Book Reviews

Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss -Book Notes, Summary, and Review

8. Never Split The Difference - Chris Voss

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Rating: 10/10

Date of reading: 7th – 12th of February, 2018

Description: Drop the theory. Drop the 50%-50% deal. Chris Voss was an FBI negotiator dealing with kidnappings and ransoms. And you can’t do a 50%-50% deal when a human being is at stake. It needs to be 100%-0 and Chris shows us how in his amazing book Never Split The Difference.

 

My notes:

 

CHAPTER 1 | THE NEW RULES
How to Become the Smartest Person . . . in Any Room

 

“Mnookin, predictably, started fumbling because the frame of the conversation had shifted from how I’d respond to the threat of my son’s murder to how the professor would deal with the logistical issues involved in getting the money. How he would solve my problems.” ( :8)

“Our techniques were the products of experiential learning; they were developed by agents in the field, negotiating through crisis and sharing stories of what succeeded and what failed. It was an iterative process, not an intellectual one, as we refined the tools we used day after day. And it was urgent. Our tools had to work, because if they didn’t someone died.” ( :9)

“THE SMARTEST DUMB GUY IN THE ROOM” ( :9)

“To answer my questions, a year later, in 2006, I talked my way into Harvard Law School’s Winter Negotiation Course.” ( :9)

“”Chris, how did you do with Andy?” she asked. “How much did you get?” I’ll never forget Sheila’s expression when I told her what Andy had agreed to pay. Her whole face first went red, as if she couldn’t breathe, and then out popped a little strangled gasp like a baby bird’s hungry cry. Finally, she started to laugh. Andy squirmed. “You got literally every dime he had,” she said, “and in his brief he was supposed to hold a quarter of it back in reserve for future work.” Andy sank deep in his chair.” ( :10)

“”I’m just asking questions,” I said. “It’s a passive-aggressive approach. I just ask the same three or four open-ended questions over and over and over and over. They get worn out answering and give me everything I want.”” ( :10)

“In my short stay I realized that without a deep understanding of human psychology, without the acceptance that we are all crazy, irrational, impulsive, emotionally driven animals, all the raw intelligence and mathematical logic in the world is little help in the fraught, shifting interplay of two people negotiating.” ( :11)

“heir system was easy to follow and seductive, with four basic tenets. One, separate the person— the emotion—from the problem; two, don’t get wrapped up in the other side’s position (what they’re asking for) but instead focus on their interests (why they’re asking for it) so that you can find what they really want; three, work cooperatively to generate win-win options; and, four, establish mutually agreed-upon standards for evaluating those possible solutions.” ( :12)

“Halfway across the United States, a pair of professors at the University of Chicago was looking at everything from economics to negotiation from a far different angle. They were the economist Amos Tversky and the psychologist Daniel Kahneman. Together, the two launched the field of behavioral economics—and Kahneman won a Nobel Prize—by showing that man is a very irrational beast. Feeling, they discovered, is a form of thinking.” ( :13)

“Through decades of research with Tversky, Kahneman proved that humans all suffer from Cognitive Bias, that is, unconscious—and irrational—brain processes that literally distort the way we see the world. Kahneman and Tversky discovered more than 150 of them.” ( :13)

“That’s what happened to Andy at Harvard: by asking, “How am I supposed to do that?” I influenced his System 1 emotional mind into accepting that his offer wasn’t good enough; his System 2 then rationalized the situation so that it made sense to give me a better offer.” ( :13)

“What were needed were simple psychological tactics and strategies that worked in the field to calm people down, establish rapport, gain trust, elicit the verbalization of needs, and persuade the other guy of our empathy. We needed something easy to teach, easy to learn, and easy to execute.” ( :15)

“It all starts with the universally applicable premise that people want to be understood and accepted. Listening is the cheapest, yet most effective concession we can make to get there. By listening intensely, a negotiator demonstrates empathy and shows a sincere desire to better understand what the other side is experiencing.” ( :15)

“Tactical Empathy. This is listening as a martial art, balancing the subtle behaviors of emotional intelligence and the assertive skills of influence, to gain access to the mind of another person. Contrary to popular opinion, listening is not a passive activity. It is the most active thing you can do.” ( :15)

“A successful hostage negotiator has to get everything he asks for, without giving anything back of substance, and do so in a way that leaves the adversaries feeling as if they have a great relationship. His work is emotional intelligence on steroids. Those are the tools you’ll learn here.” ( :17)

“Finally, you’ll see how to engage your counterpart by acknowledging their right to choose, and you’ll learn an email technique that ensures that you’ll never be ignored again.” ( :17)

 

CHAPTER 2 | BE A MIRROR
How to Quickly Establish Rapport

 

“It was a reminder to my colleagues and me that until you know what you’re dealing with, you don’t know what you’re dealing with.” ( :20)

“1 In one of the most cited research papers in psychology, George A. Miller persuasively put forth the idea that we can process only about seven pieces of information in our conscious mind at any given moment. In other words, we are easily overwhelmed.” ( :21)

“The approach was half MSU—Making Shit Up—and half a sort of sales approach—basically trying to persuade, coerce, or manipulate in any way possible. The problem was, we were in too much of a hurry, driving too hard toward a quick solution; trying to be a problem solver, not a people mover.” ( :22)

“I said, “Joe’s gone. This is Chris. You’re talking to me now.” I didn’t put it like a question. I made a downward-inflecting statement, in a downward-inflecting tone of voice. The best way to describe the late-night FM DJ’s voice is as the voice of calm and reason.” ( :23)

“When people are in a positive frame of mind, they think more quickly, and are more likely to collaborate and problem-solve (instead of fight and resist).” ( :24)

“when you inflect your voice in a downward way, you put it out there that you’ve got it covered. Talking slowly and clearly you convey one idea: I’m in control. When you inflect in an upward way, you invite a response. Why?” ( :24)

“I might use in a contract negotiation, when an item isn’t up for discussion. If I see a work-for-hire clause, for example, I might say, “We don’t do work-for-hire.” Just like that, plain, simple, and friendly. I don’t offer up an alternative, because it would beg further discussion, so I just make a straightforward declaration.” ( :24)

“for the FBI, a “mirror” is when you repeat the last three words (or the critical one to three words) of what someone has just said.” ( :26)

“One group of waiters, using positive reinforcement, lavished praise and encouragement on patrons using words such as “great,” “no problem,” and “sure” in response to each order. The other group of waiters mirrored their customers simply by repeating their orders back to them. The results were stunning: the average tip of the waiters who mirrored was 70 percent more than of those who used positive reinforcement.” ( :26)

“The seventh-largest standing army in the world was at the ready outside the bank doors—that’s the size and scope of the NYPD, in full force, and their guns were fixed on him and his partner. Obviously, Bobby was desperate to step out those doors unharmed.” ( :27)

“1. Use the late-night FM DJ voice. 2. Start with “I’m sorry . . .” 3. Mirror. 4. Silence. At least four seconds, to let the mirror work its magic on your counterpart. 5. Repeat.” ( :30)

“”Let’s make two copies of all the paperwork.” “I’m sorry, two copies?”” ( :31)

“The intention behind most mirrors should be “Please, help me understand.”” ( :31)

“”Yes,” her boss responded, “one for us and one for the customer.” “I’m sorry, so you are saying that the client is asking for a copy and we need a copy for internal use?” “Actually, I’ll check with the client—they haven’t asked for anything. But I definitely want a copy. That’s just how I do business.” “Absolutely,” she responded. “Thanks for checking with the customer. Where would you like to store the in-house copy? There’s no more space in the file room here.”” ( :31)

“”Yes,” her boss responded, “one for us and one for the customer.” “I’m sorry, so you are saying that the client is asking for a copy and we need a copy for internal use?” “Actually, I’ll check with the client—they haven’t asked for anything. But I definitely want a copy. That’s just how I do business.” “Absolutely,” she responded. “Thanks for checking with the customer. Where would you like to store the in-house copy? There’s no more space in the file room here.” “It’s fine. You can store it anywhere,” he said, slightly perturbed now. “Anywhere?” she mirrored again, with calm concern. When another person’s tone of voice or body language is inconsistent with his words, a good mirror can be particularly useful.” ( :31)

“For now, just create two digital backups.” A day later her boss emailed and wrote simply, “The two digital backups will be fine.”” ( :31)

“People who view negotiation as a battle of arguments become overwhelmed by the voices in their head. Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible.” ( :32)

“When done properly, you create an aura of authority and trustworthiness without triggering defensiveness.” ( :32)

 

CHAPTER 3 | DON’T FEEL THEIR PAIN, LABEL IT
How to Create Trust with Tactical Empathy

 

“Emotions are one of the main things that derail communication. Once people get upset at one another, rational thinking goes out the window.” ( :33)

“Getting to this level of emotional intelligence demands opening up your senses, talking less, and listening more. You can learn almost everything you need—and a lot more than other people would like you to know—simply by watching and listening, keeping your eyes peeled and your ears open, and your mouth shut.” ( :33)

“”It looks like you don’t want to come out,” I said repeatedly. “It seems like you worry that if you open the door, we’ll come in with guns blazing. It looks like you don’t want to go back to jail.”” ( :34)

“”We didn’t want to get caught or get shot, but you calmed us down,” they said. “We finally believed you wouldn’t go away, so we just came out.”” ( :34)

“I tell my students that empathy is “the ability to recognize the perspective of a counterpart, and the vocalization of that recognition.” That’s an academic way of saying that empathy is paying attention to another human being, asking what they are feeling, and making a commitment to understanding their world.” ( :34)

“Tactical empathy is understanding the feelings and mindset of another in the moment and also hearing what is behind those feelings so you increase your influence in all the moments that follow. It’s bringing our attention to both the emotional obstacles and the potential pathways to getting an agreement done. It’s emotional intelligence on steroids.” ( :34)

“It seems like wizardry, but it’s not. It’s just that when the officer has his audience clearly in mind, he can become who he needs to be to handle the situation.” ( :35)

“Politics aside, empathy is not about being nice or agreeing with the other side. It’s about understanding them. Empathy helps us learn the position the enemy is in, why their actions make sense (to them), and what might move them.” ( :35)

“Now, pay close attention to exactly what we said: “It looks like you don’t want to come out. It seems like you worry that if you open the door, we’ll come in with guns blazing. It looks like you don’t want to go back to jail.”” ( :36)

“We didn’t just put ourselves in the fugitives’ shoes. We spotted their feelings, turned them into words, and then very calmly and respectfully repeated their emotions back to them. In a negotiation, that’s called labeling.” ( :36)

“It gets you close to someone without asking about external factors you know nothing about (“How’s your family?”). Think of labeling as a shortcut to intimacy, a time-saving emotional hack.” ( :36)

“found that when people are shown photos of faces expressing strong emotion, the brain shows greater activity in the amygdala, the part that generates fear. But when they are asked to label the emotion, the activity moves to the areas that govern rational thinking. In other words, labeling an emotion—applying rational words to a fear—disrupts its raw intensity.” ( :36)

“But it has very specific rules about form and delivery. That makes it less like chatting than like a formal art such as Chinese calligraphy.” ( :36)

“Let me let you in on a secret: people never even notice.” ( :36)

“It seems like . . . It sounds like . . . It looks like . . .” ( :37)

“Notice we said “It sounds like . . .” and not “I’m hearing that . . .” That’s because the word “I” gets people’s guard up. When you say “I,” it says you’re more interested in yourself than the other person, and it makes you take personal responsibility for the words that follow—and the offense they might cause.” ( :37)

“They’ll usually give a longer answer than just “yes” or “no.” And if they disagree with the label, that’s okay. You can always step back and say, “I didn’t say that was what it was. I just said it seems like that.”” ( :37)

“If you’ll trust me for a second, take a break now and try it out: Strike up a conversation and put a label on one of the other person’s emotions—it doesn’t matter if you’re talking to the mailman or your ten-year-old daughter—and then go silent. Let the label do its work.” ( :37)

“Labeling is a tactic, not a strategy, in the same way a spoon is a great tool for stirring soup but it’s not a recipe.” ( :37)

“As an emotion, anger is rarely productive—in you or the person you’re negotiating with. It releases stress hormones and neurochemicals that disrupt your ability to properly evaluate and respond to situations. And it blinds you to the fact that you’re angry in the first place, which gives you a false sense of confidence.” ( :37)

“”Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” I said when he answered the phone. There was a long pause at the other end of the line. “Who is this?” he said. “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” I repeated. “It’s Chris Voss.” Again there was a long silence. “Does your boss know you’re here?”” ( :38)

“I’ve found the phrase “Look, I’m an asshole” to be an amazingly effective way to make problems go away. That approach has never failed me.” ( :38)

“Instead of addressing his grumpy behavior, you acknowledge his sadness in a nonjudgmental way. You head him off before he can really get started. “We don’t see each other all that often,” you could say. “It seems like you feel like we don’t pay any attention to you and you only see us once a year, so why should you make time for us?”” ( :38)

“”For us this is a real treat. We want to hear what you have to talk about. We want to value this time with you because we feel left out of your life.”” ( :38)

“Now the team was “YOUR Washington Redskins” and the purpose of the call was to ensure that the team’s most valuable fans—the delinquent customers—would be there at the season opener. “The home-field advantage created by you each and every Sunday at FedEx Field does not go unnoticed,”” ( :39)

“We’re not talking about someone who sold Girl Scout cookies: my student was an experienced fund-raiser who regularly got donors to pony up $1,000 to $25,000 a check. Over the years, she’d developed a very successful system to get her “clients,” usually wealthy women, to open their checkbook.” ( :40)

“other label. “It seems that you are really passionate about this gift and want to find the right project reflecting the opportunities and lifechanging experiences the Girl Scouts gave you.”” ( :40)

“The obstacle here wasn’t finding the right match for the woman. It wasn’t that she was this highly finicky, hard-to-please donor. The real obstacle was that this woman needed to feel that she was understood, that the person handling her money knew why she was in that office and understood the” ( :40)

“memories that were driving her actions.” ( :41)

“So I don’t ask. Instead, I say, “In case you’re worried about volunteering to role-play with me in front of the class, I want to tell you in advance . . . it’s going to be horrible.” After the laughter dies down, I then say, “And those of you who do volunteer will probably get more out of this than anyone else.”” ( :41)

“Now, look at what I did: I prefaced the conversation by labeling my audience’s fears; how much worse can something be than “horrible”? I defuse them and wait, letting it sink in and thereby making the unreasonable seem less forbidding.” ( :41)

“They call this technique “taking the sting out.” What I want to do here is turn this into a process that, applied systematically, you can use to disarm your counterpart while negotiating everything from your son’s bedtime to large business contracts.” ( :41)

“”You’re going to think we are a big, bad prime contractor when we are done,” Anna practiced saying slowly and naturally. “It seems you feel this work was promised to you from the beginning,” Mark said.” ( :42)

“Angela, one of ABC’s representatives, gasped. “It sounds like you think we are the big, bad prime contractor trying to push out the small business,” Anna said, heading off the accusation before it could be made. “No, no, we don’t think that,” Angela said, conditioned by the acknowledgment to look for common ground. With the negatives labeled and the worst accusations laid bare, Anna and Mark were able to turn the conversation to the contract.” ( :43)

“”This is not a good situation but we appreciate the fact that you are acknowledging what happened, and we don’t feel like you are mistreating us. And you are not the ‘Big Bad Prime.'” Anna’s reaction to how this turned out? “Holy crap, this stuff actually works!”” ( :43)

“When Ryan finally got to Dallas at 8 p.m., he ran to the gate where the day’s final American Airlines flight to Austin was less than thirty minutes from takeoff. His goal was to get on that flight or, at worst, get an earlier flight the next day.” ( :44)

“In front of him at the gate, a very aggressive couple was yelling at the gate agent, who was barely looking at them as she tapped on the computer in front of her; she was clearly making every effort not to scream back. After she’d said, “There’s nothing I can do,” five times, the angry couple finally gave up and left. To start,” ( :44)

“”Hi, Wendy, I’m Ryan. It seems like they were pretty upset.” This labels the negative and establishes a rapport based on empathy. This in turn encourages Wendy to elaborate on her situation, words Ryan then mirrors to invite her to go further.” ( :44)

“”The weather?” After Wendy explains how the delays in the Northeast had rippled through the system, Ryan again labels the negative and then mirrors her answer to encourage her to delve further. “It seems like it’s been a hectic day.” “There’ve been a lot of ‘irate consumers,’ you know? I mean, I get it, even though I don’t like to be yelled at. A lot of people are trying to get to Austin for the big game.” “The big game?” “UT is playing Ole Miss football and every flight into Austin has been booked solid.” “Booked solid?” Now let’s pause. Up to this point, Ryan has been using labels and mirrors to build a relationship with Wendy. To her it must seem like idle chatter, though, because he hasn’t asked for anything. Unlike the angry couple, Ryan is acknowledging her situation. His words ping-pong between “What’s that?” and “I hear you,” both of which invite her to elaborate.” ( :44)

“”Well, it seems like you’ve been handling the rough day pretty well,” he says. “I was also affected by the weather delays and missed my connecting flight. It seems like this flight is likely booked solid, but with what you said, maybe someone affected by the weather might miss this connection. Is there any possibility a seat will be open?” Listen to that riff: Label, tactical empathy, label. And only then a request.” ( :45)

“Wendy says nothing and begins typing on her computer. Ryan, who’s eager not to talk himself out of a possible deal, engages in some silence. After thirty seconds, Wendy prints a boarding pass and hands it to Ryan, explaining that there were a few seats that were supposed to be filled by people who would now arrive much later than the flight’s departure. To make Ryan’s success even better, she puts him in Economy Plus seating. All that in under two minutes!” ( :45)

 

CHAPTER 4 | BEWARE “YES”—MASTER “NO”
How to Generate Momentum and Make It Safe to Reveal the Real Stakes

 

“But at the end of the day, “Yes” is often a meaningless answer that hides deeper objections (and “Maybe” is even worse). Pushing hard for “Yes” doesn’t get a negotiator any closer to a win; it just angers the other side.” ( :47)

“My conversation with Amy kicked off my awareness of the complex and hidden subtleties of conversation, the power of certain words, the seemingly unintelligible emotional truths that so often underlie intelligible exchanges.” ( :48)

“It comes down to the deep and universal human need for autonomy. People need to feel in control. When you preserve a person’s autonomy by clearly giving them permission to say “No” to your ideas, the emotions calm, the effectiveness of the decisions go up, and the other party can really look at your proposal.” ( :49)

“This means you have to train yourself to hear “No” as something other than rejection, and respond accordingly. When someone tells you “No,” you need to rethink the word in one of its alternative— and much more real—meanings:” ( :49)

“■ I am not yet ready to agree; ■ You are making me feel uncomfortable; ■ I do not understand; ■ I don’t think I can afford it; ■ I want something else; ■ I need more information; or ■ I want to talk it over with someone else.” ( :50)

“I’ll let you in on a secret. There are actually three kinds of “Yes”: Counterfeit, Confirmation, and Commitment.” ( :50)

“”Well, Chris,” he said, still smiling. “That was one of the worst calls I ever heard.” I stared at him, gape-jawed. “Jim, did you hear Daryl congratulate me?” I asked. “I talked him down, man. I killed it.” Jim smiled—I hated that smile right then—and nodded. “That’s one of the signs, because they should be congratulating themselves when they get off the line,” he said. “They don’t need to be congratulating you. That tells me you did too much. If they think you did it—if you were the guy who killed it—how is he going to help himself? I don’t want to be harsh, but you were horrible.”” ( :52)

“In every negotiation, in every agreement, the result comes from someone else’s decision. And sadly, if we believe that we can control or manage others’ decisions with compromise and logic, we’re leaving millions on the table. But while we can’t control others’ decisions, we can influence them by inhabiting their world and seeing and hearing exactly what they want.” ( :52)

“two primal urges: the need to feel safe and secure, and the need to feel in control. If you satisfy those drives, you’re in the door.” ( :53)

“Think back to the telemarketer at the beginning of this chapter. The obvious reply to his question —”Do you enjoy a nice glass of water?”—is “Yes.” But all you want to do is scream, “No!” After a question like that you just know the rest of the phone call is going to be painful.” ( :53)

“”Do you have a few minutes to talk?” Instead ask, “Is now a bad time to talk?”” ( :54)

“”Do you want the FBI to be embarrassed?” she said. “No,” he answered. “What do you want me to do?” she responded.” ( :54)

“”Look, you can keep the position,” he said. “Just go back out there and don’t let it interfere with your other duties.” And a minute later Marti walked out with her job intact.” ( :54)

“So let’s undress “No.” It’s a reaffirmation of autonomy. It is not a use or abuse of power; it is not an act of rejection; it is not a manifestation of stubbornness; it is not the end of the negotiation.” ( :55)

“Hello, can I speak with Mr. Smith? FUND-RAISER: Yes, this is he. MR. SMITH: I’m calling from the XYZ Committee, and I wanted to ask you a few important FUND-RAISER: questions about your views on our economy today. Do you believe that gas prices are currently too high? Yes, gas prices are much too high and hurting my family. MR. SMITH: Do you believe that the Democrats are part of the problem when it comes to high gas FUND-RAISER:” ( :55)

“prices? Yes, President Obama is a bad person MR. SMITH: Do you think we need change in November? FUND-RAISER: Yes, I do. MR. SMITH: Can you give me your credit card number so you can be a part of that change? FUND-RAISER:” ( :56)

“Hello, can I speak with Mr. Smith? FUND-RAISER: Yes, this is he. MR. SMITH: I’m calling from the XYZ Committee, and I wanted to ask you a few important FUND-RAISER: questions about your views on our economy today. Do you feel that if things stay the way they are, America’s best days are ahead of it? No, things will only get worse. MR. SMITH: Are you going to sit and watch President Obama take the White House in November FUND-RAISER: without putting up a fight? No, I’m going to do anything I can to make sure that doesn’t happen. MR. SMITH: If you want do something today to make sure that doesn’t happen, you can give to FUND-RAISER: XYZ Committee, which is working hard to fight for you.” ( :56)

“And it works! In a truly remarkable turnaround, the “No”-oriented script got a 23 percent better rate of return.” ( :56)

“to mislabel one of the other party’s emotions or desires. You say something that you know is totally wrong, like “So it seems that you really are eager to leave your” ( :56)

“job” when they clearly want to stay. That forces them to listen and makes them comfortable correcting you by saying, “No, that’s not it. This is it.”” ( :57)

“Then you send a polite follow-up and they stonewall you again. So what do you do? You provoke a “No” with this one-sentence email. Have you given up on this project?” ( :57)

“If you’re a parent, you already use this technique instinctively. What do you do when your kids won’t leave the house/park/mall? You say, “Fine. I’m leaving,” and you begin to walk away. I’m going to guess that well over half the time they yell, “No, wait!” and run to catch up. No one likes to be abandoned.” ( :57)

“Now, this may seem like a rude way to address someone in business, but you have to get over that. It’s not rude, and though it’s direct, it’s cloaked with the safety of “No.” Ignoring you is what’s rude. I can tell you that I’ve used this successfully not just in North America, but with people in two different cultures (Arabic and Chinese) famous for never saying “No.”” ( :57)

“Negotiate in their world. Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their own idea. So don’t beat them with logic or brute force. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals. It’s not about you.” ( :58)

“If a potential business partner is ignoring you, contact them with a clear and concise “No”-oriented question that suggests that you are ready to walk away. “Have you given up on this project?” works wonders.” ( :58)

 

CHAPTER 5 | TRIGGER THE TWO WORDS THAT IMMEDIATELY TRANSFORM ANY NEGOTIATION
How to Gain the Permission to Persuade

 

“(BCSM). The model proposes five stages—active listening, empathy, rapport, influence, and behavioral change—that take any negotiator from listening to influencing behavior.” ( :59)

“American psychologist Carl Rogers, who proposed that real change can only come when a therapist accepts the client as he or she is—an approach known as unconditional positive regard. The vast majority of us, however, as Rogers explained, come to expect that love, praise, and approval are dependent on saying and doing the things people (initially, our parents) consider correct.” ( :59)

“And do they? Study after study has shown that, no, nothing changes; two years after their operation, more than 90 percent of patients haven’t changed their lifestyle at all.” ( :59)

“As you’ll soon learn, the sweetest two words in any negotiation are actually “That’s right.”” ( :60)

“even with an adversary as dangerous as Sabaya, I could see a snarl coming over his face. I realized I needed to negotiate with Benjie. “You hate Sabaya, don’t you?” I said, leading with a label. Benjie unloaded on me. “I tell you I do!”” ( :62)

“acknowledgment of the emotions underlying that meaning (paraphrasing + labeling = summary).” ( :63)

“Sabaya was silent for nearly a minute. Finally he spoke. “That’s right,” he said. We ended the call. The “war damages” demand just disappeared.” ( :63)

“From that point forward Sabaya never mentioned money again. He never asked for another dime for the release of Jeffrey Schilling. He ultimately became so weary of this case and holding the young Californian that he let down his guard. Schilling escaped from their camp, and Philippine commandoes swooped in and rescued him. He returned safely to his family in California. Two weeks after Jeff Schilling escaped, Sabaya called Benjie: “Have you been promoted yet?” he asked. “If not, you should have been.” “Why?” Benjie asked. “I was going to hurt Jeffrey,” Sabaya said. “I don’t know what you did to keep me from doing that, but whatever it was, it worked.” In June 2002 Sabaya was killed in a shoot-out with Philippine military units.” ( :63)

“And when we applied hostage negotiating tactics to business, we saw how “that’s right” often leads to the best outcomes.” ( :64)

“”THAT’S RIGHT” IS GREAT, BUT IF “YOU’RE RIGHT,” NOTHING CHANGES Driving toward “that’s right” is a winning strategy in all negotiations. But hearing “you’re right” is a disaster.” ( :64)

“Consider this: Whenever someone is bothering you, and they just won’t let up, and they won’t listen to anything you have to say, what do you tell them to get them to shut up and go away? “You’re right.” It works every time. Tell people “you’re right” and they get a happy smile on their face and leave you alone for at least twenty-four hours. But you haven’t agreed to their position. You have used “you’re right” to get them to quit bothering you.” ( :64)

“”You seem to think it’s unmanly to dodge a block,” I told him. “You think it’s cowardly to get out of someone’s way that’s trying to hit you.” Brandon stared at me and paused. “That’s right,” he said.” ( :65)

“At her next visit, the doctor asked what medications she wanted to discuss. Rather than tout the benefits of her product, she talked about him and his practice. “Doctor,” she said, “the last time I was in we spoke about your patients with this condition. I remember thinking that you seemed very passionate about treating them, and how you worked hard to tailor the specific treatment to each and every patient.” He looked her in the eyes as if he were seeing her for the first time. “That’s right,” he said.” ( :65)

“”The best position?” he asked. “It sounds like there’s no regulation that I have to remain with the semiconductor division,” he said. “Hmm,” the ex-boss said. “I don’t think there is any.” “Then will you please tell me what made you decide that I remain in the semiconductor headquarters?” he asked. The ex-boss said he needed someone to help him network at headquarters between the semiconductor and consumer products divisions. “So it sounds like you could approve my new position no matter which division, as long as I was in headquarters and could help you communicate better with the top managers.” “That’s right,” he said. “I must admit I need your help in headquarters.”” ( :66)

“”Sleeping in the same bed and dreaming different dreams” is an old Chinese expression that describes the intimacy of partnership (whether in marriage or in business) without the communication necessary to sustain it.” ( :67)

“The moment you’ve convinced someone that you truly understand her dreams and feelings (the whole world that she inhabits), mental and behavioral change becomes possible, and the foundation for a breakthrough has been laid.” ( :68)

 

CHAPTER 6 | BEND THEIR REALITY
How to Shape What Is Fair

 

“Wrong. There’s always leverage. Negotiation is never a linear formula: add X to Y to get Z. We all have irrational blind spots, hidden needs, and undeveloped notions.” ( :69)

“No. Just, simply, no. The win-win mindset pushed by so many negotiation experts is usually ineffective and often disastrous. At best, it satisfies neither side. And if you employ it with a counterpart who has a win-lose approach, you’re setting yourself up to be swindled.” ( :70)

“To make my point on compromise, let me paint you an example: A woman wants her husband to wear black shoes with his suit. But her husband doesn’t want to; he prefers brown shoes. So what do they do? They compromise, they meet halfway. And, you guessed it, he wears one black and one brown shoe. Is this the best outcome? No! In fact, that’s the worst possible outcome. Either of the two other outcomes—black or brown—would be better than the compromise.” ( :70)

“When you allow the variable of time to trigger such thinking, you have taken yourself hostage, creating an environment of reactive behaviors and poor choices, where your counterpart can now kick back and let an imaginary deadline, and your reaction to it, do all the work for him.” ( :71)

“Among hundreds of such clients, there’s one single, solitary gentleman who gave the question serious consideration and responded affirmatively.” ( :71)

“What? Who? When? And how?—were addressed. When people issue threats, they consciously or subconsciously create ambiguities and loopholes they fully intend to exploit. As the loopholes started to close as the week progressed, and did so over and over again in similar ways with different kidnappings, the pattern emerged.” ( :72)

“Whether they “win” and keep the money or “lose” and have to give it back is irrelevant (except to my wallet). What’s important is the offer they make. The truly shocking thing is that, almost without exception, whatever selection anyone makes, they find themselves in a minority. No matter whether they chose $6/$4, $5/$5, $7/$3, $8/$2, etc., they look around and are inevitably surprised to find no split was chosen far more than any other. In something as simple as merely splitting $10 of “found” money, there is no consensus of what constitutes a “fair” or “rational” split. After we run this little experiment, I stand up in front of the class and make a point they don’t like to hear: the reasoning each and every student used was 100 percent irrational and emotional. “What?” they say. “I made a rational decision.”” ( :73)

“And then I push it even further: Why, I ask, did none of the proposers offer $1, which is the best rational offer for them and logically unrejectable for the accepter? And if they did and they got rejected—which happens—why did the accepter turn them down? “Anyone who made any offer other than $1 made an emotional choice” I say. “And for you accepters who turned down $1, since when is getting $0 better than getting $1? Did the rules of finance suddenly change?”” ( :73)

“In other words, while we may use logic to reason ourselves toward a decision, the actual decision making is governed by emotion.” ( :74)

“In the Ultimatum Game, years of experience has shown me that most accepters will invariably reject any offer that is less than half of the proposer’s money. Once you get to a quarter of the proposer’s money you can forget it and the accepters are insulted. Most people make an irrational choice to let the dollar slip through their fingers rather than to accept a derisory offer, because the negative emotional value of unfairness outweighs the positive rational value of the money.” ( :74)

“In a TV interview, former Iranian nuclear negotiator Seyed Hossein Mousavian hit the nail on the head. “The nuclear issue today for Iranians is not nuclear,” he said, “it’s defending their integrity [as an] independent identity against the pressure of the rest.” You may not trust Iran, but its moves are pretty clear evidence that rejecting perceived unfairness, even at substantial cost, is a powerful motivation.” ( :75)

“Think back to the last time someone made this implicit accusation of unfairness to you, and I bet you’ll have to admit that it immediately triggered feelings of defensiveness and discomfort. These feelings are often subconscious and often lead to an irrational concession. A friend of mine was selling her Boston home in a bust market a few years back. The offer she got was much lower than she wanted—it meant a big loss for her—and out of frustration she dropped this F-bomb on the prospective buyer.” ( :75)

“Then say, “Okay, I apologize. Let’s stop everything and go back to where I started treating you unfairly and we’ll fix it.”” ( :75)

“”We’ve given the players a fair offer.” Notice the horrible genius of this: instead of opening their books or declining to do so, the owners shifted the focus to the NFLPA’s supposed lack of understanding of fairness. If you find yourself in this situation, the best reaction is to simply mirror the “F” that has just been lobbed at you. “Fair?” you’d respond, pausing to let the word’s power do to them as it was intended to do to you. Follow that with a label: “It seems like you’re ready to provide the evidence that supports that,” which alludes to opening their books or otherwise handing over information that will either contradict their claim to fairness or give you more data to work with than you had previously. Right away, you declaw the attack.” ( :75)

“Early on in a negotiation, I say, “I want you to feel like you are being treated fairly at all times. So please stop me at any time if you feel I’m being unfair, and we’ll address it.”” ( :75)

“Look at this from the most basic level. What does a good babysitter sell, really? It’s not child care exactly, but a relaxed evening. A furnace salesperson? Cozy rooms for family time. A locksmith? A feeling of security. Know the emotional drivers and you can frame the benefits of any deal in language that will resonate.” ( :76)

“Or imagine that I offer you $20 to run a three-minute errand and get me a cup of coffee. You’re going to think to yourself that $20 for three minutes is $400 an hour. You’re going to be thrilled. What if then you find out that by getting you to run that errand I made a million dollars. You’d go from being ecstatic for making $400 an hour to being angry because you got ripped off.” ( :76)

“That’s why people who statistically have no need for insurance buy it. Or consider this: a person who’s told he has a 95 percent chance of receiving $10,000 or a 100 percent chance of getting $9,499 will usually avoid risk and take the 100 percent certain safe choice, while the same person who’s told he has a 95 percent chance of losing $10,000 or a 100 percent chance of losing $9,499 will make the opposite choice, risking the bigger 95 percent option to avoid the loss. The chance for loss incites more risk than the possibility of an equal gain.” ( :77)

“To get real leverage, you have to persuade them that they have something concrete to lose if the deal falls through.” ( :77)

“”I got a lousy proposition for you,” I said, and paused until each asked me to go on. “By the time we get off the phone, you’re going to think I’m a lousy businessman. You’re going to think I can’t budget or plan. You’re going to think Chris Voss is a big talker. His first big project ever out of the FBI, he screws it up completely. He doesn’t know how to run an operation. And he might even have lied to me.”” ( :77)

“”I got a lousy proposition for you,” I said, and paused until each asked me to go on. “By the time we get off the phone, you’re going to think I’m a lousy businessman. You’re going to think I can’t budget or plan. You’re going to think Chris Voss is a big talker. His first big project ever out of the FBI, he screws it up completely. He doesn’t know how to run an operation. And he might even have lied to me.” And then, once I’d anchored their emotions in a minefield of low expectations, I played on their loss aversion. “Still, I wanted to bring this opportunity to you before I took it to someone else,” I said. Suddenly, their call wasn’t about being cut from $2,000 to $500 but how not to lose $500 to some other guy. Every single one of them took the deal. No counteroffers, no complaints. Now, if I hadn’t anchored their emotions low, their perception of $500 would have been totally different. If I’d just called and said, “I can give you $500 per day. What do you think?” they’d have taken it as an insult and slammed down the phone.” ( :77)

“Wilder and the producer could barely stop from laughing, because they had been planning to pay Chandler $750 per week and they knew that movie scripts took months to write. Lucky for Chandler, Wilder and the producer valued their relationship with Chandler more than a few hundred dollars, so they took pity on him and called an agent to represent Chandler in the negotiations. Similarly, I had a student named Jerry who royally screwed up his salary negotiation by going first (let me say that this happened before he was my student). In an interview at a New York financial firm, he demanded $110,000, in large part because it represented a 30 percent raise. It was only after he started that he realized that the firm had started everybody else in his program at $125,000. That’s why I suggest you let the other side anchor monetary negotiations.” ( :78)

“”I’m worth $110,000,” Jerry might have said, “At top places like X Corp., people in this job get between $130,000 and $170,000.”” ( :79)

“4 In a recent study, Columbia Business School psychologists found that job applicants who named a range received significantly higher overall salaries than those who offered a number, especially if their range was a “bolstering range,” in which the low number in the range was what they actually wanted. Understand, if you offer a range (and it’s a good idea to do so) expect them to come in at the low end.” ( :79)

“Not long ago I did some training for the Memphis Bar Association. Normally, for the training they were looking for, I’d charge $25,000 a day. They came in with a much lower offer that I balked at. They then offered to do a cover story about me in their association magazine. For me to be on the cover of a magazine that went out to who knows how many of the country’s top lawyers was priceless advertising. (Plus my mom is really proud of it!)” ( :79)

“When he spoke again, the kidnapper seemed shell-shocked. But he went on. His next offer was lower, $10,000. Then we had the nephew answer with a strange number that seemed to come from deep calculation of what his aunt’s life was worth: $4,751.” ( :80)

“His new price? $7,500. In response, we had the cousin “spontaneously” say he’d throw in a new portable CD stereo and repeated the $4,751. The kidnappers, who didn’t really want the CD stereo felt there was no more money to be had, said yes. Six hours later, the family paid that sum and the aunt came back home safely.” ( :81)

“And the more you talk about nonsalary terms, the more likely you are to hear the full range of their options. If they can’t meet your nonsalary requests, they may even counter with more money, like they did with a French-born American former student of mine. She kept asking—with a big smile—for an extra week of vacation beyond what the company normally gave. She was “French,” she said, and that’s what French people did. The hiring company was completely handcuffed on the vacation issue, but because she was so darned delightful, and because she introduced a nonmonetary variable into the notion of her value, they countered by increasing her salary offer.” ( :81)

“Ask: “What does it take to be successful here?”” ( :81)

“To show how this can be done to near perfection, I can think of no better example than my former MBA student Angel Prado. While Angel was finishing up his MBA, he went to his boss and began to lay the groundwork for his work post-MBA (which the company was paying). During his last semester, he set a nonspecific anchor—a kind of range—by suggesting to his boss that once he graduated and the company was done investing in his MBA (around $31,000 per year), that money should go to him as salary. His boss made no commitment, but Angel was pleasantly persistent about it, which set the idea as an anchor in his boss’s mind. Upon graduation, Angel and his boss had their big sit-down. In an assertive and calm manner, Angel broached a nonfinancial issue to move the focus away from “How much?”: he asked for a new title. Angel’s boss readily agreed that a new role was a no-brainer after Angel’s new degree. At that point, Angel and his manager defined what his roles and responsibilities would be in his new role, thereby setting success metrics. Then Angel took a breath and paused so that his boss would be the first to throw out a number. At last, he did. Curiously enough, the number showed that Angel’s earlier efforts at anchoring had worked: he proposed to add $31,000 to Angel’s base salary, almost a 50 percent raise.” ( :82)

“But Angel was no rookie negotiator, not after taking my class. So instead of countering and getting stuck in “How much?” he kept talking, labeling the boss’s emotions and empathizing with his situation (at the time the company was going through difficult negotiations with its investors). And then Angel courteously asked for a moment to step away and print up the agreed-upon job description. This pause created a dynamic of pre-deadline urgency in his boss, which Angel exploited when he returned with the printout. On the bottom, he’d added his desired compensation: “$134.5k— $143k.” In that one little move, Angel weaved together a bunch of the lessons from this chapter. The odd numbers gave them the weight of thoughtful calculation. The numbers were high too, which exploited his boss’s natural tendency to go directly to his price limit when faced by an extreme anchor. And they were a range, which made Angel seem less aggressive and the lower end more reasonable in comparison. From his boss’s body language—raised eyebrows—it was clear that he was surprised by the compensation request. But it had the desired effect: after some comments about the description, he countered with $120,000.” ( :82)

“From his boss’s body language—raised eyebrows—it was clear that he was surprised by the compensation request. But it had the desired effect: after some comments about the description, he countered with $120,000. Angel didn’t say “No” or “Yes,” but kept talking and creating empathy. Then, in the middle of a sentence, seemingly out of the blue, his boss threw out $127,000. With his boss obviously negotiating with himself, Angel kept him going. Finally his boss said he agreed with the $134,500 and would pay that salary starting in three months, contingent on the board of directors’ approval. As the icing on the cake, Angel worked in a positive use of the word “Fair” (“That’s fair,” he said), and then sold the raise to his boss as a marriage in which his boss would be the mentor. “I’m asking you, not the board, for the promotion, and all I need is for you to agree with it,” he said. And how did Angel’s boss reply to his new ambassador? “I’ll fight to get you this salary.”” ( :82)

“So follow Angel’s lead and make it rain!” ( :83)

 

CHAPTER 7 | CREATE THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
How to Calibrate Questions to Transform Conflict into Collaboration

 

“We learned that negotiation was coaxing, not overcoming; co-opting, not defeating. Most important, we learned that successful negotiation involved getting your counterpart to do the work for you and suggest your solution himself. It involved giving him the illusion of control while you, in fact, were the one defining the conversation.” ( :84)

“I’ll explain it in depth later on, but for now let me say that it’s really as simple as removing the hostility from the statement “You can’t leave” and turning it into a question. “What do you hope to achieve by going?”” ( :85)

“It turned out to be someone working for a crooked Philippine politician who’d been running a parallel negotiation for the Burnhams’ release. He wanted to buy the hostages out himself in order to show up Philippine president Arroyo. But it wasn’t so much that this guy was going behind our backs that bothered me. As is pretty clear already, there were a whole lot of underhanded things going on. What really ate at me was that this schmuck, who wasn’t an FBI-trained hostage negotiator, had pulled off something that I hadn’t been able to. He’d gotten to speak to Martin Burnham on the phone. For free.” ( :87)

“So in the middle of the conversation with the kidnapper, he just blurts, “Hey, dog, how do I know she’s all right?”” ( :88)

“It’s a natural and normal question, not a request for a fact. It’s a “how” question, and “how” engages because “how” asks for help.” ( :89)

“This is perfect! It’s a natural and normal question, not a request for a fact. It’s a “how” question, and “how” engages because “how” asks for help. Best of all, he doesn’t owe the kidnapper a damn thing. The guy volunteers to put the girlfriend on the phone: he thinks it’s his idea. The guy who just offered to put the girlfriend on the line thinks he’s in control. And the secret to gaining the upper hand in a negotiation is giving the other side the illusion of control.” ( :89)

“You don’t directly persuade them to see your ideas. Instead, you ride them to your ideas. As the saying goes, the best way to ride a horse is in the direction in which it is going.” ( :89)

“ust then a senior physician arrived. After calmly offering the patient a glass of water and asking if they could chat for a minute, he said he understood why the patient was pissed off and promised to call the lab to see why the results were delayed. But what he did next is what really suspended the patient’s unbelief: he asked a calibrated question—what he felt was so important about leaving—and then when the patient said he had errands to handle, the doctor offered to connect the patient with services that could help him get them done. And, boom, the patient volunteered to stay.” ( :89)

“”He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.”” ( :90)

“When you go into a store, instead of telling the salesclerk what you “need,” you can describe what you’re looking for and ask for suggestions.” ( :90)

“My advice for her was simple: I told her to engage them in a conversation where she summarized the situation and then asked, “How am I supposed to do that?” She shook her head. No way. The idea of having to ask this question just terrified her. “If they tell me I have to, then I’m trapped!” was her reaction.” ( :90)

“She didn’t quite believe me. We walked through the script several times, but she was still afraid. Then a few days later she called me, totally giddy with happiness. The client had called with another request and she had finally gotten up the courage to summarize the situation, and ask, “How am I supposed to do that?” And you know what? The answer she got was “You’re right, you can’t and I apologize.” Her client explained that they were going through some internal problems, but she was given a new accounting contact and told she’d be paid within forty-eight hours. And she was. Now, think about how my client’s question worked: without accusing them of anything, it pushed the big company to understand her problem and offer the solution she wanted. That in a nutshell is the whole point of open-ended questions that are calibrated for a specific effect.” ( :90)

“interpretation by your counterpart instead of being rigidly defined. They allow you to introduce ideas and requests without sounding overbearing or pushy. And that’s the difference between “You’re screwing me out of money, and it has to stop” and “How am I supposed to do that?”” ( :91)

“First off, calibrated questions avoid verbs or words like “can,” “is,” “are,” “do,” or “does.” These are closed-ended questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or a “no.” Instead, they start with a list of words people know as reporter’s questions: “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how.” Those words inspire your counterpart to think and then speak expansively. But let me cut the list even further: it’s best to start with “what,” “how,” and sometimes” ( :91)

“But let me cut the list even further: it’s best to start with “what,” “how,” and sometimes “why.” Nothing else. “Who,” “when,” and “where” will often just get your counterpart to share a fact without thinking.” ( :91)

“First off, calibrated questions avoid verbs or words like “can,” “is,” “are,” “do,” or “does.” These are closed-ended questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or a “no.” Instead, they start with a list of words people know as reporter’s questions: “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how.” Those words inspire your counterpart to think and then speak expansively. But let me cut the list even further: it’s best to start with “what,” “how,” and sometimes “why.” Nothing else. “Who,” “when,” and “where” will often just get your counterpart to share a fact without thinking. And “why” can backfire. Regardless of what language the word “why” is translated into, it’s accusatory. There are very rare moments when this is to your advantage.” ( :91)

“Having just two words to start with might not seem like a lot of ammunition, but trust me, you can use “what” and “how” to calibrate nearly any question. “Does this look like something you would like?” can become “How does this look to you?” or “What about this works for you?” You can even ask, “What about this doesn’t work for you?” and you’ll probably trigger quite a bit of useful information from your counterpart.” ( :91)

“harsh as “Why did you do it?” can be calibrated to “What caused you to do it?” which takes away the emotion and makes the question less accusatory.” ( :91)

“Here are some other great standbys that I use in almost every negotiation, depending on the situation: ■ What about this is important to you?” ( :91)

“■ How can I help to make this better for us? ■ How would you like me to proceed? ■ What is it that brought us into this situation? ■ How can we solve this problem? ■ What’s the objective? / What are we trying to accomplish here? ■ How am I supposed to do that?” ( :92)

“You’ve not only implicitly asked for help—triggering goodwill and less defensiveness—but you’ve engineered a situation in which your formerly recalcitrant counterpart is now using his mental and emotional resources to overcome your challenges. It is the first step in your counterpart internalizing your way—and the obstacles in it—as his own. And that guides the other party toward designing a solution. Your solution.” ( :92)

“As his story showed, the key to getting people to see things your way is not to confront them on their ideas (“You can’t leave”) but to acknowledge their ideas openly (“I understand why you’re pissed off”) and then guide them toward solving the problem (“What do you hope to accomplish by leaving?”).” ( :92)

“”When you originally approved this trip, what did you have in mind?” He visibly relaxed as he sat back in his chair and brought the top of his fingers and thumbs together in the shape of a steeple. Generally this is a body language that means the person feels superior and in charge. “Listen,” he said, “just make sure you brief everyone when you get back.”” ( :92)

“That is, all of this is great, but there’s a rub: without self-control and emotional regulation, it doesn’t work.” ( :93)

“1. A “No”-oriented email question to reinitiate contact: “Have you given up on settling this amicably?” 2. A statement that leaves only the answer of “That’s right” to form a dynamic of agreement: “It seems that you feel my bill is not justified.” 3. Calibrated questions about the problem to get him to reveal his thinking: “How does this bill violate our agreement?” 4. More “No”-oriented questions to remove unspoken barriers: “Are you saying I misled you?” “Are you saying I didn’t do as you asked?” “Are you saying I reneged on our agreement?” or “Are you saying I failed you?” 5. Labeling and mirroring the essence of his answers if they are not acceptable so he has to consider them again: “It seems like you feel my work was subpar.” Or “. . . my work was subpar?” 6. A calibrated question in reply to any offer other than full payment, in order to get him to offer a solution: “How am I supposed to accept that?” 7. If none of this gets an offer of full payment, a label that flatters his sense of control and” ( :93)

“The underlying dynamic was that this guy didn’t like being questioned by anyone, especially a woman. So she and I developed a strategy that showed him she understood where she went wrong and acknowledged his power, while at the same time directing his energy toward solving her problem. The script we came up with hit all the best practices of negotiation we’ve talked about so far. Here it is by steps:” ( :93)

“7. If none of this gets an offer of full payment, a label that flatters his sense of control and” ( :93)

“power: “It seems like you are the type of person who prides himself on the way he does” ( :94)

“power: “It seems like you are the type of person who prides himself on the way he does business—rightfully so—and has a knack for not only expanding the pie but making the ship run more efficiently.” 8. A long pause and then one more “No”-oriented question: “Do you want to be known as someone who doesn’t fulfill agreements?”” ( :94)

“From my long experience in negotiation, scripts like this have a 90 percent success rate. That is, if the negotiator stays calm and rational. And that’s a big if. In this case, she didn’t.” ( :94)

“The first and most basic rule of keeping your emotional cool is to bite your tongue. Not literally, of course. But you have to keep away from knee-jerk, passionate reactions. Pause. Think. Let the passion dissipate. That allows you to collect your thoughts and be more circumspect in what you say. It also lowers your chance of saying more than you want to.” ( :94)

“The next time a waiter or salesclerk tries to engage you in a verbal skirmish, try this out. I promise you it will change the entire tenor of the conversation. The basic issue here is that when people feel that they are not in control, they adopt what psychologists call a hostage mentality. That is, in moments of conflict they react to their lack of power by either becoming extremely defensive or lashing out. Neurologically, in situations like this the fight-or-flight mechanism in the reptilian brain or the emotions in the limbic system overwhelm” ( :94)

“And it means lowering the hostage mentality in your counterpart by asking a question or even offering an apology. (“You’re right. That was a bit harsh.”)” ( :94)

“Who has control in a conversation, the guy listening or the guy talking? The listener, of course. That’s because the talker is revealing information while the listener, if he’s trained well, is directing the conversation toward his own goals. He’s harnessing the talker’s energy for his own ends.” ( :95)

“Rather, they’re about using the counterpart’s power to get to your objective. They’re listener’s judo. As you put listener’s judo into practice, remember the following powerful lessons:” ( :95)

“Ask calibrated questions that start with the words “How” or “What.” By implicitly asking the other party for help, these questions will give your counterpart an illusion of control and will inspire them to speak at length, revealing important information.” ( :95)

 

CHAPTER 8 | GUARANTEE EXECUTION
How to Spot the Liars and Ensure Follow-Through from Everyone Else

 

“”Yes” is nothing without “How.”” ( :97)

“”Yes” is nothing without “How.” While an agreement is nice, a contract is better, and a signed check is best. You don’t get your profits with the agreement. They come upon implementation. Success isn’t the hostage-taker saying, “Yes, we have a deal”; success comes afterward, when the freed hostage says to your face, “Thank you.”” ( :97)

“”All we’re going to say is, ‘Hey, how do we know José is okay? How are we supposed to pay until we know José is okay?’ Again and again,” I told them.” ( :97)

“”How do I know José is alive?” she asked the first time they talked. To their demand for $5 million, she said, “We don’t have that kind of money. How can we raise that much?” “How can we pay you anything until we know José is okay?” Julie asked the next time they talked. Questions, always questions.” ( :98)

“By constantly asking questions and making minuscule offers, Julie drove the ransom down to $16,500. When they came to that number, the kidnappers demanded she get it to them immediately. “How can I do that when I have to sell my cars and trucks?” she asked. Always buying more time. We were starting to grin because success was within reach; we were really close to a ransom that the family could afford.” ( :98)

“Calibrated “How” questions are a surefire way to keep negotiations going. They put the pressure on” ( :98)

“your counterpart to come up with answers, and to contemplate your problems when making their demands.” ( :99)

“The trick to “How” questions is that, correctly used, they are gentle and graceful ways to say “No” and guide your counterpart to develop a better solution—your solution. A gentle How/No invites collaboration and leaves your counterpart with a feeling of having been treated with respect.” ( :99)

“As Julie did, the first and most common “No” question you’ll use is some version of “How am I supposed to do that?” (for example, “How can we raise that much?”). Your tone of voice is critical as this phrase can be delivered as either an accusation or a request for assistance. So pay attention to your voice.” ( :99)

“This positive dynamic is what I refer to as “forced empathy,” and it’s especially effective if leading up to it you’ve already been empathic with your counterpart. This engages the dynamic of reciprocity to lead them to do something for you.” ( :99)

“Luckily for Kelly, the client soon called to ask her for more work. Once he finished his request, she calmly asked a “How” question: “I’d love to help,” she said, “but how am I supposed to do that?” By indicating her willingness to work but asking for help finding a way to do so, she left her deadbeat customer with no choice but to put her needs ahead of everything else. And she got paid.” ( :99)

“That’s why negotiation is often called “the art of letting someone else have your way.”” ( :100)

“two key questions you can ask to push your counterparts to think they are defining success their way: “How will we know we’re on track?” and “How will we address things if we find we’re off track?” When they answer, you summarize their answers until you get a “That’s right.” Then you’ll know they’ve bought in.” ( :100)

“”You’re right,” it’s often a good indicator they are not vested in what is being discussed. And when you push for implementation and they say, “I’ll try,” you should get a sinking feeling in your stomach. Because this really means, “I plan to fail.”” ( :100)

“”That’s right.” Let the other side feel victory. Let them think it was their idea. Subsume your ego. Remember: “Yes” is nothing without “How.” So keep asking “How?” And succeed.” ( :100)

“That can be easy as asking a few calibrated questions, like “How does this affect the rest of your team?” or “How on board are the people not on this call?” or simply “What do your colleagues see as their main challenges in this area?”” ( :101)

“We could have avoided all that had we asked a few calibrated questions, like: How does this affect everybody else? How on board is the rest of your team? How do we make sure that we deliver the right material to the right people? How do we ensure the managers of those we’re training are fully on board?” ( :101)

“Truly effective negotiators are conscious of the verbal, paraverbal (how it’s said), and nonverbal communications that pervade negotiations and group dynamics.” ( :102)

“From Quantico, I loaded Aaron up with calibrated questions. I instructed him to keep peppering the violent jerk with “How?” How am I supposed to . . . ? How do we know . . . ? How can we . . . ? There is great power in treating jerks with deference. It gives you the ability to be extremely assertive —to say “No”—in a hidden fashion. “How do we know if we pay you that you won’t hurt Alastair?” Aaron asked.” ( :102)

“Aaron came up with the perfect way to nonconfrontationally confront the cabbie with a calibrated “When/What” question. “When we run out of money, what will happen?” Aaron asked. The kidnapper paused. “It will be all right,” he finally responded. Yes!” ( :103)

“Albert Mehrabian created the 7-38-55 rule. That is, only 7 percent of a message is based on the words while 38 percent comes from the tone of voice and 55 percent from the speaker’s body language and face.” ( :103)

“Here’s an example: You: “So we’re agreed?” Them: “Yes . . .” You: “I heard you say, ‘Yes,’ but it seemed like there was hesitation in your voice.” Them: “Oh, it’s nothing really.” You: “No, this is important, let’s make sure we get this right.” Them: “Thanks, I appreciate it.”” ( :104)

“The Rule of Three is simply getting the other guy to agree to the same thing three times in the same conversation. It’s tripling the strength of whatever dynamic you’re trying to drill into at the moment. In doing so, it uncovers problems before they happen. It’s really hard to repeatedly lie or fake conviction” ( :104)

“The first time they agree to something or give you a commitment, that’s No. 1. For No. 2 you might label or summarize what they said so they answer, “That’s right.” And No. 3 could be a calibrated “How” or “What” question about implementation that asks them to explain what will constitute success, something like “What do we do if we get off track?”” ( :104)

“The use of pronouns by a counterpart can also help give you a feel for their actual importance in the decision and implementation chains on the other side of the table. The more in love they are with “I,” “me,” and “my” the less important they are.” ( :105)

“but I saw one empty chair. I moved toward it but just as I got ready to sit the guy next to it said, “Don’t even think about it.”” ( :105)

“”Why?” I asked, and he said, “Because I’ll kick your ass.”” ( :106)

“I held out my hand to shake his and said, “My name is Chris.” The dude froze, and in the pause my fellow FBI guys moved in, patted him on the shoulders, and offered to buy him a drink.” ( :106)

“Now take that mindset to a financial negotiation. I was in an outlet mall a few months after the Kansas experience and I picked out some shirts in one of the stores. At the front counter the young lady asked me if I wanted to join their frequent buyer program. I asked her if I got a discount for joining and she said, “No.” So I decided to try another angle. I said in a friendly manner, “My name is Chris. What’s the Chris discount?” She looked from the register, met my eyes, and gave a little laugh. “I’ll have to ask my manager, Kathy,” she said and turned to the woman who’d been standing next to her. Kathy, who’d heard the whole exchange, said, “The best I can do is ten percent.” Humanize yourself. Use your name to introduce yourself. Say it in a fun, friendly way. Let them enjoy the interaction, too. And get your own special price.” ( :106)

“After that, some version of “Your offer is very generous, I’m sorry, that just doesn’t work for me” is an elegant second way to say “No.”” ( :106)

“Then you can use something like “I’m sorry but I’m afraid I just can’t do that.” It’s a little more direct, and the “can’t do that” does great double duty. By expressing an inability to perform, it can trigger the other side’s empathy toward you.” ( :106)

“”I’m sorry, no” is a slightly more succinct version for the fourth “No.” If delivered gently, it barely sounds negative at all. If you have to go further, of course, “No” is the last and most direct way. Verbally, it should be” ( :106)

“delivered with a downward inflection and a tone of regard; it’s not meant to be “NO!”” ( :107)

“the €20,000 had reviewed their loan and had given them two options: repay the loan in full, or pay a much higher interest rate. Bingo! Joaquin and Jesus huddled after learning that, and decided that Joaquin could reasonably pay just above the loan price because Bruno had already taken €14,000 in salary from the business. The letter from the bank put Bruno in a bad spot, and Joaquin figured he could bid low because there wasn’t really a market for Bruno to sell his shares. They decided that €23,000 would be the magic number, with €11,000 up front with the remaining €12,000 over a year period. Then things went sideways.” ( :107)

“”very fair.” If there’s one way to put off your counterpart, it’s by implying that disagreeing with you is unfair.” ( :108)

“The price you offered is very fair, and I certainly wish that I could afford it. Bruno has worked very hard for this business, and he deserves to be compensated appropriately. I am very sorry, but wish you the best of luck.” ( :108)

“Thank you for your offer. You were generous to reduce the price, which I greatly appreciate. I really wish that I could pay you this amount, but I am sincere in that I cannot afford this amount at this time. As you know, I am in the middle of a divorce and I just cannot come up with that type of money. Again, I wish you the best of luck.” ( :108)

“Thank you again for the generous offer. You have really come down on the price and I have tried very hard to come up with that amount. Unfortunately, no one is willing to lend me the money, not even my mother. I have tried various avenues but cannot come up with the funding. In the end, I can offer you €23,567, although I can only pay €15,321.37 up front. I could pay you the remainder over a one-year period, but that is really the most I can do. I wish you the best in your decision.” ( :108)

 

CHAPTER 9 | BARGAIN HARD
How to Get Your Price

 

“I gave him an understanding nod and pursed my lips. The key to beginning a haggle is to rattle the other guy ever so gently. You do it in the nicest way possible. If I could thread that needle, I had a good chance at getting my price.” ( :111)

“He offered me the usual smile—he had me, he thought—and mentioned the sticker price on “that beautiful vehicle”: $36,000. I gave him an understanding nod and pursed my lips. The key to beginning a haggle is to rattle the other guy ever so gently. You do it in the nicest way possible. If I could thread that needle, I had a good chance at getting my price. “I can pay $30,000,” I said. “And I can pay it up front, all cash. I’ll write a check today for the full amount. I’m sorry, I’m afraid I just can’t pay any more.”” ( :111)

“Any response that’s not an outright rejection of your offer means you have the edge.” ( :111)

“His smile flickered a little bit at the edges, as if it were losing focus. But he tightened it down and shook his head. “I’m sure you can understand we can’t do that. The sticker price is $36,000, after all.” “How am I supposed to do that?” I asked deferentially. “I’m sure,” he said, then paused as if he wasn’t sure what he’d meant to say. “I’m sure we can figure something out with financing the $36,000.” “It’s a beautiful truck. Really amazing. I can’t tell you how much I’d love to have it. It’s worth more than what I’m offering. I’m sorry, this is really embarrassing. I just can’t do that price.” He stared at me in silence, a little befuddled now. Then he stood and went into the back for what seemed like an eternity. He was gone so long that I remember saying to myself, “Damn! I should have come in lower! They’re going to come all the way down.” Any response that’s not an outright rejection of your offer means you have the edge. He returned and told me like it was Christmas that his boss had okayed a new price: $34,000.” ( :111)

“”Wow, your offer is very generous and this is the car of my dreams,” I said. “I really wish I could do that. I really do. This is so embarrassing. I simply can’t.”” ( :111)

“”Wow, your offer is very generous and this is the car of my dreams,” I said. “I really wish I could do that. I really do. This is so embarrassing. I simply can’t.” He dropped into silence and I didn’t take the bait. I let the silence linger. And then with a sigh he” ( :111)

“trudged off again. He returned after another eternity. “You win,” he said. “My manager okayed $32,500.” He pushed a paper across the desk that even said “YOU WIN” in big letters. The words were even surrounded with smiley faces. “I am so grateful. You’ve been very generous, and I can’t thank you enough. The truck is no doubt worth more than my price,” I said. “I’m sorry, I just can’t do that.” Up he stood again. No smile now. Still befuddled. After a few seconds, he walked back to his manager and I leaned back. I could taste victory. A minute later—no eternity this time—he returned and sat. “We can do that,” he said. Two days later, I drove off in my Salsa Red Pearl Toyota 4Runner—for $30,000. God I love that truck. Still drive it today.” ( :112)

“”brass tacks.” You know the moment: you’ve mirrored and labeled your way to a degree of rapport; an accusation audit has cleared any lingering mental or emotional obstacles, and you’ve identified and summarized the interests and positions at stake, eliciting a “That’s right,” and . . . Now it’s time to bargain.” ( :112)

“supposed to be giving him a pep talk and performance review. “When I think of what we do, I describe it as ‘uncovering the riptide,'” I said. “Uncovering the riptide,” Keenon said. “Yes, the idea is that we—you and I and everyone here—have the skills to identify the psychological forces that are pulling us away from shore and use them to get somewhere more productive.” “Somewhere more productive,” Keenon said. “Exactly,” I said. “To a place where we can . . .” We had talked for about forty-five minutes when my son Brandon, who runs operations for The Black Swan Group, broke out laughing. “I can’t take it anymore! Don’t you see? Really, Dad, don’t you see?” I blinked. Did I see what? I asked him. “All Keenon is doing is mirroring you. And he’s been doing it for almost an hour.” “Oh,” I said, my face going red as Keenon began to laugh. He was totally right. Keenon had been playing with me the entire time, using the psychological tool that works most effectively with assertive guys like me: the mirror.” ( :113)

“Some people are Accommodators; others—like me—are basically Assertive; and the rest are data-loving Analysts.” ( :113)

“Their self-image is linked to minimizing mistakes. Their motto: As much time as it takes to get it right.” ( :114)

“Accommodators think as long as there is a free-flowing continuous exchange of information time is being well spent. As long as they’re communicating, they’re happy. Their goal is to be on great terms” ( :114)

“with their counterpart. They love the win-win.” ( :115)

“While it is very easy to disagree with an Accommodator, because they want nothing more that to hear what you have to say, uncovering their objections can be difficult. They will have identified potential problem areas beforehand and will leave those areas unaddressed out of fear of the conflict they may cause. If you have identified yourself as an Accommodator, stick to your ability to be very likable, but do not sacrifice your objections. Not only do the other two types need to hear your point of view; if you are dealing with another Accommodator they will welcome it.” ( :115)

“When you’re dealing with Assertive types, it’s best to focus on what they have to say, because once they are convinced you understand them, then and only then will they listen for your point of view.” ( :115)

“So are calibrated questions, labels, and summaries. The most important thing to get from an Assertive will be a “that’s right” that may come in the form of a “that’s it exactly” or “you hit it on the head.”” ( :115)

“We’ve seen how each of these groups views the importance of time differently (time = preparation; time = relationship; time = money).” ( :116)

“But it turned out that he went silent; for an Accommodator type, silence is anger. For Analysts, though, silence means they want to think. And Assertive types interpret your silence as either you don’t have anything to say or you want them to talk. I’m one, so I know: the only time I’m silent is when I’ve run out of things to say.” ( :116)

“But it turned out that he went silent; for an Accommodator type, silence is anger. For Analysts, though, silence means they want to think. And Assertive types interpret your silence as either you don’t have anything to say or you want them to talk. I’m one, so I know: the only time I’m silent is when I’ve run out of things to say. The funny thing is when these cross over. When an Analyst pauses to think, their Accommodator counterpart gets nervous and an Assertive one starts talking, thereby annoying the Analyst, who thinks to herself, Every time I try to think you take that as an opportunity to talk some more. Won’t you ever shut up?” ( :116)

“The Black Swan rule is don’t treat others the way you want to be treated; treat them the way they need to be treated. (I’ve got a complementary PDF available that will help you identify your type and that of those” ( :116)

“around you. Please visit http://info .blackswanltd.com/3-types.)” ( :117)

“You can do this directly by saying, in an encouraging tone of voice, “Let’s put price off to the side for a moment and talk about what would make this a good deal.” Or you could go at it more obliquely by asking, “What else would you be able to offer to make that a good price for me?”” ( :117)

“Once when a hospital chain wanted me to name a price first, I said, “Well, if you go to Harvard Business School, they’re going to charge you $2,500 a day per student.”” ( :117)

“”That is a very generous offer given your budget limits, but I am not sure how that would help us achieve a great reception for the alums in the region,” Farouq said, acknowledging her limits but saying no without using the word. Then he dropped an extreme anchor. “I have a very high amount in my head: $1,000 is what we need.”” ( :118)

“As expected, the extreme anchor quickly knocked the dean off her limit. “That is severely out of my range and I am sure I can’t authorize that. However, I will give you $500.” Farouq was half-tempted to fold—being $100 short wasn’t make-or-break—but he remembered the curse of aiming low. He decided to push forward. The $500 got him closer to the goal but not quite there, he said; $850 would work. The dean replied by saying that she was already giving more than what she wanted and $500 was reasonable. At this point, if Farouq had been less prepared he would have given up, but he was ready for the punches. “I think your offer is very reasonable and I understand your restrictions, but I need more money to put on a great show for the school,” he said. “How about $775?” The dean smiled, and Farouq knew he had her. “You seem to have a specific number in your head that you are trying to get to,” she said. “Just tell it to me.” At that point Farouq was happy to give her his number as he felt she was sincere. “I need $737.50 to make this work and you are my last stop,” he said. She laughed. The dean then praised him for knowing what he wanted and said she’d check her budget. Two days later, Farouq got an email saying her office would put in $750.” ( :118)

“Sometimes a situation simply calls for you to be the aggressor and punch the other side in the face.” ( :118)

“And so when someone puts out a ridiculous offer, one that really pisses you off, take a deep breath, allow little anger, and channel it—at the proposal, not the person—and say, “I don’t see how that would ever work.”” ( :119)

“Saying, “I’m sorry that just doesn’t work for me,” with poise, works.” ( :119)

“Let me explain. If you are working to lure a client away from a competitor, you might say, “Why would you ever do business with me? Why would you ever change from your existing supplier? They’re great!” In these questions, the “Why?” coaxes your counterpart into working for you.” ( :119)

“When you want to counteract unproductive statements from your counterpart, you can say, “I feel ___ when you ___ because ___,” and that demands a time-out from the other person.” ( :120)

“The person across the table is never the problem. The unsolved issue is. So focus on the issue. This is one of the most basic tactics for avoiding emotional escalations.” ( :120)

“The person across the table is never the problem. The unsolved issue is. So focus on the issue. This is one of the most basic tactics for avoiding emotional escalations. Our culture demonizes people in movies and politics, which creates the mentality that if we only got rid of the person then everything would be okay. But this dynamic is toxic to any negotiation.” ( :120)

“Taking a positive, constructive approach to conflict involves understanding that the bond is fundamental to any resolution. Never create an enemy.” ( :120)

“1. Set your target price (your goal). 2. Set your first offer at 65 percent of your target price. 3. Calculate three raises of decreasing increments (to 85, 95, and 100 percent). 4. Use lots of empathy and different ways of saying “No” to get the other side to counter before you increase your offer. 5. When calculating the final amount, use precise, nonround numbers like, say, $37,893 rather than $38,000. It gives the number credibility and weight. 6. On your final number, throw in a nonmonetary item (that they probably don’t want) to show you’re at your limit.” ( :121)

“Second, the diminishing size of the increases—notice that they decrease by half each time—” ( :121)

“convinces your counterpart that he’s squeezing you to the point of breaking. By the time they get to the last one, they’ll feel that they’ve really gotten every last drop.” ( :122)

“I’ll never forget the head of the Miami FBI office calling my colleague the next day and saying, “Voss got this guy out for $4,751? How does $1 make a difference?”” ( :122)

“I’ll never forget the head of the Miami FBI office calling my colleague the next day and saying, “Voss got this guy out for $4,751? How does $1 make a difference?” They were howling with laughter, and they had a point. That $1 is ridiculous. But it works on our human nature. Notice that you can’t buy anything for $2, but you can buy a million things for $1.99. How does a cent change anything? It doesn’t. But it makes a difference every time. We just like $1.99 more than $2.00 even if we know it’s a trick.” ( :122)

“”You fall to your highest level of preparation,”” ( :122)

“”Even though your building is better in terms of location and services, how am I supposed to pay $200 extra?” The negotiation was on.” ( :122)

“”I fully understand, you do have a better location and amenities. But I’m sorry, I just can’t,” he said. “Would $1,730 a month for a year lease sound fair to you?” The agent laughed and when he finished said there was no way to accept that number, because it was way below market price.” ( :123)

“”Okay, so please help me understand: how do you price lease renewals?”” ( :123)

“”I ran the numbers, and believe me this is a good deal,” the agent started. “I am able to offer you $1,950 a month for a year.” Mishary knew he’d won. The agent just needed a little push. So he praised the agent and said no without saying, “No.” And notice how he brilliantly mislabels in order to get the guy to open up?” ( :123)

“”I ran the numbers, and believe me this is a good deal,” the agent started. “I am able to offer you $1,950 a month for a year.” Mishary knew he’d won. The agent just needed a little push. So he praised the agent and said no without saying, “No.” And notice how he brilliantly mislabels in order to get the guy to open up? “That is generous of you, but how am I supposed to accept it when I can move a few blocks away and stay for $1,800? A hundred and fifty dollars a month means a lot to me. You know I am a student. I don’t know, it seems like you would rather run the risk of keeping the place unrented.”” ( :123)

“Five days later the two met again. “I ran the numbers, and believe me this is a good deal,” the agent started. “I am able to offer you $1,950 a month for a year.” Mishary knew he’d won. The agent just needed a little push. So he praised the agent and said no without saying, “No.” And notice how he brilliantly mislabels in order to get the guy to open up? “That is generous of you, but how am I supposed to accept it when I can move a few blocks away and stay for $1,800? A hundred and fifty dollars a month means a lot to me. You know I am a student. I don’t know, it seems like you would rather run the risk of keeping the place unrented.” “It’s not that,” the agent answered. “But I can’t give you a number lower than the market.” Mishary made a dramatic pause, as if the agent was extracting every cent he had. “Then I tell you what, I initially went up from $1,730 to $1,790,” he said, sighing. “I will bring it up to $1,810. And I think this works well for both.” The agent shook his head. “This is still lower than the market, sir. And I cannot do that.” Mishary then prepared to give the last of his Ackerman offers. He went silent for a while and then asked the agent for a pen and paper. Then he started doing fake calculations to seem like he was really pushing himself. Finally, he looked up at the agent and said, “I did some numbers, and the maximum I can afford is $1,829.” The agent bobbed his head from side to side, as if getting his mind around the offer. At last, he spoke.” ( :123)

“”Wow. $1,829,” he said. “You seem very precise. You must be an accountant. [Mishary was not.] Listen, I value you wanting to renew with us and for that I think we can make this work for a twelvemonth lease.” Ka-ching!” ( :124)

“Prepare, prepare, prepare. When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion; you fall to your highest level of preparation. So design an ambitious but legitimate goal and then game out the labels, calibrated questions, and responses you’ll use to get there. That way, once you’re at the bargaining table, you won’t have to wing it.” ( :124)

“Set boundaries, and learn to take a punch or punch back, without anger. The guy across the table is not the problem; the situation is.” ( :124)

“Prepare an Ackerman plan. Before you head into the weeds of bargaining, you’ll need a plan of extreme anchor, calibrated questions, and well-defined offers. Remember: 65, 85, 95, 100 percent. Decreasing raises and ending on nonround numbers will get your counterpart to believe that he’s squeezing you for all you’re worth when you’re really getting to the number you want.” ( :124)

 

CHAPTER 10 | FIND THE BLACK SWAN
How to Create Breakthroughs by Revealing the Unknown Unknowns

 

“But that permanent and inalterable truth was about to change. What came next showed the power of Black Swans, those hidden and unexpected pieces of information—those unknown unknowns—whose unearthing has game-changing effects on a negotiation dynamic.” ( :125)

“At that moment, Griffin walked over to a full-length bank window and pressed his body against the glass. He was in full view of a sniper stationed in the church across the street. Griffin knew quite well the sniper was there; earlier in the day he’d shot at him. Less than a second after Griffin’s silhouette appeared in his scope, the sniper pulled the trigger. Griffin crumpled to the floor, dead.” ( :126)

“Black Swan theory tells us that things happen that were previously thought to be impossible—or never thought of at all. This is not the same as saying that sometimes things happen against one-in-amillion odds, but rather that things never imagined do come to pass.” ( :126)

“Black Swans are just a metaphor, of course. Think of Pearl Harbor, the rise of the Internet, 9/11, and the recent banking crisis.” ( :126)

“Black Swans are just a metaphor, of course. Think of Pearl Harbor, the rise of the Internet, 9/11, and the recent banking crisis. None of the events above was predicted—yet on reflection, the markers were all there. It’s just that people weren’t paying attention.” ( :126)

“As Taleb uses the term, the Black Swan symbolizes the uselessness of predictions based on previous experience. Black Swans are events or pieces of knowledge that sit outside our regular expectations and therefore cannot be predicted.” ( :126)

“These unknown unknowns are Black Swans.” ( :126)

“The lesson of what happened at 3 p.m. on June 17, 1981, in Rochester, New York, was that when bits and pieces of a case don’t add up it’s usually because our frames of reference are off; they will never add up unless we break free of our expectations.” ( :127)

“we must always retain a beginner’s mind;” ( :127)

“I realized that I had to completely change how I approached negotiating. I began to hypothesize that in every negotiation each side is in possession of at least three Black Swans, three pieces of information that, were they to be discovered by the other side, would change everything.” ( :128)

“By definition we do not know what we don’t know. That’s why I say that finding and understanding Black Swans requires a change of mindset.” ( :128)

“The world didn’t tell Steve Jobs that it wanted an iPad: he uncovered our need, that Black Swan, without us knowing the information was there.” ( :128)

“The problem is that conventional questioning and research techniques are designed to confirm known knowns and reduce uncertainty. They don’t dig into the unknown.” ( :128)

“In theory, leverage is the ability to inflict loss and withhold gain. Where does your counterpart want to gain and what do they fear losing? Discover these pieces of information, we are told, and you’ll build leverage over the other side’s perceptions, actions, and decisions. In practice, where our irrational perceptions are our reality, loss and gain are slippery notions, and it often doesn’t matter what leverage actually exists against you; what really matters is the leverage they think you have on them. That’s why I say there’s always leverage: as an essentially emotional concept, it can be manufactured whether it exists or not.” ( :129)

“Leverage has a lot of inputs, like time and necessity and competition. If you need to sell your house now, you have less leverage than if you don’t have a deadline. If you want to sell it but don’t have to, you have more. And if various people are bidding on it at once, good on you.” ( :129)

“To get leverage, you have to persuade your counterpart that they have something real to lose if the deal falls through. At a taxonomic level, there are three kinds: Positive, Negative, and Normative.” ( :129)

“A more subtle technique is to label your negative leverage and thereby make it clear without attacking. Sentences like “It seems like you strongly value the fact that you’ve always paid on time” or “It seems like you don’t care what position you are leaving me in” can really open up the negotiation process.” ( :130)

“In any negotiation, but especially in a tense one like this, it’s not how well you speak but how well you listen that determines your success. Understanding the “other” is a precondition to be able to speak persuasively and develop options that resonate for them. There is the visible negotiation and then all the things that are hidden under the surface (the secret negotiation space wherein the Black Swans dwell).” ( :131)

“Watson also told us he was a veteran, and veterans had rules. This is the kind of music you want to hear, as it provides normative leverage. He told us that he would be willing to surrender, but not right away. As a military police officer in the 82nd Airborne in the 1970s, he’d learned that if he was trapped behind enemy lines, he could withdraw with honor if reinforcements didn’t arrive within three days. But not before. Now, we had articulated rules we could hold him to, and the admission that he could withdraw also implied that, despite his bluster about dying, he wanted to live. One of the first things you try to decide in a hostage negotiation is whether your counterpart’s vision of the future involves them living. And Watson had answered yes.” ( :132)

“But we couldn’t hit on that at all; we couldn’t threaten to kill him and expect that to work. The reason for that is something called the “paradox of power”—namely, the harder we push the more likely we are to be met with resistance. That’s why you have to use negative leverage sparingly. Still, time was short and we had to speed things up. But how?” ( :132)

“”He’s a devout Christian,” she told me. “Tell him tomorrow is the Dawn of the Third Day. That’s the day Christians believe Jesus Christ left his tomb and ascended to Heaven. If Christ came out on the Dawn of the Third Day, why not Watson?”” ( :133)

“The other guy’s “religion” is what the market, the experts, God, or society—whatever matters to him—has determined to be fair and just. And people defer to that authority.” ( :133)

“■ Review everything you hear. You will not hear everything the first time, so double-check. Compare notes with your team members. You will often discover new information that will help you advance the negotiation. ■ Use backup listeners whose only job is to listen between the lines. They will hear things you miss. In other words: listen, listen again, and listen some more.” ( :133)

“”This is really stewardship for you, isn’t it?” I said. His voice immediately strengthened. “Yes! You’re the only one who understands,” he said.” ( :134)

“But when someone displays a passion for what we’ve always wanted and conveys a purposeful plan of how to get there, we allow our perceptions of what’s possible to change. We’re all hungry for a map to joy, and when someone is courageous enough to draw it for us, we naturally follow. So when you ascertain your counterpart’s unattained goals, invoke your own power and followability by expressing passion for their goals—and for their ability to achieve them.” ( :134)

“That’s one reason I’ve been highly critical of some of the implementation of America’s hostage negotiation policy—which is that we don’t negotiate with those we refer broadly to as “the Terrorists,” including groups from the Taliban to ISIS. The rationale for this nonengagement is summarized well by the journalist Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst: “Negotiations with religious fanatics who have delusions of grandeur generally do not go well.” The alternative we’ve chosen is to not understand their religion, their fanaticism, and their delusions. Instead of negotiations that don’t go well, we shrug our shoulders and say, “They’re crazy!”” ( :135)

“crazy!” But that’s absolutely wrongheaded. We must understand these things. I’m not saying that because I’m a softheaded pacifist (the FBI doesn’t hire agents like that) but because I know understanding such things is the best way to discover the other side’s vulnerabilities and wants and thereby gain influence. You can’t get that stuff unless you talk.” ( :135)

“It’s not human nature to embrace the unknown. It scares us. When we are confronted by it, we ignore it, we run away, or we label it in ways that allow us to dismiss it. In negotiations, that label most often takes the form of the statement, “They’re crazy!” That’s one reason I’ve been highly critical of some of the implementation of America’s hostage negotiation policy—which is that we don’t negotiate with those we refer broadly to as “the Terrorists,” including groups from the Taliban to ISIS. The rationale for this nonengagement is summarized well by the journalist Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst: “Negotiations with religious fanatics who have delusions of grandeur generally do not go well.” The alternative we’ve chosen is to not understand their religion, their fanaticism, and their delusions. Instead of negotiations that don’t go well, we shrug our shoulders and say, “They’re crazy!” But that’s absolutely wrongheaded. We must understand these things. I’m not saying that because I’m a softheaded pacifist (the FBI doesn’t hire agents like that) but because I know understanding such things is the best way to discover the other side’s vulnerabilities and wants and thereby gain influence. You can’t get that stuff unless you talk.” ( :135)

“But the moment when we’re most ready to throw our hands up and declare “They’re crazy!” is often the best moment for discovering Black Swans that transform a negotiation. It is when we hear or see something that doesn’t make sense—something “crazy”—that a crucial fork in the road is presented: push forward, even more forcefully, into that which we initially can’t process; or take the” ( :135)

“other path, the one to guaranteed failure, in which we tell ourselves that negotiating was useless anyway.” ( :136)

“4 Negotiation Genius,” ( :136)

“Often the other side is acting on bad information, and when people have bad information they make bad choices. There’s a great computer industry term for this: GIGO—Garbage In, Garbage Out.” ( :136)

“Eager to avoid a lawsuit, the executive called the employee, explained the situation, and made an offer: if the employee dropped the lawsuit he could keep the $25,000. To his surprise, the employee said that he was going forward with the suit anyway; he acted irrational, crazy.” ( :136)

“Eager to avoid a lawsuit, the executive called the employee, explained the situation, and made an offer: if the employee dropped the lawsuit he could keep the $25,000. To his surprise, the employee said that he was going forward with the suit anyway; he acted irrational, crazy. Malhotra told his student that the problem was not craziness, but a lack of information and trust. So the executive had an outside accounting firm audit the numbers and send the results to the employee. The result? The employee dropped the suit.” ( :136)

“have things they can’t do but aren’t eager to reveal. Such constraints can make the sanest counterpart seem irrational. The other side might not be able to do something because of legal advice, or because of promises already made, or even to avoid setting a precedent. Or they may just not have the power to close the deal.” ( :136)

“classic email for nonresponders, the one that always works: “Have you given up on finalizing this deal this year?”” ( :136)

“Then something weird happened. The Coca-Cola contact didn’t respond to the perfect email. What was up?” ( :137)

“that the guy had given up on closing the deal by the end of the year, but he didn’t want to admit it. There had to be some constraint.” ( :137)

“Whatever the specifics of the situation, these people are not acting irrationally. They are simply complying with needs and desires that you don’t yet understand, what the world looks like to them based on their own set of rules. Your job is to bring these Black Swans to light.” ( :137)

“Fortunately and unfortunately, yes,” the broker said. “The occupancy has historically been one hundred percent and it is a cash cow, but the students act like college students . . .” A lightbulb went on in my student’s head: there was something strange afoot. If it were such a cash cow, why would someone sell a 100 percent occupied building located next to a growing campus in an affluent city? That was irrational by any measure. A little befuddled but still in the negotiation mindset, my student constructed a label. Inadvertently he mislabeled the situation, triggering the broker to correct him and reveal a Black Swan.” ( :139)

“”Well,” he said, “the seller has some tougher properties in Atlanta and Savannah, so he has to get out of this property to pay back the other mortgages.” Bingo! With that, my student had unearthed a fantastic Black Swan. The seller was suffering constraints that, until that moment, had been unknown.” ( :139)

“After quizzing the broker if the seller would be willing to close quickly, and getting a “yes,” my student set his anchor. “I think I have heard enough,” he said. “We are willing to offer $3.4 million.”” ( :140)

“”I think I have heard enough,” he said. “We are willing to offer $3.4 million.” “Okay,” the broker answered. “That is well below the asking price. However, I can bring the offer to the seller and see what he thinks.” Later that day, the broker came back with a counteroffer. The seller had told him that the number was too low, but he was willing to take $3.7 million. My student could barely keep from falling off his chair; the counteroffer was lower than his goal. But rather than jump at the amount—and risk leaving value on the table with a wimp-win deal—my student pushed further. He said “No” without using the word. “That is closer to what we believe the value to be,” he said, “but we cannot in good conscience pay more than $3.55 million.”” ( :140)

“Please remember that our emphasis throughout the book is that the adversary is the situation and that the person that you appear to be in conflict with is actually your partner.” ( :141)

“genuine, honest conflict between people over their goals actually helps energize the problem-solving process in a collaborative way.” ( :141)

“Remember, pushing hard for what you believe is not selfish. It is not bullying. It is not just helping you. Your amygdala, the part of the brain that processes fear, will try to convince you to give up, to flee, because the other guy is right, or you’re being cruel. But if you are an honest, decent person looking for a reasonable outcome, you can ignore the amygdala.” ( :141)

“And so I’m going to leave you with one request: Whether it’s in the office or around the family dinner table, don’t avoid honest, clear conflict. It will get you the best car price, the higher salary, and the largest donation. It will also save your marriage, your friendship, and your family.” ( :141)

“Finding the Black Swans—those powerful unknown unknowns—is intrinsically difficult, however, for the simple reason that we don’t know the questions to ask. Because we don’t know what the treasure is, we don’t know where to dig.” ( :142)

“■ Black Swans are leverage multipliers. Remember the three types of leverage: positive (the ability to give someone what they want); negative (the ability to hurt someone); and normative (using your counterpart’s norms to bring them around).” ( :142)

 

APPENDIX
PREPARE A NEGOTIATION ONE SHEET

 

“When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion—you fall to your highest level of preparation.” ( :145)

“Based on my company’s experiences, I believe that good initial preparation for each negotiation yields at least a 7:1 rate of return on time saved renegotiating deals or clarifying implementation.” ( :145)

“Think through best/worst-case scenarios but only write down a specific goal that represents the best case.” ( :145)

“negotiation experts say that many people who think they have “win-win” goals really have a “wimpwin” mentality. The “wimp-win” negotiator focuses on his or her bottom line, and that’s where they end up.” ( :146)

“■ Set an optimistic but reasonable goal and define it clearly. ■ Write it down. ■ Discuss your goal with a colleague (this makes it harder to wimp out). ■ Carry the written goal into the negotiation.” ( :146)

“Summarize and write out in just a couple of sentences the known facts that have led up to the negotiation.” ( :147)

“And you had better be ready to respond with tactical empathy to your counterpart’s arguments; unless they’re incompetent, the other party will come prepared to argue an interpretation of the facts that favors them. Get on the same page at the outset.” ( :147)

“You must be able to summarize a situation in a way that your counterpart will respond with a “That’s right.” If they don’t, you haven’t done it right.” ( :147)

“There are fill-in-the-blank labels that can be used in nearly every situation to extract information from your counterpart, or defuse an accusation: It seems like _________ is valuable to you. It seems like you don’t like _________. It seems like you value __________. It seems like _________ makes it easier. It seems like you’re reluctant to _________.” ( :147)

“As an example, if you’re trying to renegotiate an apartment lease to allow subletters and you know the landlord is opposed to them, your prepared labels would be on the lines of “It seems as though you’re not a fan of subletters” or “It seems like you want stability with your tenants.”” ( :147)

“Prepare three to five calibrated questions to reveal value to you and your counterpart and identify and overcome potential deal killers.” ( :147)

“counterparts’ stated positions (what the party demands) and delve into their underlying motivations (what is making them want what they want).” ( :147)

“Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has a great quote that sums up this concept: “You must accept the reality of other people. You think that reality is up for negotiation, that we think it’s whatever you say it is. You must accept that we are as real as you are; you must accept that you are not God.”” ( :148)

“What are we trying to accomplish? How is that worthwhile? What’s the core issue here? How does that affect things? What’s the biggest challenge you face? How does this fit into what the objective is?” ( :148)

“How does this affect the rest of your team? How on board are the people not on this call? What do your colleagues see as their main challenges in this area?” ( :148)

“You’ll be tempted to concentrate on money, but put that aside for now. A surprisingly high percentage of negotiations hinge on something outside dollars and cents. Often they have more to do with self-esteem, status, autonomy, and other nonfinancial needs.” ( :148)

“Think about their perceived losses. Never forget that a loss stings at least twice as much as an equivalent gain.” ( :148)

“What are we up against here? What is the biggest challenge you face? How does making a deal with us affect things? What happens if you do nothing? What does doing nothing cost you? How does making this deal resonate with what your company prides itself on?” ( :148)

“labels that you can use quickly without tons of thought: It seems like __________ is important. It seems you feel like my company is in a unique position to __________. It seems like you are worried that __________.” ( :149)

“Prepare a list of noncash items possessed by your counterpart that would be valuable.” ( :149)


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