Every once in a while, you pick up a book and have doubts about the value that it will deliver to you. I was recommended Never Split The Difference by one of our podcast guests, and I am extremely fortunate to have gone online and made the purchase. I hope to convey to you in the following book review how the author Chris Voss has written an entertaining, educational, and most importantly, a framework on how to increase your skills when negotiating ANYTHING in your life. I’ve read a few books on negotiation, and as I said to Jake, watching paint dry is more exciting and educational. Chris delivers on multiple fronts.
Check out the audio version of this article, narrated by Gino Barbaro:
Chris was a former FBI top hostage negotiator, and draws on his vast experience to deliver content that is actionable, and weaves countless entertaining stories to display how his strategies work in the real world. Whether you are a real estate investor trying to negotiate the best price, or a dad convincing his children to go to bed on time, you’ll find a story that will relate to your situation in life.
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I would like to highlight some of the key takeaways from the book. Listening to your counterpart is vastly underrated when it comes to negotiation. His experience has been “Most people approach a negotiation so preoccupied by the arguments that support their position that they are unable to listen attentively.” The number one way to score a deal in real estate is to solve the other side’s problem, and the only way to do that is to discover their problems, or pain points. Chris stresses the skill of listening throughout the book.
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I thoroughly enjoyed about the three voices that Chris highlighted in the book:
- Late night DJ: The voice that is in control (I need to use this with my kids more). This voice is deep, slow and reassuring
- Positive/Playful: Use this voice the majority of the time. People want to do business with others they like and trust.
- Assertive: Rarely used, this voice is direct, when you need to change a person’s state.
A person needs to be prepared before he enters the negotiation, and needs to be in control of his emotions and his reactions. People also need to be aware of a person’s tone of voice, as well as body language. Ironically enough, only seven percent of a message is based on the words alone, while thirty eight percent comes from the tone and fifty five percent from the body language (thanks for the stats Chris). It is not what you say, but how you say it. As a society that focuses on texts and emails, we are losing that face-to-face style of negotiation that can often lead to successful outcomes.
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Other strategies that Chris dives into that are worth mentioning are mirroring” and labeling”. Mirroring is a technique where you repeat back or imitate your counterpart to develop rapport. Labeling will allow the person feel as if they have been listened to and we understand them. I loved his story about standing outside an apartment in Harlem for six hours in the stifling heat, coaxing his adversaries to leave the apartment without any violence.
This book review has scratched the surface on all the invaluable techniques and strategies that Chris shares with his audience. He challenges pre-existing notions of negotiation, such as getting to a “yes” as soon as possible, and shows the reader that you should get to “that’s right” instead. I am going to begin reading the book again, and focus on utilizing all of his strategies the next time I try to tuck my kids to bed or negotiate a fifteen million dollar deal.
Let me know what you think of the book. Leave me a comment what your favorite story and techniques were.