40 Lessons from "Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss

I finished reading Chris Voss's Never Split the Difference, and I learned too many awesome tactics and techniques to remember, so here's a list of short sentences summarizing some of those lessons.

Some of these will not make sense unless 1) you have a background in negotiating or 2) you have read the book. I highly recommend you buy the book. I found it enormously valuable and exciting to read.

(And it's already changing the way I deal with people on a daily basis.)

1

Be ready for surprises and don't commit to your assumptions.

2

Negotiation isn't a battle, it's a learning experience, so learn as much as possible.

3

Actively listen by actively listening—and only actively listening.

4

Slow it down, because rushing is tangible to the other party and creates discomfort.

5

Smile: it changes your tone and puts you in a better mental state to negotiate from.

6

Be intentional about your tone, whether you're a late-night FM DJ, positive/playful, or direct/assertive.

7

Be a mirror by repeating what the other side is saying, and you will make them feel more safe in the conversation.

8

"Clear the road before advertising the destination."

9

Use "What's that?" "I hear you," and a little bit of silence to keep the other side talking and make them comfortable.

10

Label fears to diffuse them and label happiness to emphasize it.

11

Put yourself in the other side's shoes and be mindful of what they want.

12

Talk about why not more than you do the why because it shifts your focus to the other side.

13

Silence is often more powerful than your words.

14

Do an accusation audit to reduce negative emotions and label their responses before they come at you.

15

Elicit more "no" because it helps the other side feel in control of the negotiation.

16

Use "It seems/sounds/looks like..." to label emotions.

17

"Have you given up on this project?"

18

Aim to hear "That's right," instead of "You're right."

19

Use summaries to build tactical empathy and elicit mutual agreement with "That's right."

20

Bend realities of the negotiation by setting concrete anchors.

21

Use the F-word (fair) strategically to draw concessions, and if it's lobbed at you, mirror.

22

Don't split the difference—it's like wearing one black shoe and one brown shoe.

23

Give your counterpart something to lose rather than something to gain, taking advantage of loss aversion.

24

Find the Black Swan(s)—the underlying motivations that aren't apparent at first.

25

Ask calibrated questions with "How?" or "What?" to draw out more information and asking the other party for help, thus, giving them control.

26

Be careful when asking, "Why?" because it's an accusation in every language.

27

Develop the ability to bite your tongue when you are emotionally charged.

28

Acknowledge not only the person on the front-end of the negotiation but also the people influencing his/her decision behind the scenes.

29

According to the 7–38–55 Percent Rule, most of any message is conveyed by tone and body language.

30

Test the "Yes" by making your counterpart validate it with more questions, giving summaries, and labelling it.

31

Pay attention to pronouns (I and me vs Us and we) to gauge the power of the person in the negotiation.

32

Introduce your name into the conversation to be more of a human and less of an adversary.

33

There are three main types of negotiators—accommodating, asserting, or analyzing—and dealing with each of these is a different ball game. Adjust.

34

Prepare so that  when you get "punched in the face" you will be able to fall back on your goals and plan.

35

Use Black Swans to get leverage, either positive leverage, negative leverage, or normative leverage.

36

The other side's belief system or "religion" can be powerful leverage to make them consider options in light of their own beliefs.

37

Don't let known knowns blind you to new possibilities.

38

Find common ground on which to stand on with your counterpart.

39

Don't dismiss the person you're negotiating with as crazy—take time to analyze their situation, constraints, beliefs, or misinformation.

40

Negotiating in person allows you to pay more attention than any other option and will give you a better chance of figuring out the "Black Swans."