures in becoming a hostage negotiator for the FBI. Uniquely though, it’s not all just stories of bravery and success against all odds, but nearer a biographical set of lessons learned while coming to understand how human emotions play into negotiations. Chris describes his journey from the beginning of his interest in the profession, to intense high-stakes international crises with human lives on the line, to having his own methods used against him by his consulting business associates.
One of the core principles in hostage negotiation is to get everything you want and not let the other guy get anything. Say a bank robber is holding four people at gunpoint inside the building. The negotiator doesn’t tell him “Tell you what… give me two of the hostages and we’ll take them away to the East, you shoot the other two and head West and we have ourselves a deal.” What?!?! That’s insane! No, you work to get EVERYTHING you want. And you usually have little more than your own voice to work with as a tool. With the stakes at hand, you’d better believe these folks have figured out a thing or two on negotiating deals.
The lessons and methods Chris teaches in his book are not exclusive to international terrorists. These apply to any negotiation situation. The only criterion is that you must be negotiating with a human. That’s because success hinges on your ability to interact with other people emotionally. The simplicity of some of these things is stunning, though deliberate practice is required to be effective.
Realizing this, Chris set out and created the Black Swan Group: An organization dedicated to teaching negotiation skills to individuals, businesses, and governmental organizations. Start with Never Split The Difference to see the importance and effectiveness of these skills. Apply them in your life and business situations. If your organization requires your team to be adept at these things, check out what the Black Swan Group has to offer. You won’t regret it.