Never Split the Difference

By: Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz

Never Split the Difference was written by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz.  It was published last May 17, 2016.


The New Rules

One of the most effective negotiating tactics is open-ended inquiries.

You may influence your counterpart’s desire-driven thinking. And you may direct their logical thinking to develop amazing responses. This will be by appropriately wording your questions and statements.

Life is a negotiation. Overcome your dislike of bargaining. Make it your right to ask for what you believe is right.


Be A Mirror

“If you approach a negotiation thinking the other guy thinks like you, you are wrong. That’s not empathy, that’s a projection.” – Chris Voss

Mirroring is a technique that involves echoing what the other person is saying. It entails taking the three most important words. It also requires framing a leading question with them. Participants are more likely to share information when you use this strategy. It makes them feel like you understand them. You’re not only buying time. You’re also creating a relationship with someone who can assist you gather more knowledge. This will help you make better decisions in the future.

A good confrontation may be broken down into five easy steps:

  1. Use the late-night FM Dj voice
  2. Start with “I’m sorry…”
  3. Mirror your counterpart’s words and behavior
  4. Allow at least four seconds of silence. This is to allow your counterpart to be affected by the influence of your mirrored behavior
  5. Repeat


Don’t Feel Their Pain, Label It

Chris Voss also proposes a two-step strategy for establishing trust. They were tactical empathy and labeling. Tactical empathy necessitates listening to and comprehending the other party’s feelings. You must be able to understand their feelings while also listening to their points of view. Using these two pieces of information will help you gain more clout.  Examine other person’s face, gestures, and tone of speech. This will make you have a deeper understanding of their feelings. Witnessing these emotional cues causes your brain to sync with theirs. This phenomenon is known as neuronal resonance. Your brain will replicate its emotions. It will allow you to better understand how they are feeling.

Labeling is a way of acknowledging another person’s feelings. It also makes them feel validated. The following are the steps to labeling emotions:

  1. Determine the emotional state of the other individual.
  2. After you’ve identified a feeling you wish to emphasize, say it out loud without utilizing “I” words.
  3. Be silent and listen after you’ve thrown out a label.

Reinforce the positive while neutralizing the negative. Labeling is an approach, not a strategy. Your success will be determined in large part by how you use it.


Beware “Yes” — “Master No”

A negotiator who pushes for a “yes” will not get any closer to a win. It only enrages the opposing party.

You must learn to interpret “no” as something other than rejection.

Two initial desires drive everyone: the desire to feel in control and the desire to feel safe and secure.

Meeting these needs in your counterpart leads to positive negotiation outcomes.


Here are a few of the benefits of saying “no” in a negotiation:

  1. Lets actual concerns come to light.
  2. Prevents people from making ineffective decisions or assists them in correcting them.
  3. It slows down the conversation. It allows participants to embrace their decisions and agreements more freely.
  4. Aids people in feeling safe, secure, emotionally at ease, and in command of their choices.
  5. It advances everyone’s efforts.


Trigger the Two Words that Immediately Transform Any Negotiation

Chris believes that conveying worries with a basic and clear message, such as “That’s right,” is the most effective method.

Summary = paraphrasing (re-articulating what has been said) + emotion labeling.

A summary is an extremely effective negotiation tool.

Saying “That’s right” is preferable to saying “Yes”.


Bend Their Reality

You must persuade your counterpart. They have something tangible to lose if the agreement falls through.  This allows you to get true bargaining power.

Anchor the emotions of your counterpart. Most of the time, let the opposing player go first.

Create a range of phrases and switch to non-monetary words. When you do utilize numbers, make them strange.


Create The Illusion of Control

Avoid a showdown if at all possible. Do not try to persuade your opponent to admit that you are correct.

Avoid queries that can be answered with a simple “yes” or a small amount of information.

Ask specific queries that begin with the words “how” or “what.”

Don’t start your inquiry with “why.”

Adjust your questions to point your opponent in the direction of resolving your issue.

Avoid angry emotional reactions when you’re challenged during a negotiation.

Guarantee Execution

Make yourself more human by introducing yourself with your name.

To establish the bargaining environment, ask “how” questions.


Bargain Hard

Determine the bargaining style of your rival (accommodate, assertive, or analyst).

Be ready at all times. Expect to be punched in the face. Set boundaries and react without becoming angry.


Find The Black Swan

Leverage comes in a variety of forms.

Positive leverage refers to your ability as a negotiator to provide or withhold items that your rival does not.

Negative Leverage: The ability of a negotiator to shape his adversary is harmed.

Normative Leverage: Using the norms of the other side to advance your cause.

About the Author

Tahl Raz is a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist. He is a leading non-fiction collaborator. And he strives for vivid storytelling that illuminates essential, life-changing ideas.

This book is the nation’s bestselling book on negotiation over a year after its debut. It ousted the book (Getting To Yes) that had dominated the category for over twenty years. He worked with the former lead hostage negotiator for the FBI. This book takes you inside the world of high-stakes international kidnapping. And it reveals how the FBI developed a new field-tested system. It’s proven more effective than the old approaches — whether in the boardroom or at home.

Early in his career, Tahl was recognized as one of America’s top 30 business journalists under 30. His article, The 10 Secrets of a Master Networker, led to the New York Times bestseller, Never Eat Alone. The book is still in hardcover over a decade later and is now used as a textbook in MBA programs around the world.

Forthcoming are two books set to be published in 2018 by Random House Currency. The CEO Next Door is based on a decade-long analysis of the world’s most coveted leadership database. The groundbreaking research was the featured cover story in the May-June 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.

He has held roles as a Chief Content Officer and CEO of an online B2B education company. He is also the founder of Jewcy Media.  It is a multichannel brand. It includes an online magazine, events, off-broadway theatre, and merchandise.

Tahl has a degree in Philosophy from Vassar College. He lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.


Image Source: The New York Times

Christopher “Chris” Voss is an American businessman, author, and academic. Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator. He is also the CEO of The Black Swan Group Ltd and co-author of the book Never Split the Difference. 

Voss was a member of the New York City Joint Terrorism Task Force from 1986 to 2000.

In 1992, he received hostage negotiation training at the FBI Academy. He spent 24 years working in the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit. He was the FBI’s chief international hostage and kidnapping negotiator. That lasted from 2003 to 2007.

He worked for more than 150 international hostage cases. He then retired from the FBI in 2007 and founded The Black Swan Group.

In 2016, Voss co-authored the book Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. He’s with journalist Tahl Raz.

Voss was given the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement. Together with that is FBI Agents Association Award for Distinguished and Exemplary Service.

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Books by the Author

Books by Tahl:

  • Never Split the Difference
  • Never Eat Alone
  • The CEO Next Door
  • Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change
  • Lead 
  • Ne coupez jamais la poire en deux (L’esprit d’ouverture) (French Edition)


Books by Voss:

  • Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
  • Chris Voss teaches the Art of Negotiation
  • Never split the difference, life leverage,fitness, mindset with muscle, how to be fcking awesome 5 books collection set
  • Volere troppo e ottenerlo. Le nuove regole della negoziazione
  • Just-In-Time: A Global Status Report
  • Service Operations Dynamics: Managing in an Age of Digitization, Disruption and Discontent
  • Unti Voss #5
  • Tárgyalj úgy, mintha az életed múlna rajta!
  • Never Split the Difference, Shoe Dog, 10% Happier, You Are a Badass, Life Leverage, Eat That Frog 6 Books Collection Set
  • Unti Voss #1-#4 Unabridged Pod

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