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Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It - Chris Voss

Last updated Aug 29, 2023


# Metadata

# Highlights

integrity (Location 6)

# How to Become the Smartest Person . . . in Any Room

My years of negotiating had infused everything from how I dealt with customer service reps to my parenting style. (Location 59)

one of the FBI’s most potent negotiating tools: the open-ended question (Location 70)

tactic calibrated questions: queries that the other side can respond to but that have no fixed answers. It buys you time. It gives your counterpart the illusion of control—they are the one with the answers and power after all—and it does all that without giving them any idea of how constrained they are by it. (Location 71)

Our techniques were the products of experiential learning; they were developed by agents in the field, negotiating through crisis and sharing stories of what succeeded and what failed. (Location 88)

Harvard Law School’s Winter Negotiation Course (Location 99)

After we’d had a chat with our instructor—mine was named Sheila Heen, and she’s a good buddy to this day—we were partnered off in pairs and sent into mock negotiations. Simple: one of us was selling a product, the other was the buyer, and each had clear limits on the price they could take. (Location 103)

With my old-school, experiential knowledge, I was killing guys who knew every cutting-edge trick you could find in a book. The thing was, it was the cutting-edge techniques these guys were using that felt dated and old. (Location 119)

Cheshire cat. (Location 126)

While I wasn’t actually saying “No,” the questions I kept asking sounded like it. They seemed to insinuate that the other side was being dishonest and unfair. And that was enough to make them falter and negotiate with themselves. Answering my calibrated questions demanded deep emotional strengths and tactical psychological insights that the toolbox they’d been given did not contain. (Location 128)

without a deep understanding of human psychology, without the acceptance that we are all crazy, irrational, impulsive, emotionally driven animals, all the raw intelligence and mathematical logic in the world is little help in the fraught, shifting interplay of two people negotiating. (Location 138)

no matter how we dress up our negotiations in mathematical theories, we are always an animal, always acting and reacting first and foremost from our deeply held but mostly invisible and inchoate fears, needs, perceptions, and desires. (Location 141)

The Old Testament spins plenty of tales of Israelites and their enemies taking each other’s citizens hostage as spoils of war. The Romans, for their part, used to force the princes of vassal states to send their sons to Rome for their education, to ensure the continued loyalty of the princes. (Location 153)

until the Nixon administration, hostage negotiating as a process was limited to sending in troops and trying to shoot the hostages free. In law enforcement, our approach was pretty much to talk until we figured out how to take them out with a gun. Brute force. (Location 156)

In the landmark Downs v. United States decision of 1975, the U.S. Court of Appeals wrote that “there was a better suited alternative to protecting the hostages’ well-being,” and said that the FBI had turned “what had been a successful ‘waiting game,’ during which two persons safely left the plane, into a ‘shooting match’ that left three persons dead.” The court concluded that “a reasonable attempt at negotiations must be made prior to a tactical intervention.” (Location 170)

They were the economist Amos Tversky and the psychologist Daniel Kahneman. Together, the two launched the field of behavioral economics—and Kahneman won a Nobel Prize—by showing that man is a very irrational beast. (Location 193)

Feeling, they discovered, is a form of thinking. (Location 195)

It was a period when the world’s top academic economists declared that we were all “rational actors.” And so it went in negotiation classes: assuming the other side was acting rationally and selfishly in trying to maximize its position, the goal was to figure out how to respond in various scenarios to maximize one’s own value. (Location 197)

Through decades of research with Tversky, Kahneman proved that humans all suffer from Cognitive Bias, that is, unconscious—and irrational—brain processes that literally distort the way we see the world. Kahneman and Tversky discovered more than 150 of them. (Location 201)

Loss Aversion, which shows how people are statistically more likely to act to avert a loss than to achieve an equal gain. (Location 206)

Kahneman later codified his research in the 2011 bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow. Man, he wrote, has two systems of thought: System 1, our animal mind, is fast, instinctive, and emotional; System 2 is slow, deliberative, and logical. And System 1 is far more influential. In fact, it guides and steers our rational thoughts. System 1’s inchoate beliefs, feelings, and impressions are the main sources of the explicit beliefs and deliberate choices of System 2. They’re the spring that feeds the river. We react emotionally (System 1) to a suggestion or question. Then that System 1 reaction informs and in effect creates the System 2 answer. (Location 208)

After Ruby Ridge and Waco, a lot of people were asking that question. U.S. deputy attorney general Philip B. Heymann, to be specific, wanted to know why our hostage negotiation techniques were so bad. In October 1993, he issued a report titled “Lessons of Waco: Proposed Changes in Federal Law Enforcement,”4 which summarized an expert panel’s diagnosis of federal law enforcement’s inability to handle complex hostage situations. As a result, in 1994 FBI director Louis Freeh announced the formation of the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG), a blended division that would combine the Crises Negotiation, Crises Management, Behavioral Sciences, and Hostage Rescue teams and reinvent crisis negotiation. (Location 232)

What were needed were simple psychological tactics and strategies that worked in the field to calm people down, establish rapport, gain trust, elicit the verbalization of needs, and persuade the other guy of our empathy. We needed something easy to teach, easy to learn, and easy to execute. (Location 249)

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. (Location 256)

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. In addition, they tend to become less defensive and oppositional and more willing to listen to other points of view, which gets them to the calm and logical place where they can be good Getting to Yes problem solvers. (Location 258)

Contrary to popular opinion, listening is not a passive activity. It is the most active thing you can do. (Location 263)

The majority of the interactions we have at work and at home are negotiations that boil down to the expression of a simple, animalistic urge: I want. (Location 272)

Negotiation serves two distinct, vital life functions—information gathering and behavior influencing—and includes almost any interaction where each party wants something from the other side. Your career, your finances, your reputation, your love life, even the fate of your kids—at some point all of these hinge on your ability to negotiate. (Location 277)

Conflict between two parties is inevitable in all relationships. So it’s useful—crucial, even—to know how to engage in that conflict to get what you want without inflicting damage. (Location 281)

The first step to achieving a mastery of daily negotiation is to get over your aversion to negotiating. You don’t need to like it; you just need to understand that’s how the world works. Negotiating does not mean browbeating or grinding someone down. It simply means playing the emotional game that human society is set up for. In this world, you get what you ask for; you just have to ask correctly. (Location 288)

use your emotions, instincts, and insights in any encounter to connect better with others, influence them, and achieve more. (Location 292)

It was not born in a classroom or a training hall, but built from years of experience that improved it until it reached near perfection. (Location 298)

how to discover the rarity that can help you achieve true negotiating greatness: the Black Swan. (Location 307)

You’ll also discover how to step out of your ego and negotiate in your counterpart’s world, the only way to achieve an agreement the other side will implement. Finally, you’ll see how to engage your counterpart by acknowledging their right to choose, and you’ll learn an email technique that ensures that you’ll never be ignored again. (Location 319)

to successfully negotiate it is critical to prepare. Which is why in the Appendix you’ll find an invaluable tool I use with all my students and clients called the Negotiation One Sheet: a concise primer of nearly all our tactics and strategies for you to think through and customize for whatever kind of deal you’re looking to close. (Location 342)

Negotiation is the heart of collaboration. It is what makes conflict potentially meaningful and productive for all parties. (Location 346)

I’ve always thought of myself as just a regular guy. Hardworking and willing to learn, yes, but not particularly talented. And I’ve always felt that life holds amazing possibilities. In my much younger days, I just didn’t know how to unlock those possibilities. (Location 348)

# How to Quickly Establish Rapport

Good negotiators, going in, know they have to be ready for possible surprises; great negotiators aim to use their skills to reveal the surprises they are certain exist. (Location 376)

they are best served by holding multiple hypotheses—about the situation, about the counterpart’s wants, about a whole array of variables—in their mind at the same time. Present and alert in the moment, they use all the new information that comes their way to test and winnow true hypotheses from false ones. (Location 378)

You should engage the process with a mindset of discovery. Your goal at the outset is to extract and observe as much information as possible. (Location 381)

Too often people find it easier just to stick with what they believe. Using what they’ve heard or their own biases, they often make assumptions about others even before meeting them. They even ignore their own perceptions to make them conform to foregone conclusions. (Location 384)

Great negotiators are able to question the assumptions that the rest of the involved players accept on faith or in arrogance, and thus remain more emotionally open to all possibilities, and more intellectually agile to a fluid situation. (Location 387)

be aware of a counterpart’s overuse of personal pronouns—we/they or me/I. The less important he makes himself, the more important he probably is (and vice versa). (Location 392)

We were way too close to the hostage site, so right away we were at a disadvantage. We were less than thirty yards from the crisis point, where ideally you want to have a little more of a buffer than that. You want to put some distance between you and whatever worst-case scenario might be waiting at the other end of the deal. (Location 409)

We are easily distracted. We engage in selective listening, hearing only what we want to hear, our minds acting on a cognitive bias for consistency rather than truth. (Location 420)

Most people approach a negotiation so preoccupied by the arguments that support their position that they are unable to listen attentively. In one of the most cited research papers in psychology, George A. Miller persuasively put forth the idea that we can process only about seven pieces of information in our conscious mind at any given moment. In other words, we are easily overwhelmed. (Location 422)

For those people who view negotiation as a battle of arguments, it’s the voices in their own head that are overwhelming them. (Location 425)

Instead of prioritizing your argument—in fact, instead of doing any thinking at all in the early goings about what you’re going to say—make your sole and all-encompassing focus the other person and what they have to say. (Location 431)

The goal is to identify what your counterparts actually need (monetarily, emotionally, or otherwise) and get them feeling safe enough to talk and talk and talk some more about what they want. The latter will help you discover the former. Wants are easy to talk about, representing the aspiration of getting our way, and sustaining any illusion of control we have as we begin to negotiate; needs imply survival, the very minimum required to make us act, and so make us vulnerable. (Location 434)

neither wants nor needs are where we start; it begins with listening, making it about the other people, validating their emotions, and creating enough trust and safety for a real conversation to begin. (Location 437)

The problem was, we were in too much of a hurry, driving too hard toward a quick solution; trying to be a problem solver, not a people mover. (Location 458)

There’s plenty of research that now validates the passage of time as one of the most important tools for a negotiator. When you slow the process down, you also calm it down. (Location 461)

I didn’t put it like a question. I made a downward-inflecting statement, in a downward-inflecting tone of voice. The best way to describe the late-night FM DJ’s voice is as the voice of calm and reason. (Location 484)

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. (Location 487)

When we radiate warmth and acceptance, conversations just seem to flow. When we enter a room with a level of comfort and enthusiasm, we attract people toward us. Smile at someone on the street, and as a reflex they’ll smile back. Understanding that reflex and putting it into practice is critical to the success of just about every negotiating skill there is to learn. (Location 491)

your most powerful tool in any verbal communication is your voice. You can use your voice to intentionally reach into someone’s brain and flip an emotional switch. Distrusting to trusting. Nervous to calm. (Location 494)

There are essentially three voice tones available to negotiators: the late-night FM DJ voice, the positive/playful voice, and the direct or assertive voice. (Location 496)

Most of the time, you should be using the positive/playful 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. (Location 500)

The effect these voices have are cross-cultural and never lost in translation. (Location 502)

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). It applies to the smile-er as much as to the smile-ee: a smile on your face, and in your voice, will increase your own mental agility. (Location 509)

Talking slowly and clearly you convey one idea: I’m in control. When you inflect in an upward way, you invite a response. Why? Because you’ve brought in a measure of uncertainty. You’ve made a statement sound like a question. You’ve left the door open for the other guy to take the lead, so I was careful here to be quiet, self-assured. (Location 512)

You can be very direct and to the point as long as you create safety by a tone of voice that says I’m okay, you’re okay, let’s figure things out. (Location 519)

Mirroring, also called isopraxism, is essentially imitation. It’s another neurobehavior humans (and other animals) display in which we copy each other to comfort each other. It can be done with speech patterns, body language, vocabulary, tempo, and tone of voice. It’s generally an unconscious behavior—we are rarely aware of it when it’s happening—but it’s a sign that people are bonding, in sync, and establishing the kind of rapport that leads to trust. (Location 540)

Mirroring, then, when practiced consciously, is the art of insinuating similarity. (Location 544)

as negotiators a “mirror” focuses on the words and nothing else. Not the body language. Not the accent. Not the tone or delivery. Just the words. (Location 549)

for the FBI, a “mirror” is when you repeat the last three words (or the critical one to three words) of what someone has just said. (Location 550)

being right isn’t the key to a successful negotiation—having the right mindset is. (Location 663)

invariably there is still someone in a position of authority who arrived at that position through aggressive assertiveness, sometimes outright intimidation, with “old school” top-down, command-and-control assumptions that the boss is always right. (Location 667)

  1. Use the late-night FM DJ voice. 2. Start with “I’m sorry . . .” 3. Mirror. 4. Silence. At least four seconds, to let the mirror work its magic on your counterpart. 5. Repeat. (Location 672)

The intention behind most mirrors should be “Please, help me understand.” Every time you mirror someone, they will reword what they’ve said. They will never say it exactly the same way they said it the first time. Ask someone, “What do you mean by that?” and you’re likely to incite irritation or defensiveness. A mirror, however, will get you the clarity you want while signaling respect and concern for what the other person is saying. (Location 683)

When another person’s tone of voice or body language is inconsistent with his words, a good mirror can be particularly useful. (Location 692)

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. (Location 699)

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. (Location 701)

Oprah Winfrey. Her daily television show was a case study of a master practitioner at work: on a stage face-to-face with someone she has never met, in front of a crowded studio of hundreds, with millions more watching from home, and a task to persuade that person in front of her, sometimes against his or her own best interests, to talk and talk and keep talking, ultimately sharing with the world deep, dark secrets that they had held hostage in their own minds for a lifetime. Look closely at such an interaction after reading this chapter and suddenly you’ll see a refined set of powerful skills: a conscious smile to ease the tension, use of subtle verbal and nonverbal language to signal empathy (and thus security), a certain downward inflection in the voice, embrace of specific kinds of questions and avoidance of others—a whole array of previously hidden skills that will prove invaluable to you, once you’ve learned to use them. (Location 703)

■ 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. (Location 711)

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. (Location 727)

# How to Create Trust with Tactical Empathy

Emotions are one of the main things that derail communication. Once people get upset at one another, rational thinking goes out the window. (Location 740)

That’s why, instead of denying or ignoring emotions, good negotiators identify and influence them. They are able to precisely label emotions, those of others and especially their own. (Location 742)

The relationship between an emotionally intelligent negotiator and their counterpart is essentially therapeutic. (Location 745)

Getting to this level of emotional intelligence demands opening up your senses, talking less, and listening more. (Location 748)

if you can perceive the emotions of others, you have a chance to turn them to your advantage. The more you know about someone, the more power you have. (Location 752)

“We didn’t want to get caught or get shot, but you calmed us down,” they said. “We finally believed you wouldn’t go away, so we just came out.” (Location 765)

There is nothing more frustrating or disruptive to any negotiation than to get the feeling you are talking to someone who isn’t listening. Playing dumb is a valid negotiating technique, and “I don’t understand” is a legitimate response. But ignoring the other party’s position only builds up frustration and makes them less likely to do what you want. The opposite of that is tactical empathy. (Location 767)

empathy is “the ability to recognize the perspective of a counterpart, and the vocalization of that recognition.” That’s an academic way of saying that empathy is paying attention to another human being, asking what they are feeling, and making a commitment to understanding their world. (Location 770)

Tactical empathy is understanding the feelings and mindset of another in the moment and also hearing what is behind those feelings so you increase your influence in all the moments that follow. It’s bringing our attention to both the emotional obstacles and the potential pathways to getting an agreement done. (Location 775)

Most of us enter verbal combat unlikely to persuade anyone of anything because we only know and care about our own goals and perspective. But the best officers are tuned in to the other party—their audience. They know that if they empathize, they can mold their audience by how they approach and talk to them. (Location 782)

Empathy is a classic “soft” communication skill, but it has a physical basis. When we closely observe a person’s face, gestures, and tone of voice, our brain begins to align with theirs in a process called neural resonance, and that lets us know more fully what they think and feel. (Location 787)

If you want to increase your neural resonance skills, take a moment right now and practice. Turn your attention to someone who’s talking near you, or watch a person being interviewed on TV. As they talk, imagine that you are that person. Visualize yourself in the position they describe and put in as much detail as you can, as if you were actually there. (Location 793)

empathy is not about being nice or agreeing with the other side. It’s about understanding them. Empathy helps us learn the position the enemy is in, why their actions make sense (to them), and what might move them. (Location 802)

what we said: “It looks like you don’t want to come out. It seems like you worry that if you open the door, we’ll come in with guns blazing. It looks like you don’t want to go back to jail.” We employed our tactical empathy by recognizing and then verbalizing the predictable emotions of the situation. We didn’t just put ourselves in the fugitives’ shoes. We spotted their feelings, turned them into words, and then very calmly and respectfully repeated their emotions back to them. (Location 811)

Labeling is a way of validating someone’s emotion by acknowledging it. Give someone’s emotion a name and you show you identify with how that person feels. It gets you close to someone without asking about external factors you know nothing about (Location 816)

Labeling has a special advantage when your counterpart is tense. Exposing negative thoughts to daylight—“It looks like you don’t want to go back to jail”—makes them seem less frightening. (Location 818)

labeling an emotion—applying rational words to a fear—disrupts its raw intensity. (Location 823)

Labeling is a simple, versatile skill that lets you reinforce a good aspect of the negotiation, or diffuse a negative one. But it has very specific rules about form and delivery. (Location 824)

The first step to labeling is detecting the other person’s emotional state. (Location 829)

most of the time you’ll have a wealth of information from the other person’s words, tone, and body language. We call that trinity “words, music, and dance.” (Location 830)

The trick to spotting feelings is to pay close attention to changes people undergo when they respond to external events. Most often, those events are your words. (Location 831)

Labels can be phrased as statements or questions. The only difference is whether you end the sentence with a downward or upward inflection. (Location 839)

the word “I” gets people’s guard up. When you say “I,” it says you’re more interested in yourself than the other person, and it makes you take personal responsibility for the words that follow—and the offense they might cause. (Location 843)

when you phrase a label as a neutral statement of understanding, it encourages your counterpart to be responsive. They’ll usually give a longer answer than just “yes” or “no.” (Location 845)

The last rule of labeling is silence. Once you’ve thrown out a label, be quiet and listen. We all have a tendency to expand on what we’ve said, to finish, “It seems like you like the way that shirt looks,” with a specific question like “Where did you get it?” But a label’s power is that it invites the other person to reveal himself. (Location 848)

In basic terms, people’s emotions have two levels: the “presenting” behavior is the part above the surface you can see and hear; beneath, the “underlying” feeling is what motivates the behavior. (Location 856)

As an emotion, anger is rarely productive—in you or the person you’re negotiating with. It releases stress hormones and neurochemicals that disrupt your ability to properly evaluate and respond to situations. And it blinds you to the fact that you’re angry in the first place, which gives you a false sense of confidence. (Location 862)

Top guys like to feel on top. They don’t want to be disrespected. (Location 871)

Try this the next time you have to apologize for a bone-headed mistake. Go right at it. The fastest and most efficient means of establishing a quick working relationship is to acknowledge the negative and diffuse it. (Location 879)

“We don’t see each other all that often,” you could say. “It seems like you feel like we don’t pay any attention to you and you only see us once a year, so why should you make time for us?” (Location 887)

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. (Location 892)

Once they’ve been labeled and brought into the open, the negative reactions in your counterpart’s amygdala will begin to soften. (Location 925)

I prefaced the conversation by labeling my audience’s fears; how much worse can something be than “horrible”? I defuse them and wait, letting it sink in and thereby making the unreasonable seem less forbidding. (Location 964)

In court, defense lawyers do this properly by mentioning everything their client is accused of, and all the weaknesses of their case, in the opening statement. They call this technique “taking the sting out.” (Location 969)

The first step of doing so is listing every terrible thing your counterpart could say about you, in what I call an accusation audit. (Location 973)

the beauty of going right after negativity is that it brings us to a safe zone of empathy. Every one of us has an inherent, human need to be understood, to connect with the person across the table. (Location 1025)

in a real negotiation the band all plays together. So you’ve got to learn how to conduct. (Location 1031)

Following on the heels of an argument is a great position for a negotiator, because your counterpart is desperate for an empathetic connection. Smile, and you’re already an improvement. (Location 1046)

Here’s where Ryan finally swoops in with an ask. But notice how he acts: not assertive or coldly logical, but with empathy and labeling that acknowledges her situation and tacitly puts them in the same boat. (Location 1062)

Listen to that riff: Label, tactical empathy, label. And only then a request. (Location 1067)

The next time you find yourself following an angry customer at a corner store or airplane line, take a moment and practice labels and mirrors on the service person. (Location 1072)

creating an empathetic relationship and encouraging your counterpart to expand on their situation is the basis of healthy human interaction. (Location 1077)

These tools, then, are nothing less than emotional best practices that help you cure the pervasive ineptitude that marks our most critical conversations in life. (Location 1079)

internalize these techniques, turning the artifice of tactical empathy into a habit and then into an integral part of your personality, (Location 1083)

Imagine yourself in your counterpart’s situation. The beauty of empathy is that it doesn’t demand that you agree with the other person’s ideas (you may well find them crazy). But by acknowledging the other person’s situation, you immediately convey that you are listening. And once they know that you are listening, they may tell you something that you can use. (Location 1085)

The reasons why a counterpart will not make an agreement with you are often more powerful than why they will make a deal, so focus first on clearing the barriers to agreement. Denying barriers or negative influences gives them credence; get them into the open. (Location 1088)

Pause. After you label a barrier or mirror a statement, let it sink in. Don’t worry, the other party will fill the silence. (Location 1090)

the faster you interrupt action in your counterpart’s amygdala, the part of the brain that generates fear, the faster you can generate feelings of safety, well-being, and trust. (Location 1092)

# How to Generate Momentum and Make It Safe to Reveal the Real Stakes

at the end of the day, “Yes” is often a meaningless answer that hides deeper objections (and “Maybe” is even worse). Pushing hard for “Yes” doesn’t get a negotiator any closer to a win; it just angers the other side. (Location 1114)

For good negotiators, “No” is pure gold. That negative provides a great opportunity for you and the other party to clarify what you really want by eliminating what you don’t want. (Location 1117)

To successfully gain a hostage’s safe release, a negotiator had to penetrate the hostage-taker’s motives, state of mind, intelligence, and emotional strengths and weaknesses. The negotiator played the role of bully, conciliator, enforcer, savior, confessor, instigator, and peacemaker—and that’s just a few of the parts. (Location 1131)

A trap into which many fall is to take what other people say literally. I started to see that while people played the game of conversation, it was in the game beneath the game, where few played, that all the leverage lived. (Location 1150)

Over the years, I’ve thought back repeatedly to that conversation, replaying how Amy so quickly turned me down, again and again. But her “No’s” were just the gateway to “Yes.” They gave her—and me—time to pivot, adjust, and reexamine, and actually created the environment for the one “Yes” that mattered. (Location 1153)

“No” is the start of the negotiation, not the end of it. We’ve been conditioned to fear the word “No.” But it is a statement of perception far more often than of fact. It seldom means, “I have considered all the facts and made a rational choice.” Instead, “No” is often a decision, frequently temporary, to maintain the status quo. Change is scary, and “No” provides a little protection from that scariness. (Location 1161)

give their adversary (his word for counterpart) permission to say “No” from the outset of a negotiation. He calls it “the right to veto.” He observes that people will fight to the death to preserve their right to say “No,” so give them that right and the negotiating environment becomes more constructive and collaborative almost immediately. (Location 1165)

the deep and universal human need for autonomy. People need to feel in control. When you preserve a person’s autonomy by clearly giving them permission to say “No” to your ideas, the emotions calm, the effectiveness of the decisions go up, and the other party can really look at your proposal. (Location 1171)

Politely saying “No” to your opponent (we’ll go into this in more depth in Chapter 9), calmly hearing “No,” and just letting the other side know that they are welcome to say “No” has a positive impact on any negotiation. (Location 1175)

you have to train yourself to hear “No” as something other than rejection, and respond accordingly. When someone tells you “No,” you need to rethink the word in one of its alternative—and much more real—meanings: ■ I am not yet ready to agree; ■ You are making me feel uncomfortable; ■ I do not understand; ■ I don’t think I can afford it; ■ I want something else; ■ I need more information; or ■ I want to talk it over with someone else. Then, after pausing, ask solution-based questions or simply label their effect: (Location 1178)

People have a need to say, “No.” So don’t just hope to hear it at some point; get them to say it early. (Location 1188)

There are actually three kinds of “Yes”: Counterfeit, Confirmation, and Commitment. (Location 1199)

A counterfeit “yes” is one in which your counterpart plans on saying “no” but either feels “yes” is an easier escape route or just wants to disingenuously keep the conversation going to obtain more information or some other kind of edge. A confirmation “yes” is generally innocent, a reflexive response to a black-or-white question; it’s sometimes used to lay a trap but mostly it’s just simple affirmation with no promise of action. (Location 1200)

good negotiators know that their job isn’t to put on a great performance but to gently guide their counterpart to discover their goal as his own. (Location 1208)

the only way to get these callers to take action was to have them own the conversation, to believe that they were coming to these conclusions, to these necessary next steps, and that the voice at the other end was simply a medium for those realizations. (Location 1248)

Using all your skills to create rapport, agreement, and connection with a counterpart is useful, but ultimately that connection is useless unless the other person feels that they are equally as responsible, if not solely responsible, for creating the connection and the new ideas they have. (Location 1250)

I asked so many questions and read so much about it that soon they had me teaching two classes for new volunteers at HelpLine: the opening class, on active listening; and the one on CareFrontation. (Location 1254)

everyone you meet is driven by two primal urges: the need to feel safe and secure, and the need to feel in control. If you satisfy those drives, you’re in the door. (Location 1261)

Nice, employed as a ruse, is disingenuous and manipulative. (Location 1267)

Instead of getting inside with logic or feigned smiles, then, we get there by asking for “No.” It’s the word that gives the speaker feelings of safety and control. “No” starts conversations and creates safe havens to get to the final “Yes” of commitment. (Location 1269)

we mistakenly conflate the positive value of that final “Yes” with a positive value of “Yes” in general. And because we see “No” as the opposite of “Yes,” we then assume that “No” is always a bad thing. (Location 1283)

if you’re trying to sell something, don’t start with “Do you have a few minutes to talk?” Instead ask, “Is now a bad time to talk?” Either you get “Yes, it is a bad time” followed by a good time or a request to go away, or you get “No, it’s not” and total focus. (Location 1289)

“No” is not failure. Used strategically it’s an answer that opens the path forward. Getting to the point where you’re no longer horrified by the word “No” is a liberating moment that every negotiator needs to reach. (Location 1315)

“No.” It’s a reaffirmation of autonomy. It is not a use or abuse of power; it is not an act of rejection; it is not a manifestation of stubbornness; it is not the end of the negotiation. (Location 1318)

“No” protects and benefits all parties in an exchange. “No” creates safety, security, and the feeling of control. It’s a requirement to implementable success. It’s a pause, a nudge, and a chance for the speaker to articulate what they do want. (Location 1325)

Sometimes, if you’re talking to somebody who is just not listening, the only way you can crack their cranium is to antagonize them into “No.” One great way to do this is to mislabel one of the other party’s emotions or desires. You say something that you know is totally wrong, (Location 1368)

Another way to force “No” in a negotiation is to ask the other party what they don’t want. (Location 1372)

“No”—or the lack thereof—also serves as a warning, the canary in the coal mine. If despite all your efforts, the other party won’t say “No,” you’re dealing with people who are indecisive or confused or who have a hidden agenda. In cases like that you have to end the negotiation and walk away. (Location 1374)

No “No” means no go. (Location 1377)

Have you given up on this project? The point is that this one-sentence email encapsulates the best of “No”-oriented questions and plays on your counterpart’s natural human aversion to loss. The “No” answer the email demands offers the other party the feeling of safety and the illusion of control while encouraging them to define their position and explain it to you. (Location 1382)

I’ve used this successfully not just in North America, but with people in two different cultures (Arabic and Chinese) famous for never saying “No.” (Location 1392)

We’ve instrumentalized niceness as a way of greasing the social wheels, yet it’s often a ruse. We’re polite and we don’t disagree to get through daily existence with the least degree of friction. But by turning niceness into a lubricant, we’ve leeched it of meaning. (Location 1395)

Break the habit of attempting to get people to say “yes.” Being pushed for “yes” makes people defensive. Our love of hearing “yes” makes us blind to the defensiveness we ourselves feel when someone is pushing us to say it. (Location 1404)

“No” is not a failure. We have learned that “No” is the anti-“Yes” and therefore a word to be avoided at all costs. But it really often just means “Wait” or “I’m not comfortable with that.” Learn how to hear it calmly. It is not the end of the negotiation, but the beginning. (Location 1406)

Saying “No” makes the speaker feel safe, secure, and in control, so trigger it. By saying what they don’t want, your counterpart defines their space and gains the confidence and comfort to listen to you. (Location 1411)

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. (Location 1416)

# How to Gain the Permission to Persuade

CNU developed what is a powerful staple in the high-stakes world of crisis negotiation, the Behavioral Change Stairway Model (BCSM). The model proposes five stages—active listening, empathy, rapport, influence, and behavioral change—that take any negotiator from listening to influencing behavior. (Location 1431)

American psychologist Carl Rogers, who proposed that real change can only come when a therapist accepts the client as he or she is—an approach known as unconditional positive regard. (Location 1434)

The vast majority of us, however, as Rogers explained, come to expect that love, praise, and approval are dependent on saying and doing the things people (initially, our parents) consider correct. That is, because for most of us the positive regard we experience is conditional, we develop a habit of hiding who we really are and what we really think, instead calibrating our words to gain approval but disclosing little. (Location 1435)

the sweetest two words in any negotiation are actually “That’s right.” (Location 1450)

With the support of my colleagues, my job was to come up with the strategy, get it approved, and implement it. (Location 1456)

Jeff Schilling came from a working-class family. His mother could come up with $10,000, perhaps. The United States wasn’t about to pay one dollar. But we would allow a payment to be made if it could be run as a “sting” operation. (Location 1477)

If we could draw Sabaya into an offer-counteroffer bargaining situation, we had a bargaining system that worked every time. We could beat him down to where we wanted him, get the hostage out, and set up the “sting.” (Location 1478)

negotiation between colleagues who disagree on a strategy. Before you convince them to see what you’re trying to accomplish, you have to say the things to them that will get them to say, “That’s right.” (Location 1507)

I decided that in order to break through this phase we needed to reposition Sabaya with his own words in a way that would dissolve barriers. We needed to get him to say, “That’s right.” At the time, I didn’t know for sure what kind of breakthrough it was going to give us. I just knew we needed to trust the process. (Location 1517)

  1. Summarize: A good summary is the combination of rearticulating the meaning of what is said plus the acknowledgment of the emotions underlying that meaning (paraphrasing + labeling = summary). (Location 1529)

“That’s right” signaled that negotiations could proceed from deadlock. It broke down a barrier that was impeding progress. (Location 1550)

every time we got the worst possible answer—“You’re right.” He agreed, in theory, but he didn’t own the conclusion. (Location 1567)

The moment you’ve convinced someone that you truly understand her dreams and feelings (the whole world that she inhabits), mental and behavioral change becomes possible, and the foundation for a breakthrough has been laid. (Location 1656)

Humans have an innate urge toward socially constructive behavior. (Location 1659)

# How to Shape What Is Fair

There’s always leverage. Negotiation is never a linear formula: add X to Y to get Z. We all have irrational blind spots, hidden needs, and undeveloped notions. (Location 1686)

Once you understand that subterranean world of unspoken needs and thoughts, you’ll discover a universe of variables that can be leveraged to change your counterpart’s needs and expectations. (Location 1688)

compromise—“splitting the difference”—can lead to terrible outcomes. Compromise is often a “bad deal” and a key theme we’ll hit in this chapter is that “no deal is better than a bad deal.” (Location 1698)

The real problem with compromise is that it has come to be known as this great concept, in relationships and politics and everything else. (Location 1706)

Most people in a negotiation are driven by fear or by the desire to avoid pain. Too few are driven by their actual goals. (Location 1712)

Deadlines regularly make people say and do impulsive things that are against their best interests, because we all have a natural tendency to rush as a deadline approaches. What good negotiators do is force themselves to resist this urge and take advantage of it in others. (Location 1719)

When the negotiation is over for one side, it’s over for the other too. (Location 1766)

hiding a deadline means you’re negotiating with yourself, and you always lose when you do so. (Location 1772)

They assumed the other guy would reason just like them. “If you approach a negotiation thinking that the other guy thinks like you, you’re wrong,” I say. “That’s not empathy; that’s projection.” (Location 1790)

We’re all irrational, all emotional. Emotion is a necessary element to decision making that we ignore at our own peril. (Location 1796)

Studying people who had damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated, he found that they all had something peculiar in common: They couldn’t make decisions. They could describe what they should do in logical terms, but they found it impossible to make even the simplest choice. (Location 1799)

Most people make an irrational choice to let the dollar slip through their fingers rather than to accept a derisory offer, because the negative emotional value of unfairness outweighs the positive rational value of the money. (Location 1810)

rejecting perceived unfairness, even at substantial cost, is a powerful motivation. (Location 1830)

defensiveness and discomfort. These feelings are often subconscious and often lead to an irrational concession. (Location 1836)

As a negotiator, you should strive for a reputation of being fair. Your reputation precedes you. (Location 1859)

If you can get the other party to reveal their problems, pain, and unmet objectives—if you can get at what people are really buying—then you can sell them a vision of their problem that leaves your proposal as the perfect solution. (Location 1863)

while our decisions may be largely irrational, that doesn’t mean there aren’t consistent patterns, principles, and rules behind how we act. (Location 1881)

The theory argues that people are drawn to sure things over probabilities, even when the probability is a better choice. That’s called the Certainty Effect. And people will take greater risks to avoid losses than to achieve gains. That’s called Loss Aversion. (Location 1884)

lesson about loss aversion: In a tough negotiation, it’s not enough to show the other party that you can deliver the thing they want. To get real leverage, you have to persuade them that they have something concrete to lose if the deal falls through. (Location 1892)

To bend your counterpart’s reality, you have to start with the basics of empathy. So start out with an accusation audit acknowledging all of their fears. By anchoring their emotions in preparation for a loss, you inflame the other side’s loss aversion so that they’ll jump at the chance to avoid it. (Location 1894)

Lucky for Chandler, Wilder and the producer valued their relationship with Chandler more than a few hundred dollars, so they took pity on him and called an agent to represent Chandler in the negotiations. (Location 1917)

you’ve got to be careful when you let the other guy anchor. You have to prepare yourself psychically to withstand the first offer. If the other guy’s a pro, a shark, he’s going to go for an extreme anchor in order to bend your reality. (Location 1928)

your reputation precedes you. (Location 1938)

“bolstering range,” in which the low number in the range was what they actually wanted. (Location 1949)

if you offer a range (and it’s a good idea to do so) expect them to come in at the low end. (Location 1950)

stimulate my counterpart’s brainstorming to see what valuable nonmonetary gems they might have that are cheap to them but valuable to me. (Location 1962)


numbers that end in 0 inevitably feel like temporary placeholders, guesstimates that you can easily be negotiated off of. (Location 1966)

People feel obliged to repay debts of kindness. (Location 1973)

Pleasant persistence is a kind of emotional anchoring that creates empathy with the boss and builds the right psychological environment for constructive discussion. (Location 2002)

Once you’ve negotiated a salary, make sure to define success for your position—as well as metrics for your next raise. (Location 2009)

when you are selling yourself to a manager, sell yourself as more than a body for a job; sell yourself, and your success, as a way they can validate their own intelligence and broadcast it to the rest of the company. Make sure they know you’ll act as a flesh-and-blood argument for their importance. (Location 2013)

Ask: “What does it take to be successful here?” Please notice that this question is similar to questions that are suggested by many MBA career counseling centers, yet not exactly the same. And it’s the exact wording of this question that’s critical. Students from my MBA courses who have asked this question in job interviews have actually had interviewers lean forward and say, “No one ever asked us that before.” The interviewer then gave a great and detailed answer. The key issue here is if someone gives you guidance, they will watch to see if you follow their advice. They will have a personal stake in seeing you succeed. You’ve just recruited your first unofficial mentor. (Location 2016)

these tools are used by all the best negotiators because they simply recognize the human psyche as it is. We are emotional, irrational beasts who are emotional and irrational in predictable, pattern-filled ways. (Location 2052)

When your counterpart drops the F-bomb, don’t get suckered into a concession. Instead, ask them to explain how you’re mistreating them. (Location 2061)

# How to Calibrate Questions to Transform Conflict into Collaboration

failures plant the seeds of future success, and our failure in the Philippines was no exception. (Location 2080)

As my disappointment with Dos Palmas forced me to reckon with our failed techniques, I took a deep look into the newest negotiating theories (Location 2083)

We learned that negotiation was coaxing, not overcoming; co-opting, not defeating. Most important, we learned that successful negotiation involved getting your counterpart to do the work for you and suggest your solution himself. It involved giving him the illusion of control while you, in fact, were the one defining the conversation. (Location 2086)

If your negotiation efforts don’t reach past your counterpart and into the team behind him, then you’ve got a “hope”-based deal—and hope is not a strategy. (Location 2122)

There is some information that you can only get through direct, extended interactions with your counterpart. (Location 2168)

I realized that what we had been doing wasn’t communication; it was verbal flexing. We wanted them to see things our way and they wanted us to see it their way. If you let this dynamic loose in the real world, negotiation breaks down and tensions flare. (Location 2171)

all negotiation, done well, should be an information-gathering process that vests your counterpart in an outcome that serves you. (Location 2181)

Instead of asking some closed-ended question with a single correct answer, he’d asked an open-ended, yet calibrated one that forced the other guy to pause and actually think about how to solve the problem. (Location 2202)

Our job as persuaders is easier than we think. It’s not to get others believing what we say. It’s just to stop them unbelieving. (Location 2215)

Giving your counterpart the illusion of control by asking calibrated questions—by asking for help—is one of the most powerful tools for suspending unbelief. (Location 2218)

an old Washington Post editor named Robert Estabrook once said, “He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.” (Location 2229)

Her client would hear the words and not the implication as long as she kept calm and avoided making it sound by her delivery like an accusation or threat. As long as she stayed cool, they would hear it as a problem to be solved. (Location 2246)

Like the softening words and phrases “perhaps,” “maybe,” “I think,” and “it seems,” the calibrated open-ended question takes the aggression out of a confrontational statement or close-ended request that might otherwise anger your counterpart. What makes them work is that they are subject to interpretation by your counterpart instead of being rigidly defined. (Location 2255)

Calibrated questions have the power to educate your counterpart on what the problem is rather than causing conflict by telling them what the problem is. (Location 2260)

it’s best to start with “what,” “how,” and sometimes “why.” (Location 2270)

The only time you can use “why” successfully is when the defensiveness that is created supports the change you are trying to get them to see. (Location 2273)

You should use calibrated questions early and often, and there are a few that you will find that you will use in the beginning of nearly every negotiation. “What is the biggest challenge you face?” is one of those questions. (Location 2282)

he sat back in his chair and brought the top of his fingers and thumbs together in the shape of a steeple. Generally this is a body language that means the person feels superior and in charge. (Location 2306)

The very first thing I talk about when I’m training new negotiators is the critical importance of self-control. If you can’t control your own emotions, how can you expect to influence the emotions of another party? (Location 2313)

He was also a male chauvinist who didn’t like the assertive style in which the strategist, a woman, conducted herself. (Location 2317)

A “No”-oriented email question to reinitiate contact: “Have you given up on settling this amicably?” (Location 2326)

The first and most basic rule of keeping your emotional cool is to bite your tongue. Not literally, of course. But you have to keep away from knee-jerk, passionate reactions. Pause. Think. Let the passion dissipate. That allows you to collect your thoughts and be more circumspect in what you say. It also lowers your chance of saying more than you want to. (Location 2346)

when you are verbally assaulted, do not counterattack. Instead, disarm your counterpart by asking a calibrated question. (Location 2352)

when people feel that they are not in control, they adopt what psychologists call a hostage mentality. That is, in moments of conflict they react to their lack of power by either becoming extremely defensive or lashing out. (Location 2354)

Neurologically, in situations like this the fight-or-flight mechanism in the reptilian brain or the emotions in the limbic system overwhelm the rational part of our mind, the neocortex, leading us to overreact in an impulsive, instinctive way. In a negotiation, like in the one between my client and the CEO, this always produces a negative outcome. So we have to train our neocortex to override the emotions from the other two brains. (Location 2356)

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. (Location 2372)

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. (Location 2376)

# How to Spot the Liars and Ensure Follow-Through from Everyone Else

a negotiator isn’t just to get to an agreement. It’s getting to one that can be implemented and making sure that happens. Negotiators have to be decision architects: they have to dynamically and adaptively design the verbal and nonverbal elements of the negotiation to gain both consent and execution. “Yes” is nothing without “How.” (Location 2405)

A gentle How/No invites collaboration and leaves your counterpart with a feeling of having been treated with respect. (Location 2465)

This question tends to have the positive effect of making the other side take a good look at your situation. This positive dynamic is what I refer to as “forced empathy,” (Location 2472)

There are two key questions you can ask to push your counterparts to think they are defining success their way: “How will we know we’re on track?” and “How will we address things if we find we’re off track?” When they answer, you summarize their answers until you get a “That’s right.” (Location 2490)

I’d gone there to do what CNU referred to as a hostage survival debriefing. (Location 2504)

The larger concept I’m explaining here is that in any negotiation you have to analyze the entire negotiation space. (Location 2521)

A surprisingly high percentage of negotiations hinge on something outside dollars and cents, often having more to do with self-esteem, status, and other nonfinancial needs. (Location 2536)

There is great power in treating jerks with deference. It gives you the ability to be extremely assertive—to say “No”—in a hidden fashion. (Location 2570)

UCLA psychology professor Albert Mehrabian created the 7-38-55 rule. That is, only 7 percent of a message is based on the words while 38 percent comes from the tone of voice and 55 percent from the speaker’s body language and face. (Location 2592)

pay very close attention to tone and body language to make sure they match up with the literal meaning of the words. If they don’t align, it’s quite possible that the speaker is lying or at least unconvinced. When someone’s tone of voice or body language does not align with the meaning of the words they say, use labels to discover the source of the incongruence. (Location 2597)

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. (Location 2613)

In a study of the components of lying, 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 (Location 2627)

Conversely, the harder it is to get a first person pronoun out of a negotiator’s mouth, the more important they are. (Location 2636)

in a negotiation, smart decision makers don’t want to be cornered at the table into making a decision. They will defer to the people away from the table to keep from getting pinned down. (Location 2638)

using your own name creates the dynamic of “forced empathy.” It makes the other side see you as a person. (Location 2648)

Humanize yourself. Use your name to introduce yourself. Say it in a fun, friendly way. Let them enjoy the interaction, too. And get your own special price. (Location 2663)

The “I’m sorry” also softens the “No” and builds empathy. (Location 2674)

If there’s one way to put off your counterpart, it’s by implying that disagreeing with you is unfair. (Location 2708)

The art of closing a deal is staying focused to the very end. There are crucial points at the finale when you must draw on your mental discipline. Don’t think about what time the last flight leaves, or what it would be like to get home early and play golf. Do not let your mind wander. Remain focused. (Location 2726)

Superstar negotiators—real rainmakers—know that a negotiation is a playing field beneath the words, where really getting to a good deal involves detecting and manipulating subtle, nonobvious signals beneath the surface. It is only by visualizing and modifying these subsurface issues that you can craft a great deal and make sure that it is implemented. (Location 2737)

Humor and humanity are the best ways to break the ice and remove roadblocks. (Location 2757)

# How to Get Your Price

Any response that’s not an outright rejection of your offer means you have the edge. (Location 2779)

No part of a negotiation induces more anxiety and unfocused aggression than bargaining, which is why it’s the part that is more often fumbled and mishandled than any other. (Location 2797)

Skilled bargainers see more than just opening offers, counteroffers, and closing moves. They see the psychological currents that run below the surface. (Location 2803)

Your personal negotiation style—and that of your counterpart—is formed through childhood, schooling, family, culture, and a million other factors; by recognizing it you can identify your negotiating strengths and weaknesses (and those of your counterpart) and adjust your mindset and strategies accordingly. (Location 2819)

It’s flat-out overwhelming, so much so that it loses its utility. (Location 2826)

people fall into three broad categories. Some people are Accommodators; others—like me—are basically Assertive; and the rest are data-loving Analysts. (Location 2828)

Blunt assertion is actually counterproductive most of the time. (Location 2834)

one basic truth about a successful bargaining style: To be good, you have to learn to be yourself at the bargaining table. To be great you have to add to your strengths, not replace them. (Location 2836)

Analysts pride themselves on not missing any details in their extensive preparation. (Location 2845)

If you’re an analyst you should be worried about cutting yourself off from an essential source of data, your counterpart. The single biggest thing you can do is to smile when you speak. People will be more forthcoming with information to you as a result. (Location 2858)

each of these groups views the importance of time differently (time = preparation; time = relationship; time = money). They also have completely different interpretations of silence. (Location 2897)

thinking you’re normal is one of the most damaging assumptions in negotiations. With it, we unconsciously project our own style on the other side. But with three types of negotiators in the world, (Location 2909)

The Black Swan rule is don’t treat others the way you want to be treated; treat them the way they need to be treated. (I’ve got a complementary PDF available that will help you identify your type and that of those around you. Please visit http://info (Location 2916)

You need to disabuse yourself of that notion. In a real bargaining session, kick-ass negotiators don’t use ZOPA. Experienced negotiators often lead with a ridiculous offer, an extreme anchor. (Location 2923)

Letting your counterpart anchor first will give you a tremendous feel for him. All you need to learn is how to take the first punch. (Location 2941)

faking it—backfire, leading to intractable demands and destroying trust. For anger to be effective, it has to be real, the key for it is to be under control because anger also reduces our cognitive ability. (Location 2974)

In studies by Columbia University academics Daniel Ames and Abbie Wazlawek, people on the receiving end of strategic umbrage were more likely to rate themselves as overassertive, even when the counterpart didn’t think so. (Location 2978)

Threats delivered without anger but with “poise”—that is, confidence and self-control—are great tools. (Location 2982)

another way to use “Why?” effectively. The idea is to employ the defensiveness the question triggers to get your counterpart to defend your position. (Location 2989)

But be careful with the big “I”: You have to be mindful not to use a tone that is aggressive or creates an argument. It’s got to be cool and level. (Location 3000)

no deal is better than a bad deal. If you feel you can’t say “No” then you’ve taken yourself hostage. Once you’re clear on what your bottom line is, you have to be willing to walk away. Never be needy for a deal. (Location 3002)

important it is to maintain a collaborative relationship even when you’re setting boundaries. Your response must always be expressed in the form of strong, yet empathic, limit-setting boundaries—that is, tough love—not as hatred or violence. (Location 3004)

In any bare-knuckle bargaining session, the most vital principle to keep in mind is never to look at your counterpart as an enemy. (Location 3007)

The person across the table is never the problem. The unsolved issue is. So focus on the issue. (Location 3008)

Our culture demonizes people in movies and politics, which creates the mentality that if we only got rid of the person then everything would be okay. (Location 3009)

Punching back is a last resort. Before you go there, I always suggest an attempt at de-escalating the situation. Suggest a time-out. (Location 3011)

Taking a positive, constructive approach to conflict involves understanding that the bond is fundamental to any resolution. Never create an enemy. (Location 3016)

people getting concessions often feel better about the bargaining process than those who are given a single firm, “fair” offer. (Location 3051)

If you feel in control of a negotiation, you can do two or three moves at a time. Don’t let the rules ruin the flow. (Location 3087)

Top negotiators know, however, that conflict is often the path to great deals. And the best find ways to actually have fun engaging in it. Conflict brings out truth, creativity, and resolution. (Location 3114)

When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion; you fall to your highest level of preparation. (Location 3118)

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. (Location 3125)

# How to Create Breakthroughs by Revealing the Unknown Unknowns

Negotiation breakthroughs—when the game shifts inalterably in your favor—are created by those who can identify and utilize Black Swans. (Location 3148)

those things we don’t know that we don’t know, pieces of information we’ve never imagined but that would be game changing if uncovered. Maybe our counterpart wants the deal to fail because he’s leaving for a competitor. These unknown unknowns are Black Swans. (Location 3177)

when bits and pieces of a case don’t add up it’s usually because our frames of reference are off; they will never add up unless we break free of our expectations. (Location 3202)

Finding and acting on Black Swans mandates a shift in your mindset. It takes negotiation from being a one-dimensional move-countermove game of checkers to a three-dimensional game that’s more emotional, adaptive, intuitive . . . and truly effective. (Location 3214)

Don’t look to verify what you expect. If you do, that’s what you’ll find. Instead, you must open yourself up to the factual reality that is in front of you. (Location 3232)

Concentrate on the next step because the rope will lead you to the end as long as all the steps are completed. (Location 3236)

Your counterpart always has pieces of information whose value they do not understand. (Location 3239)

In practice, where our irrational perceptions are our reality, loss and gain are slippery notions, and it often doesn’t matter what leverage actually exists against you; what really matters is the leverage they think you have on them. (Location 3246)

As a negotiator you should always be aware of which side, at any given moment, feels they have the most to lose if negotiations collapse. The party who feels they have more to lose and are the most afraid of that loss has less leverage, and vice versa. (Location 3256)

Threats can be like nuclear bombs. There will be a toxic residue that will be difficult to clean up. You have to handle the potential of negative consequences with care, or you will hurt yourself and poison or blow up the whole process. (Location 3285)

If you shove your negative leverage down your counterpart’s throat, it might be perceived as you taking away their autonomy. People will often sooner die than give up their autonomy. They’ll at least act irrationally and shut off the negotiation. (Location 3287)

Every person has a set of rules and a moral framework. (Location 3292)

If you can show inconsistencies between their beliefs and their actions, you have normative leverage. (Location 3294)

Discovering the Black Swans that give you normative valuation can be as easy as asking what your counterpart believes and listening openly. You want to see what language they speak, and speak it back to them. (Location 3296)

There is the visible negotiation and then all the things that are hidden under the surface (the secret negotiation space wherein the Black Swans dwell). Access to this hidden space very often comes through understanding the other side’s worldview, their reason for being, their religion. (Location 3316)

By positioning your demands within the worldview your counterpart uses to make decisions, you show them respect and that gets you attention and results. (Location 3351)

two tips for reading religion correctly: ■ Review everything you hear. You will not hear everything the first time, so double-check. Compare notes with your team members. You will often discover new information that will help you advance the negotiation. ■ Use backup listeners whose only job is to listen between the lines. They will hear things you miss. (Location 3362)

we trust people more when we view them as being similar or familiar. (Location 3370)

People trust those who are in their in-group. Belonging is a primal instinct. (Location 3370)

We’re all hungry for a map to joy, and when someone is courageous enough to draw it for us, we naturally follow. (Location 3393)

Research studies have shown that people respond favorably to requests made in a reasonable tone of voice and followed with a “because” reason. (Location 3399)

It’s not human nature to embrace the unknown. It scares us. When we are confronted by it, we ignore it, we run away, or we label it in ways that allow us to dismiss it. In negotiations, that label most often takes the form of the statement, “They’re crazy!” (Location 3409)

But the moment when we’re most ready to throw our hands up and declare “They’re crazy!” is often the best moment for discovering Black Swans that transform a negotiation. (Location 3420)

In their great book Negotiation Genius, Harvard Business School professors Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman provide a look at the common reasons negotiators mistakenly call their counterparts crazy. (Location 3424)

Often the other side is acting on bad information, and when people have bad information they make bad choices. There’s a great computer industry term for this: GIGO—Garbage In, Garbage Out. (Location 3427)

people operating with incomplete information appear crazy to those who have different information. (Location 3437)

In any negotiation where your counterpart is acting wobbly, there exists a distinct possibility that they have things they can’t do but aren’t eager to reveal. (Location 3440)

when you recognize that your counterpart is not irrational, but simply ill-informed, constrained, or obeying interests that you do not yet know, your field of movement greatly expands. (Location 3465)

Black Swans are incredibly hard to uncover if you’re not literally at the table. (Location 3468)

During a typical business meeting, the first few minutes, before you actually get down to business, and the last few moments, as everyone is leaving, often tell you more about the other side than anything in between. (Location 3490)

pay close attention to your counterpart during interruptions, odd exchanges, or anything that interrupts the flow. When someone breaks ranks, people’s façades crack just a little. Simply noticing whose cracks and how others respond verbally and nonverbally can reveal a gold mine. (Location 3493)

Families are just an extreme version of all parts of humanity, from government to business. (Location 3557)

Except for a few naturals, everyone hates negotiation at first. (Location 3557)

The natural first impulse for most of us is to chicken out, throw in the towel, run. The mere idea of tossing out an extreme anchor is traumatic. That’s why wimp-win deals are the norm in the kitchen and in the boardroom. (Location 3559)

a few trigger-happy neurons firing because of something more base: our innate human desire to get along with other members of the tribe. (Location 3563)

If this book accomplishes only one thing, I hope it gets you over that fear of conflict and encourages you to navigate it with empathy. If you’re going to be great at anything—a great negotiator, a great manager, a great husband, a great wife—you’re going to have to do that. You’re going to have to ignore that little genie who’s telling you to give up, to just get along—as well as that other genie who’s telling you to lash out and yell. (Location 3565)

You’re going to have to embrace regular, thoughtful conflict as the basis of effective negotiation—and of life. (Location 3568)

Please remember that our emphasis throughout the book is that the adversary is the situation and that the person that you appear to be in conflict with is actually your partner. (Location 3569)

genuine, honest conflict between people over their goals actually helps energize the problem-solving process in a collaborative way. Skilled negotiators have a talent for using conflict to keep the negotiation going without stumbling into a personal battle. (Location 3570)

Whether it’s in the office or around the family dinner table, don’t avoid honest, clear conflict. (Location 3582)

One can only be an exceptional negotiator, and a great person, by both listening and speaking clearly and empathetically; by treating counterparts—and oneself—with dignity and respect; and most of all by being honest about what one wants and what one can—and cannot—do. (Location 3584)

Black Swans are leverage multipliers. Remember the three types of leverage: positive (the ability to give someone what they want); negative (the ability to hurt someone); and normative (using your counterpart’s norms to bring them around). (Location 3596)

Get face time with your counterpart. Ten minutes of face time often reveals more than days of research. Pay special attention to your counterpart’s verbal and nonverbal communication at unguarded moments—at the beginning and the end of the session or when someone says something out of line. (Location 3605)


Negotiation is a psychological investigation. (Location 3649)

When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion—you fall to your highest level of preparation. (Location 3652)

Based on my company’s experiences, I believe that good initial preparation for each negotiation yields at least a 7:1 rate of return on time saved renegotiating deals or clarifying implementation. (Location 3657)

In the entertainment industry, they have a single document that summarizes a product for publicity and sales that they call a “one sheet.” (Location 3658)

humans have a limited capacity for keeping focus in complex, stressful situations like negotiations. And so, once a negotiation is under way, we tend to gravitate toward the focus point that has the most psychological significance for us. (Location 3671)

many people who think they have “win-win” goals really have a “wimp-win” mentality. The “wimp-win” negotiator focuses on his or her bottom line, and that’s where they end up. (Location 3676)

never be so sure of what you want that you wouldn’t take something better. Once you’ve got flexibility in the forefront of your mind you come into a negotiation with a winning mindset. (Location 3681)

Decades of goal-setting research is clear that people who set specific, challenging, but realistic goals end up getting better deals than those who don’t set goals or simply strive to do their best. (Location 3688)