Negotiating is uncomfortable.
It makes you feel like you’re under attack.
If you’re not prepared, you can end up feeling awkward, or worse, like you got taken advantage of.
In Never Split the Difference, Chris Voss teaches you how to be a successful negotiator. His real-life stories from his work as a hostage negotiator are both an effective teaching tool and make for an exciting read. His techniques are simple, yet effective.
Negotiation skills come in handy in all kinds of day-to-day interactions. Whether you are negotiating a wage at a new job, your boss is handing you work when your plate is full, or your landlord is trying to increase your rent, it is important to be prepared when these situations come up.
Top 5 Takeaways:
1. Negotiations are more emotional than they are logical
Most people go into negotiations ready with the facts to lay down a logical argument. Voss teaches that a successful negotiator aims to understand their counterpart’s emotions before getting to the requests. By building rapport, uncovering their motives, and putting yourself in their shoes, you can allow this person to trust you and open up about what they really want.
2. Your tone and body language are more important than what you say
A message is composed of your body language, tone of voice, and the words you say. To be a good negotiator you need to be aware and in control of all of these.
Voss mentions the 7-38-55 rule that states that 7% of a message is composed of the words, 38% is of the tone, and 55% is of the body language. This suggests that meeting someone in person is a much better way of communicating than over the phone or email.
3. Use the mirroring technique to get your counterpart to open up
The mirroring technique goes like this: Say the last three or most important three words that your counterpart said with a questioning tone. Then pause.
It sounds simple because it is. All your doing is showing that you are listening to your counterpart by mirroring what they are saying back to them. The questioning tone encourages them to elaborate on what they just said. The pause forces them to keep talking to avoid the awkward silence.
An example is:
“What did you do today?”
“I got some food and then went shopping”
“You went shopping?”
“Yeah! I got…”
4. Call out how your counterpart is feeling
If you notice that your counterpart is expressing an emotion, call it out. Use phrases like:
“It sounds like you are upset about that”
“It seems like you are really busy lately”
By calling out your counterparts emotions, it shows that you are paying attention to them and you care about how they feel. This is huge for getting them to trust you. It also gives them the opportunity to explain how they feel and why they are feeling that way. You can uncover a lot about someone’s motives by calling out how they are feeling.
5. Ask questions that force your counterpart to solve your problems.
This is a powerful technique that forces your counterpart to put themselves in your shoes to try to solve your problems. It makes them feel like they are in control and helps them understand your position.
For example, if your boss asks you to do more work when your plate is already full, you might say:
“How would you like me to prioritize that?”
All of a sudden they think about how much work you are already doing and start trying to solve your problems. It is a beautiful way to say no, without saying no.
Never Split the Difference is a practical book for communicating and negotiating. It gives you actual tools to use on a daily basis with all kinds of applications. Voss does a great job of using his real-life experience to entertain and teach. I highly recommend that you check it out.
Have you read Never Split the Difference? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!