Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss was a highly engaging read. While Voss bases the book on his years of experience negotiating in hostage situations the lessons he brings to the table work in everyday workplace situations. Here were some of my favorite takeaways from the book:
Get People To Say “No” This seems completely counter-intuitive. When you’re in a negotiation you want to get the other person to agree with you so badly sometimes you’ll do everything to avoid getting them to say “no.” However, Voss makes a compelling case for why this exactly what you need to get the other person to do. When people say “no” they feel that they have the power in the conversation. This can be as simple as mislabeling a situation and asking the other person if this is right knowing they will say no and correct you. Perhaps my favorite example of this is when you can’t get someone you work with to respond to an email – Voss suggests emailing :
“Have you given up on this project?”
What is so great about this question and tactic is it warrants the other person responding with no but also it triggers the other person’s natural human aversion to loss. This question also has a certain “finality” to it that makes it clear you will walk away if this person does not reply since they have “given up.” All in all this is just one good example where getting told “no” is a good thing.
Accusation Audits This one seems to be more obvious but still worth mentioning. When walking into a negotiation address any accusation the other party will likely bring up (or be thinking) early on. Addressing any accusation they could throw at you allows you to answer their concerns up front.
“That’s Right” Two words with a great deal of power. When someone says this you make them feel like you understand them. A great way to do this is to summarize or paraphrase what they’ve just said to you. Never underestimate the power of letting someone know they’ve been heard. The most important thing here is even if you completely disagree with the other person by letting them know you heard them and getting that person to agree with you – you’re making them comfortable.
“How Am I Supposed To Do That” This is my favorite of all the techniques in the book. Voss brings up many hostage situations and real-life situations where he simply keeps replying asking the other party to answer how they are supposed to meet whatever demands are being made. This makes the other party think about the situations and slowly begin to make concessions.
All in all this book was a really great read that I would highly recommend.