Brandon Voss

Brandon Voss is the President of 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

How to Develop Your Mindset Before a Negotiation

By Brandon Voss | August 10, 2020

In a previous post, we outlined the important role mindset—the set of attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions that governs your behavior—plays in negotiation.

When you head into a negotiation expecting that there won’t be any issues, you’ll be knocked off balance when issues invariably rear their ugly head.

On the other hand, when you head into a negotiation expecting that there will be issues, you’ve come in with the proper mindset for navigating whatever obstacles arise with agility and dexterity.

Understanding the importance of mindset is one thing. Knowing how to develop your mindset before a negotiation is quite another. With that in mind, here are four steps that can help you get into the right frame of mind before you sit down at the table.

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How Your Mindset Affects Negotiation

By Brandon Voss | August 03, 2020

Your mindset affects everything in a negotiation. It governs how you act, how you speak, and how you react to what the other side says. That’s why it’s so important to have the right mindset whenever you sit down at the table.

If you go into a negotiation determined to make the communication about them, you’re going to crush it. If you go in with the mentality that you’re going to be happy no matter what, you won’t be depressed regardless of what happens.

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How Little Can You Give and Still Get What You Want?

By Brandon Voss | July 27, 2020

Most people head into a negotiation figuring out what they need to compromise on. They do their best to try and determine what little material thing they need to give up in order to get what they want.

That approach is based on compromising your position—selling out in the moment to get some sort of short or long-term gain.

Contrary to what many people think, the fact of the matter is that you don’t have to give up much of anything to get what you want in a negotiation. And what you do have to give up is something intangible, which comes in the form of empathy.

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How To Get Buy-In With The 3 Most Effective Communication Techniques

By Brandon Voss | July 16, 2020

This blog was originally published on 03/6/2017 and updated on 7/16/2020.

Negotiation is an information-gathering process. It’s not about getting your points across. It’s about using Tactical Empathy™ to uncover the information you need to understand exactly where your counterpart is coming from—and then making sure they know that you understand them.

The best negotiators never sit down at the table hoping to get the other side to understand them. Just like Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests, “Seek to understand before being understood.” 

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How to Negotiate with Someone You Care About

By Brandon Voss | July 06, 2020

Maybe a parent is negotiating with their kid about whether they can use the car this weekend. Maybe you’re in a 10-year business partnership and have divergent ideas for the future. Or maybe you’re an adult who’s negotiating with your parents because you think they should consider a move into a senior living community.

How should you change your approach when you negotiate with someone you care about?

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3 Communication and Negotiation Skills You Should Master

By Brandon Voss | June 15, 2020

Whether your goal is closing more deals, enhancing personal relationships, or simply having better conversations, improving your communication and negotiation skills will help.

In an ideal world, you’d become familiar with all of the popular negotiation terms we teach at The Black Swan Group. But if time is of the essence, get started by sharpening these three skills first.

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Plan of Action to Improve Negotiation and Communication Skills

By Brandon Voss | June 08, 2020

In order to improve your negotiation and communication skills, you need to decide to make the change in the first place. Being called upon to make the deals that no one else can make starts with changing the way you approach every negotiation.

When you’ve made the decision to consciously change your approach, follow this simple four-step plan of action to improve your negotiation skills and make the best deals possible.

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Crisis Negotiation: 4 Mistakes to Avoid

By Brandon Voss | June 01, 2020

In an ideal world, negotiation would be easy, tensions wouldn’t exist, and we’d all get along at the table just fine.

But reality paints a different picture, and crisis negotiations rear their ugly head sooner or later. Think about how many people have had to sit down at the table to figure out how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past several weeks.

Though crisis negotiations are inevitable, you can avoid making critical mistakes if you have the right approach. 

With that in mind, here are four common crisis negotiation mistakes—and what you can do to find the better way forward.

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Try This Body Language Technique in Your Next Negotiation

By Brandon Voss | May 04, 2020

Nonverbal cues and body language play a crucial role in negotiations. For example, many of us nod our heads yes to show the other side we agree with what they’re saying, and we shake our heads no to get the other side to pause and reflect.

For many of us, thinking about body language stops here. But the more conscious you are about using body language as a tool in negotiations, the more effective your efforts will be.

Here’s one body language negotiation technique to try next time you find yourself at the table: Lean forward toward your counterpart and turn your head to show them that you are trying to listen more intently by facing your ear in their direction. 

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The Right Way to Use Leverage in a Negotiation

By Brandon Voss | March 02, 2020

There’s a fundamental mindset problem with trying to gain negotiation leverage: You’re trying to take advantage of the other side or the situation at hand to the detriment of your counterparts.

The reality is that the other side can feel it when you’re trying to leverage your position. It’s very apparent. No matter how slick you think you are, it’s no secret. The other side will always pick up on the fact that you’re trying to use leverage on them, and they won’t like it.

Do you really think people are going to be happy working with you knowing that you’re trying to take advantage of where they’re sitting?

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