Blog: The Negotiation Edge

Brandon Voss

Brandon Voss is the Director of Operations and an Instructor/Consultant with The Black Swan Group. Brandon has been instrumental in adapting the FBI’s hostage negotiation techniques to the business world. In addition to training clients, Brandon has guest lectured at USC Marshall School of Business and Georgetown McDonough School of Business.
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Recent Posts

Why Your Logic Isn't Important In Negotiation

We all like to think that we have a certain amount of logic, some more than others, especially when it comes to making decisions that have a serious impact on our future – like in negotiation for example.

Why Assumptions Should Be A Hypothesis

One of the biggest problems we see in negotiation begins during the process of preparation.  Of course we all know preparation is important but “how you prepare” and “what for” are equally, if not even more important.

What Makes You Think Your "Yes" Is Real?

 Yes is a very tricky concept, especially when put it into the negotiation context.  First of all, there are 3 types of “yes” – Confirmation, Commitment & Counterfeit – (the 3 ways to “C” yes) as it were.  Now while we do not ever advocate aiming for a “yes” or trying to force agreement through “yes”, there will be times when you have to deal with it.  Here are the two major ways to handle “yes”.

The Alternative to "Tell Me More"

My last article in The Edge called “The Problem with Tell Me More” left a few people asking “What do you say instead?”.  This article is meant to give some insight on how to change your approach and make your communication efforts more influential.  You can also find out more about the ideas I am going to share here, in Chris’s book “Never Split the Difference” Chapter 7.

The Problem with "Tell Me More"

Whether or not you realize it we have all used “tell me more” when questioning someone about a topic we want to know more about. More often than not our intentions are inquisitive and open-ended but we forget that the simplest definition of an open-ended question is one that cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no”. Unfortunately at times our desire to know more gets in the way of the mission to be collaborative.

Better Than Why - "What Makes You Ask?"

People will always ask you questions in a negotiation. When it is important to find out the reasoning for their question asking "Why" or flat out answering is not the best solution. Use "What makes you ask?" instead. 

3 Phrases You Need to Eliminate from Your Negotiations

Increase your communication success by eliminating these 3 bad communication habits that naturally trigger a negative human response. 

“Ignore human nature at your own peril” is one of our basic negotiation approaches.  It is also why our skills are so effective.  In any given situation people have a tendency to react instinctively simply because they are people.   When you are backed into a corner, especially when you have skin in the game, you are going to react based off of instinct.  People are emotionally driven.  If you can determine what emotion is driving them at a given time then their behavior becomes imminently predictable, which allows you to orient your communication approach.

4 Shocking Signs You Need Negotiation Training

Many people think they can already negotiate.  Maybe you have gotten over on a car salesman.  Maybe you or someone you work with consistently makes seemingly good deals because you know you have all the leverage.  Better yet you pride yourself on collecting yes’s and you’re rights, but for some reason you keep having to go over the same thing with the same people.

Unsophisticated Negotiation: Taking the Hard Line

A common misconception about negotiation is that the best course of action is to take a hard line with someone.  Use logic to express that what you want is the right path.  Be ready for objections and turn them back around on your counterpart.

3 Ways to Train Yourself to be the Best Negotiator

If you have a competitive side you understand what it means to work at constantly improving.  The best business people are always striving to be better and good training is essential. Here are 3 ideas to embrace as you train to be the best negotiator.