By Chris Voss with Tahl Raz
Negotiating is often an emotional process that feels like it is “me against them.” Chris Voss makes the argument that it is more about understanding the other person first and to leave emotions out of it. It’s not that the other person is bad, it is the “situation” that is the conflict in negotiation.
I was surprised at how many coaching / counseling principles fit into his thinking. Listening first and listening really hard to understand. Using silence to get the other person talking more. (Brain-based research says we need to be talking less than 20% of the time with our clients). Mirroring (or reflecting) what a person says is a great tool for getting the person to continue talking. And the “magic” of open-ended questions which help keep you from saying “no” or having them say “no” first.
I also could not help but think about the importance of Emotional Intelligence as well throughout this book. Although written from an FBI Hostage team negotiator when the stakes were VERY high, there were lots of tidbits that could help career service providers when working with clients to negotiate contracts. He describes how you want to be looking for the “Black Swan” in the person’s story… i.e. what is different about this situation? What are the reasons / arguments for the other side?
Once you understand where the other side is coming from, then you can use labels and calibrated questions to get them to understand your side with the intent that they will move to your side…and you won’t have to “split the difference” and hopefully you will get what you want in the process as they talk themselves into understanding you.
His stories of dealing with some real bad people made this at times feel pretty “hard ball” which is not my style, but the lessons are still there.