Book Review: Never Split the Difference
On Tom's recommendation, I picked up a copy of Never Split the Difference, by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz. Chris is an expert in the art and science of hostage negotiations. Much of the techniques can be applied to any negotiation. The following are some of my notes:
- Active Listening – In any negotiation, it is important to focus on listening, which is a learned skill. Active listening involves removing any "response" thoughts from your head, and instead focusing on both what the person is saying and the underlying feeling. This may have been one of the greatest skills I learned when attending graduate school for marriage and family therapy. Many of the ideas Chris discusses is taken right from the field of psychotherapy.
- Mirroring, Silence, Late-night DJ Voice – These concepts help a negotiator because it allows the negotiator to "join" and gain the party's trust. Mirroring refers to reflecting the summary of what the party has said. Silence means that if you keep quiet, often the other party will fill the silence with other valuable information. The "late night DJ voice" refers to setting a vocal tone to again allow the party to trust and feel comfortable with you.
- Tactical Empathy – I'm not as much of a fan of this chapter, partly because "tactical empathy" implies using empathy as leverage, which in a way, it is. In this chapter, the author discusses the concepts of labeling and accusation audits as a way to beat someone to the punch about why they may not want to work with you. It's a way of trying to shut down "no" before the negotiation begins.
- Make a person feel understood – This too is related to active of reflective listening. Summarizing back to the person, using phrases like "that's right" to side with the person.
- Get to "No" – You do not want to shut down a negotiation by essentially saying "no". Instead, saying something like, "How can I do that?" ellicits a partnership with the person so they may lower price etc. to help you find room for agreement.
I have a whole bunch of other notes, but a nice summary can also be found from a Time article. As someone who does not have a sales background, I think some of these techniques are helpful to balance our desire to help others along with a desire to create win-win solutions for all parties. Tell us your thoughts at @gumshoeonline