Published February 2019 on Spotfiy

165: Chris Voss | Negotiate as If Your Life Depended on It

1. Introduction

Chris shares his expertise on negotiation, including the use of psychological leverage and the importance of treating others the way they want to be treated. He also discusses the black “Swan Rule” and the archetypes of different negotiators and personalities.+

2. Negotiating with Fear

Negotiating with Fear:Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator, explains to Jordan how fear is an inherent element in negotiations, and how it's not about eliminating fear but what you're scared of. He also shares how projection bias can lead to misunderstandings in communication.+
Personality Archetypes:Chris explains how different personality types affect negotiations and communication styles. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the other party's communication style and adapting to it, rather than just looking for shortcuts or sound bites.+

3. Negotiation Insights

Negotiation Archetypes:Chris Voss shares insights on different negotiation archetypes and how to communicate with them effectively, including assertive types and relationship-oriented types. He also discusses how these archetypes can impact personal relationships and communication breakdowns.+
Negotiation Techniques:Chris Voss shares insights on how negotiation techniques can be used in different scenarios, from collaborating with potential clients to dealing with assertive negotiators like terrorists. He also sheds light on the intimidating tactics used by procurement negotiators in business and how to handle them.+

4. Leverage in Negotiations

Chris and Jordan discuss the concept of leverage in negotiations, emphasizing that even in extreme situations like kidnappings, there is always some form of leverage. They also explore how to recognize and use leverage to your advantage in negotiations.+

5. Sponsors

Jordan Harbinger shares the importance of having a website for your business or brand, and how HostGator can help you create one easily and affordably. A recent study shows that 52% of people will look at your website first, so having a mobile-friendly and professional website is crucial for your online presence.+

6. Hiring Struggles

Jason and Jordan discuss the difficulties of finding the right people for a position, highlighting the challenges employers face in the hiring process.+

7. Sponsors

Jordan and Jason talk about ZipRecruiter, a smart and fast way to hire qualified candidates. They discuss how the platform can scan and match resumes, and invite the right people to apply to your job. They also offer a free trial for listeners at

8. Mastering Negotiation Techniques

Negotiation Techniques:Chris shares his experience in the FBI as a kidnapping negotiator and how he recruited the best negotiators who have been in situations where someone got killed. He explains how they always propose solutions to scare people and how they guarantee the best chances of success, not success itself.+
Gaining Control in Kidnap Situations:Chris shares his insights on how to regain control in kidnap situations by tricking the other side into doing something positive, gaining their trust, and preparing them in advance for scary negotiations.+
Emotional Component:Chris and Jordan discuss the importance of understanding the emotional component of negotiation and how cognitive biases can impact it. They also touch on the idea that there is no such thing as logic in negotiation.+

9. Negotiation Insights

Negotiation Strategies:Chris shares his negotiation strategies with Jordan, emphasizing the importance of emotional tension and thinking two to three moves ahead. He also explains why it's crucial to prepare for extremes and not think too far ahead, using the analogy of chess pieces connected by springs.+
Switching Negotiators:Chris Voss shares insights on the importance of switching negotiators during hostage situations, highlighting the psychological attachment between the hostage taker and the negotiator. He also explains how it could be an indication of a bad job done by the negotiator.+
High-Stakes Negotiation:Chris shares a story of a high-stakes negotiation where the bad guy took a hostage, putting the whole plan in jeopardy. He explains how the bad guy implied a threat without stating it and how they had to reset the chessboard to continue negotiating.+

10. Negotiation Strategies and Tactics

Negotiation Strategies:Chris shares his insights on negotiation strategies, including the importance of taking risks and the power of active listening to clarify demands and desires. He also discusses the use of confrontation and focus comparison in negotiations.+
Negotiation Tactics:Chris shares his insights on negotiation tactics in hostage situations and business deals, emphasizing the importance of wearing down the other party and remaining optimistic about the outcome. He also discusses the significance of escape demands and how to read the other party's emotions to achieve a positive outcome.+

11. Sponsors

Intuit offers financial tools like QuickBooks, TurboTax, or Mint to help people manage their finances and achieve their vision of prosperity.+

12. Smart Negotiators

Smart Negotiators:Chris Voss explains why being too smart can actually hinder your negotiation skills, and how using questions to shape the other person's thinking can lead to more efficient and effective communication.+
Learning from Kindergartners:Chris explains why kids learn faster than adults and why kindergartners do better than business school students in a marshmallow challenge. He also shares insights on how age and optimism affect negotiating with hostage takers.+

13. Negotiation Insights

Mastering Negotiation:Chris shares his expertise in negotiation and emotional intelligence, emphasizing the power of saying "no" and understanding the negative emotions driving the other party. He also provides examples of how to get out in front of a situation and regain control.+
Cooperative Negotiations:Chris and Jordan discuss the importance of cooperative negotiations and how saying "no" can actually be a helpful tool in reaching a deal. They also touch on the importance of team listening in high-stress situations, such as hostage negotiations, and how different team members can focus on specific aspects of the conversation to gather more information.+

14. Hostage Negotiation Tactics

Hostage Negotiation Strategy:Chris shares his strategy for hostage negotiation, which involves a team of seven people with specific assignments and skills. Any member of the team can be on the phone with the hostage-taker as long as they are coachable and take input from others. The team's best negotiator is in charge of running the team, and everyone's goal is to get a hostage out safely.+
Hostage Negotiation Tactics:Chris shares a story of a hostage negotiation where he used subconscious tactics to get the hostage taker to come out of the bank. He explains how our subconscious is much faster than our conscious and how he was able to pick up on the hostage's subconscious desire to be rescued. Chris also shares how he used a PA system instead of the phone to talk to the hostage and how it helped in the negotiation process.+

15. Decision-Making Insights

Making Decisions:Chris shares a story of a hostage situation and how fear and the status quo can hold us back from making decisions. He emphasizes that when the status quo is worse than the possibilities, it's time to make a change.+
Slowing Down:Chris explains how slowing down the negotiation process can help the other party feel more in control and lead to better decision-making. He also discusses the importance of positive emotional states in business negotiations and how they can lead to better deals and future partnerships.+

16. Negotiation Tactics

Handling Impossible Requests:Chris Voss shares his tactics for handling unreasonable requests, even in high-pressure situations like hostage negotiations. The key is to make the other person think and consider the logistics of their request, rather than dismissing it outright.+
Powerful Questions:Chris explains the power of asking good questions in negotiation and communication. He breaks down the formula of pause, apologize, mirror, and apply a question, and emphasizes the importance of making the other person feel heard to avoid anger and conflict.+

17. Mirror Neurons

Mirror Neurons:Chris explains how mirror neurons work and how they can trigger a chemical reaction in the brain, affecting our emotions and behavior. He also discusses how lack of bonding in the first year of life can lead to developmental issues and difficulties in bonding with others later in life.+
Labeling Emotions:Chris explains how labeling emotions can blunt negative emotions and reinforce positive ones. He shares insights from an experiment where labeling emotions caused the part of the brain that was lighting up to stop lighting up. Jordan and Chris discuss how reading between the lines and triggering recognition inside can be more powerfully effective.+

18. Tactical Empathy

Tactical Empathy:Chris shares how using tactical empathy, or cognitive empathy, can help in communicating with difficult people. By understanding the other person's perspective and reinforcing their positive emotions, it's possible to change their mind and achieve a positive outcome.+
Black Swan Rule:Chris Voss explains the Black Swan Rule, which is about treating people the way they need to be treated instead of assuming everyone is wired the same way. He emphasizes the importance of understanding communication styles and avoiding assumptions to prevent putting something on someone that they might not resonate with.+
Negotiation Types:Chris explains the three types of negotiators and how to identify them by hearing them out. Jordan and Jason discuss their experience meeting Chris in person and his FBI-like demeanor.+

19. Outro

Jordan shares tips on networking and building relationships, emphasizing the importance of not procrastinating and taking action now. He also promotes his LevelOne Course, which focuses on networking and relationship development.+