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29+ quotes from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss

Quotes from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Chris Voss ·  288 pages

Rating: (7.9K votes)


“He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“Conflict brings out truth, creativity, and resolution.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“Negotiate in their world. Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their own idea. So don’t beat them with logic or brute force. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals. It’s not about you.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“■    Identify your counterpart’s negotiating style. Once you know whether they are Accommodator, Assertive, or Analyst, you’ll know the correct way to approach them.         ■    Prepare, prepare, prepare. When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion; you fall to your highest level of preparation. So design an ambitious but legitimate goal and then game out the labels, calibrated questions, and responses you’ll use to get there. That way, once you’re at the bargaining table, you won’t have to wing it.         ■    Get ready to take a punch. Kick-ass negotiators usually lead with an extreme anchor to knock you off your game. If you’re not ready, you’ll flee to your maximum without a fight. So prepare your dodging tactics to avoid getting sucked into the compromise trap.         ■    Set boundaries, and learn to take a punch or punch back, without anger. The guy across the table is not the problem; the situation is.         ■    Prepare an Ackerman plan. Before you head into the weeds of bargaining, you’ll need a plan of extreme anchor, calibrated questions, and well-defined offers. Remember: 65, 85, 95, 100 percent. Decreasing raises and ending on nonround numbers will get your counterpart to believe that he’s squeezing you for all you’re worth when you’re really getting to the number you want.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“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, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“Playing dumb is a valid negotiating technique, and”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“The Rule of Three is simply getting the other guy to agree to the same thing three times in the same conversation. It’s tripling the strength of whatever dynamic you’re trying to drill into at the moment. In doing so, it uncovers problems before they happen. It’s really hard to repeatedly lie or fake conviction.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“I was employing what had become one of the FBI’s most potent negotiating tools: the open-ended question. Today,”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“Psychotherapy research shows that when individuals feel listened to, they tend to listen to themselves more carefully and to openly evaluate and clarify their own thoughts and feelings.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“Mirrors work magic. Repeat the last three words (or the critical one to three words) of what someone has just said. We fear what’s different and are drawn to what’s similar. Mirroring is the art of insinuating similarity, which facilitates bonding. Use mirrors to encourage the other side to empathize and bond with you, keep people talking, buy your side time to regroup, and encourage your counterparts to reveal their strategy.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“Truly effective negotiators are conscious of the verbal, paraverbal (how it’s said), and nonverbal communications that pervade negotiations and group dynamics. And they know how to employ those subtleties to their benefit. Even changing a single word when you present options—like using “not lose” instead of “keep”—can unconsciously influence the conscious choices your counterpart makes.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“By repeating back what people say, you trigger this mirroring instinct and your counterpart will inevitably elaborate on what was just said and sustain the process of connecting.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“It’s a phenomenon (and now technique) that follows a very basic but profound biological principle: We fear what’s different and are drawn to what’s similar. As the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together. Mirroring, then, when practiced consciously, is the art of insinuating similarity. “Trust me,” a mirror signals to another’s unconscious, “You and I—we’re alike.” Once”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible.         ■”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“It all starts with the universally applicable premise that people want to be understood and accepted. Listening is the cheapest, yet most effective concession we can make to get there. By listening intensely, a negotiator demonstrates empathy and shows a sincere desire to better understand what the other side is experiencing. Psychotherapy”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“This is listening as a martial art, balancing the subtle behaviors of emotional intelligence and the assertive skills of influence, to gain access to the mind of another person. Contrary to popular opinion, listening is not a passive activity. It is the most active thing you can do. Once”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“The last rule of labeling is silence. Once you’ve thrown out a label, be quiet and listen.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“The fastest and most efficient means of establishing a quick working relationship is to acknowledge the negative and diffuse it.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“Research shows that the best way to deal with negativity is to observe it, without reaction and without judgment. Then consciously label each negative feeling and replace it with positive, compassionate, and solution-based thoughts. One”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“The beauty of empathy is that it doesn’t demand that you agree with the other person’s ideas”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“This happens because there are actually three kinds of “Yes”: Commitment, Confirmation, and Counterfeit.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“In a study of the components of lying,2 Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra and his coauthors found that, on average, liars use more words than truth tellers and use far more third-person pronouns. They start talking about him, her, it, one, they, and their rather than I, in order to put some distance between themselves and the lie. And they discovered that liars tend to speak in more complex sentences in an attempt to win over their suspicious counterparts. It’s what W. C. Fields meant when he talked about baffling someone with bullshit. The researchers dubbed this the Pinocchio Effect because, just like Pinocchio’s nose, the number of words grew along with the lie. People who are lying are, understandably, more worried about being believed, so they work harder—too hard, as it were—at being believable.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“try to force your opponent to admit that you are right. Aggressive confrontation is the enemy of constructive negotiation.         ■    Avoid questions that can be answered with “Yes” or tiny pieces of information. These require little thought and inspire the human need for reciprocity; you will be expected to give something back.         ■    Ask calibrated questions that start with the words “How” or “What.” By implicitly asking the other party for help, these questions will give your counterpart an illusion of control and will inspire them to speak at length, revealing important information.         ■    Don’t ask questions that start with “Why” unless you want your counterpart to defend a goal that serves you. “Why” is always an accusation, in any language.         ■    Calibrate your questions to point your counterpart toward solving your problem. This will encourage them to expend their energy on devising a solution.         ■    Bite your tongue. When you’re attacked in a negotiation, pause and avoid angry emotional reactions. Instead, ask your counterpart a calibrated question.         ■    There is always a team on the other side. If you are not influencing those behind the table, you are vulnerable.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“That is, “Yes” is nothing without “How.” Asking “How,” knowing “How,” and defining “How” are all part of the effective negotiator’s arsenal. He would be unarmed without them.         ■    Ask calibrated “How” questions, and ask them again and again. Asking “How” keeps your counterparts engaged but off balance. Answering the questions will give them the illusion of control. It will also lead them to contemplate your problems when making their demands.         ■    Use “How” questions to shape the negotiating environment. You do this by using “How can I do that?” as a gentle version of “No.” This will subtly push your counterpart to search for other solutions—your solutions. And very often it will get them to bid against themselves.         ■    Don’t just pay attention to the people you’re negotiating with directly; always identify the motivations of the players “behind the table.” You can do so by asking how a deal will affect everybody else and how on board they are.         ■    Follow the 7-38-55 Percent Rule by paying close attention to tone of voice and body language. Incongruence between the words and nonverbal signs will show when your counterpart is lying or uncomfortable with a deal.         ■    Is the “Yes” real or counterfeit? Test it with the Rule of Three: use calibrated questions, summaries, and labels to get your counterpart to reaffirm their agreement at least three times. It’s really hard to repeatedly lie or fake conviction.         ■    A person’s use of pronouns offers deep insights into his or her relative authority. If you’re hearing a lot of “I,” “me,” and “my,” the real power to decide probably lies elsewhere. Picking up a lot of “we,” “they,” and “them,” it’s more likely you’re dealing directly with a savvy decision maker keeping his options open.         ■    Use your own name to make yourself a real person to the other side and even get your own personal discount. Humor and humanity are the best ways to break the ice and remove roadblocks.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“Yes,” her boss responded, “one for us and one for the customer.” “I’m sorry, so you are saying that the client is asking for a copy and we need a copy for internal use?” “Actually, I’ll check with the client—they haven’t asked for anything. But I definitely want a copy. That’s just how I do business.” “Absolutely,” she responded. “Thanks for checking with the customer. Where would you like to store the in-house copy? There’s no more space in the file room here.” “It’s fine. You can store it anywhere,” he said, slightly perturbed now. “Anywhere?” she mirrored again, with calm concern. When another person’s tone of voice or body language is inconsistent with his words, a good mirror can be particularly useful. In this case, it caused her boss to take a nice, long pause—something he did not often do. My student sat silent. “As a matter of fact, you can put them in my office,” he said, with more composure than he’d had the whole conversation. “I’ll get the new assistant to print it for me after the project is done. For now, just create two digital backups.” A day later her boss emailed and wrote simply, “The two digital backups will be fine.” Not long after, I received an ecstatic email from this student: “I was shocked! I love mirrors! A week of work avoided!” Mirroring will make you feel awkward as heck when you first try it. That’s the only hard part about it; the technique takes a little practice. Once you get the hang of it, though, it’ll become a conversational Swiss Army knife valuable in just about every professional and social setting.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“The language of negotiation is primarily a language of conversation and rapport: a way of quickly establishing relationships and getting people to talk and think together. Which is why when you think of the greatest negotiators of all time, I’ve got a surprise for you—think Oprah Winfrey.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“When deliberating on a negotiating strategy or approach, people tend to focus all their energies on what to say or do, but it’s how we are (our general demeanor and delivery) that is both the easiest thing to enact and the most immediately effective mode of influence. Our brains don’t just process and understand the actions and words of others but their feelings and intentions too, the social meaning of their behavior and their emotions. On a mostly unconscious level, we can understand the minds of others not through any kind of thinking but through quite literally grasping what the other is feeling. Think”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“A good negotiator prepares, going in, to be ready for possible surprises; a great negotiator aims to use her skills to reveal the surprises she is certain to find. Don’t commit to assumptions; instead, view them as hypotheses and use the negotiation to test them rigorously. People who view negotiation as a battle of arguments become overwhelmed by the voices in their head. Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible. To quiet the voices in your head, make your sole and all-encompassing focus the other person and what they have to say. Slow. It. Down. Going too fast is one of the mistakes all negotiators are prone to making. If we’re too much in a hurry, people can feel as if they’re not being heard. You risk undermining the rapport and trust you’ve built. Put a smile on your face. When people are in a positive frame of mind, they think more quickly, and are more likely to collaborate and problem-solve (instead of fight and resist). Positivity creates mental agility in both you and your counterpart.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


“The positive/playful voice: Should be your default voice. It’s the voice of an easygoing, good-natured person. Your attitude is light and encouraging. The key here is to relax and smile while you’re talking.”
― Chris Voss, quote from Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It


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