Never Split the Difference to Negotiate Like A Beast!

Book Review
Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss

chris voss never split the difference

If you haven’t read the book “Never Split the Difference,”  make sure to get out there and do so now Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss.  I found this sweet book breakdown below by Rodney Gainous Jr on

Chris Voss (founder of Black Swan) shares in Never Split The Difference to highlight the best tactics to negotiate in high-stake situations.  The good news?  These tactics can be used in every aspect of your life. While serving as an FBI Hostage Negotiator for twenty years, he’s learned the fundamental principles of any negotiation.

Never Split the Difference
Chapter 1:  The New Rules

  • The open-ended question is one of the most powerful questions because they buy you time and they have no direct answers
  • Asking someone “How can I?” gives them a sense of control
  • During the negotiation, repeating your question is a passive-aggressive approach to signaling that you feel the deal is unfair
  • Active listening is extremely important to address the concerns of the other party
  • Emotional intelligence, or understanding how someone feels is crucial. You must develop a sense of empathy
  • In every negotiation, there are 3 or 5 pieces of information that will change everything

Never Split the Difference
Chapter 2:  Be A Mirror

  • September 30, 1993. Brooklyn. Robbers came in a chase bank and knock out the security guard and a teller. Puts a barrel in the mouth in another teller and it was empty, told her next time it will be real
  • Great negotiators need to go in and reveal the surprises that they know exist
  • At the onset, extract and observe all the information you can
  • A lot of smart people suck at negotiation because they think they know everything
  • Great negotiators questions all assumptions others make
  • The mind tries to go for consistently besides truth
  • Most people are just listening to the voice in their head
  • Prioritize the other person’s argument to quiet the voice in your head and the other persons
  • Wants are easy to talk about, needs imply survival, neither wants or needs is where we start
  • Deep, soft, slow, and reassuring voice eases the confrontation
  • Your most powerful tool is your voice
  • Positive playful voice, direct, or assertive voice, or FM voice
  • Relax and smile while your talking, even when you are on the phone
  • When you talk slowly and clearly it gives the impression your in control
  • You can be direct and to the point long as your voice is cool and calm
  • We fear what’s difference and bond to what’s similar — use mirroring
  • Repeat the last 3 words or the most critical 3 words of what someone says to guide people to elaborate on what they just said

Never Split the Difference
Chapter 3:  Don’t Feel Their Pain, Label It

  • Emotions de-rail communication but can be used as a tool
  • Open your senses, talking less, listening more
  • Watching and listening, eyes peeled, ears open, and mouth shut
  • Paying attention, asking what they’re feeling, making a commitment to understanding their world
  • You can mold your audience by knowing their feelings
  • Closely watch observe someone’s face, gestures, and tone of voice. Our brains let us know a person’s feelings
  • A good listener could anticipate what the speaker is about to say
  • To increase your skills watch interviews
  • Imagine that you are that person visualizes yourself in the position they describe and fill in as many details as possible
  • “It seems like”, “it sounds like”, “it looks like” — words that are common when labeling, use labeling to clarify how they feel
  • Amygdala controls fear and we want to disrupt the amygdala by noticing the negative and vocalize it
  • Don’t deny the negative, it makes it worse
  • List everything terrible that your target could say about you, it creates empathy
  • Following on the ends of an argument is an opportunity to show empathy, acknowledge when someone just went through one

Never Split the Difference
Chapter 4:  Beware “Yes”, Master “No”

  • No’s are gateways to yes
  • When someone says no asked solution based questions
  • There are only 3 kinds of yes, counterfeit, confirmation, and commitment (the real deal)
  • Everyone wants to feel safe and secure, and in control. This will help in getting to a real yes
  • Mark Cuban, every no gets me closer to a yes
  • Mislabel the other parties emotions or desires, say the opposite of what you know
  • Ask the party what they don’t want
  • If the other party won’t say no the other party isn’t worth negotiating
  • If you have been ignored, say “have you given up on this project?” — people’s natural instinct is to say no and explain themselves. No one likes to be abandoned
  • Is now a bad time to talk? Is not as good as do you have a few minutes to talk? — easy to say no first

Never Split the Difference
Chapter 5:  Trigger the Two Words That Immediately Transform Any Negotiation

  • The sweetest words in a negotiation are, “that’s right”
  • Silence is powerful
  • Minimal encourages: yes, okay, I see
  • Mirroring: repeat back what he said
  • Label: labeling the feelings they are feeling
  • Paraphrase: repeat what they say back in their own words
  • Summary: paraphrasing + simulating = summary
  • Then you’ll get a that right

Never Split the Difference
Chapter 6:  Bend Their Reality

  • Negotiation is never a linear formula
  • The real problem with compromise is we don’t get what we want
  • Deadlines regularly make people do impulsive things because of consequences
  • Deadlines are often arbitrary and don’t have the consequences we think
  • Hiding your deadlines puts you in the worst position
  • Decision making is made by emotion
  • The word fair is extremely important
  • Rejecting rational thought just to be fair
  • Guy sold something to Disney for $75k then they made hundreds of millions and he felt it was unfair
  • Say up front that if you’re being unfair let me know
  • People will go out of their way to avoid risk — loss aversion
  • When you talk numbers use odd ones, numbers that end in zero feel serious
  • Don’t ask with why people will get defensive

Never Split the Difference
Chapter 7:  Create The Illusion of Control

  • Ask calibrated questions
  • Regulating emotions
  • Use open-ended questions
  • Never use “why” questions

Never Split the Difference
Chapter 8:  Guarantee Execution

  • Yes is nothing without how
  • Calibrated how questions
  • Summarize their answers until they say that’s right
  • Only 7 is focused on the words, 38% tone of words, 55% body language
  • It’s really hard to continuously lie or fake conviction
  • On average liars use more words and use more complex sentences
  • Your offer is very generous, it just doesn’t work for me
  • The black swan rule, don’t treat people how you want to be treated, treat them how they should

Never Split the Difference
Chapter 9:  Bargain Hard

  • The Ackerman Model
  • 65, 85, 95, 100 percent

Never Split the Difference
Chapter 10:  Find the Black Swan

  • Things happen that were never imagined, got to find the secrets
  • When black swans are not covered it’s difficult to take a situation for what it is
  • There are at least 3 black swans in each negotiation
  • People didn’t know they needed smartphones, Steve jobs found the black swan
  • Similarities increase rapport
  • Everybody wants to be extraordinary
  • Expression passion for people’s goals and their ability to achieve them
  • Asking for something and adding “because” gives much better results
  • People who operate with incorrect information seem crazy or irrational
  • Finding black swans are much easier through face to face interaction
  • Get comfortable with conflict
  • Ignore your natural response to compromise if you’re being reasonably

I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook.  At no extra cost to you, this affiliate link will take you to Amazon to get the audiobook: Never Split The Difference



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