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Skill Implementation

Business Strategizing, Negotiation Tactics and Book Recommendation: Never split the difference, Negotiating As if Your Life Depended Upon It. Book Authors Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

To most, the word negotiation sounds like something to be avoided at all costs and may even perceived as having negative connotations. However, if you have human desires, goals and are trying to strike a business deal, you will be negotiating. The desires fuel the on-going success of a project, winning a contract, developing a successful business and rewarding business relationships. Chris and Tahl Raz wrote this fabulous book in a way that makes you want to start negotiations immediately.


The Bad News: Get accustomed to negotiating because you will be doing it for the rest of your career.


The Good News: Like me, you will immediately welcome any opportunity to negotiate after reading Chris Voss’s book. Never Split the Difference; Negotiating As if Your Life Depended Upon It. This book is written about a former FBI Hostage negotiator and negotiation coach, Chris Voss provides practical tips and interludes of real-life hostage negotiations that can be applied to business deals.


Below are four tips out of many others and my commentary from Never Spilt the Difference.

  1. When negotiating, deliver the bad news immediately. Use this negotiation tactic early and often. Get to the point and then deliver the solution.

  2. Get to “no”. The opposite of what we believe to be true which hearing the word “yes”. It is our human nature and innate function of the amygdala to protect ourselves. Frame your negotiation and ask questions in a way to receive a No answer. This approach will allow you to advance the conversation and learn more about your opponent along the way.

  3. “That’s right” vs. “you are right”. Chris and Tahl captured plain differences between these two phrases and the results from each. How to lure your opponent to say “that’s right” in an unobtrusive and empathetic manner.

  4. Mirroring – This an easy communication tool. Mirroring buys you time to think and is a purely empathetic communication strategy. Furthermore, if you take it step further, attempt to verbalize the other’s perspective. If you didn't have their perspective right. This action is two-fold; an indication that you did not understand their perspective and secondly, you have gained more information to continue your negotiations.

In time, you will prove to yourself that you can develop your own negotiation strategies that will come natural to you. Below are a few knowns to help you change your mindset and to very quickly come to enjoy negotiating. These are a few of my non-FBI, proven, confidence-building strategies:

  • You may not get exactly what you want, but rather more than what you initially wanted, either now or later

  • There is a possibility that what you were originally negotiating for may not be the solution or best outcome for your business, your client or the market as a whole. The next negotiation will be better.

  • There is always another deal to be had and always another alternative

As you develop and master your negotiation skills, you will get to that moment where you just earned a million and a half dollars from selling your start up or eliminate a demand from escalating like in a hostage negotiation like Voss.


If you are more apt to gravitate toward riveting hostage negotiation stories and prefer to approach daily negotiations in this manner, then please read and reread this great book.



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