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This Is How To Be Persuasive: 7 New Secrets From FBI Hostage Negotiation by Chris Voss

Stashed in: Influence!, Negotiation, @bakadesuyo

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What Chris Voss (lead FBI negotiator) had to say about how to be persuasive:

  • Don’t be direct: Direct usually comes off as rude, no matter your intentions. Be nice and slow it down.
  • Don’t try to get them to say “yes”: Pushing for a “yes” makes people defensive. Try to get a “no.”
  • Do an “accusation audit”: Acknowledge all the negative things they think about you to defuse them.
  • Let them feel in control: People want autonomy. Ask questions and let them feel like they’re in charge.
  • The two magic words they need to say: Summarize their position to trigger a “That’s right.”
  • Listen for levers: They might only need the orange peel. Listen, listen, listen.
  • Keep asking “How am I supposed to do that?”: Let them solve your problems for you.

Emotions are critical. Most deals end because of negative feelings and most deals close because people like one another. So don’t alienate the other side — unless you are trying to kill the deal. (And that’s an effective technique as well.)

But what you really want to do is what that magic phrase “How am I supposed to do that?” accomplishes so well. It allows you to say “no” without making an enemy. Chris sums it up nicely in his book with a quote.

From Never Split The Difference:

“He who learns to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.”

Discussions and negotiations aren’t about war or winning. It’s about finding a way for everyone to get what they want and to be happy with what they get. For the people closest to us, it’s also about understanding them better through listening.

And that’s what builds relationships that last.

Chris has more great tips in his wonderful book, Never Split The Difference. In my next weekly email I’ll have a “cheat sheet” PDF that sums up the hostage negotiation techniques Chris recommends. To make sure you don’t miss it, join here.

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