Brandon Voss

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

3 Guaranteed Ways to Increase Your Communication Success

By Brandon Voss | September 10, 2020

This blog was originally published on 11/23/2015 and updated on 9/10/2020.

Everyone is always looking to increase their chances of success. It’s simply human nature to want to do everything you can to avoid failure.

At The Black Swan Group, we help people like you get better outcomes by learning how to communicate more effectively.

With that in mind, let’s explore three different ways you can improve your communication skills—and increase the chances you succeed.

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Negotiation Skills Training: The Key to Disarming The Attack

By Brandon Voss | September 03, 2020

This blog was originally published on 7/23/2018 and updated on 9/3/2020.

When you go into a negotiation that is likely to be combative, there are strategies you can adopt to overcome those points of contention.

Most of these strategies involve ignoring your natural inclinations to right the wrongs, explain the why, and promise to make sure your counterpart won’t have to experience the irritation ever again.

Keep reading to learn five strategies you can use to disarm the attack.

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How to Be More Persuasive Over Email

By Brandon Voss | August 20, 2020

This blog was originally published on 10/29/2018 and updated on 8/20/2020.

Most people have mixed feelings about email. 

On one hand, email allows us to instantly communicate with people around the world much more efficiently than sending a carrier pigeon. On the other, email can be incredibly overwhelming. One recent study, for example, found that the average U.S. worker spends nearly six hours each day checking their email.

Six hours!

(To be fair, that breaks down to 209 minutes on work email and 143 minutes on personal email. It turns out we’re not always focused on our responsibilities when we’re in the office. Who knew?)

The fact that email is a text-based form of communication is both its biggest asset and its greatest drawback. Unlike having a face-to-face conversation with an in-person human being, email is a blank slate. Though we can get our words across, it’s harder to convey our tone of voice and the nonverbal cues that are a critical component of constructive communication.

This makes email a very efficient communications tool—but also one that leaves a minefield of potential miscommunications.

In business, most emails are a form of negotiation. We ask someone to read our message and respond in a certain way or take a certain action within a specific time frame. 

To help you get better results, here are six tips that can help you be more persuasive over email.

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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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