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

5 Effective Communication Techniques for Managing People

By Brandon Voss | January 14, 2019

There’s no shortage of bad managers in the world. Most of them aren’t inherently evil people—they’re simply poor communicators. Being an effective leader and earning the respect of your colleagues comes down to honing your communication and emotional intelligence (EQ) skills more than any other attribute. No matter what your industry or your job title is, if you manage people, these five communication & EQ techniques are essential to your success.

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Mastering the Art of First and Last Impressions

By Brandon Voss | December 31, 2018

Although first impressions don’t always stick, they do inform how much time, attention, and trust you earn right off the bat. On average, first impressions are solidified in just seven seconds. In a high-stakes or high-stress situation, that tiny window may be the only opportunity you have to start a conversation. Whether you’re cold-calling a prospect or conducting an FBI hostage negotiation, we’ve outlined some tips for making those first seconds count.

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7 Negotiation Techniques for Introverts

By Brandon Voss | December 24, 2018

If you’re not outgoing, then the thought of initiating a negotiation and stepping out of your comfort zone can feel especially uncomfortable. Below, we’ve laid out seven tips to help you beat pre-negotiation jitters and become a more effective and confident communicator.

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3 Scenarios to Practice Your Negotiation Skills

By Brandon Voss | December 10, 2018

There’s one commonality that all effective negotiators share: they consciously make the decision to negotiate in their daily lives. It may sound simple, but deciding to negotiate in real-life situations demands stepping out of your comfort zone. In reality, it’s uncomfortable. When you decide to negotiate, you risk feeling weird or awkward, regardless of your age, intelligence, or experience level. Choosing to negotiate also means deciding to be present, to focus your attention, and to engage with your environment and your counterpart in a more deliberate way—all of which can be hard to muster if you’re tired or simply not in the mood.

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Why Compromise is the Enemy of Agreement

By Brandon Voss | November 19, 2018

We’ve all heard the old adage that “compromise is the secret to a good marriage.” It’s not uncommon to hear compromise linked to things like love and compassion. If we’re unwilling to compromise, we fear that we’ll be seen as unfair, rigid, or unempathetic. As kids, most of us were taught that compromise is an ideal method of solving a dispute and an effective framework for agreement (i.e., sharing).

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How to Negotiate With Loved Ones

By Brandon Voss | November 12, 2018

No matter how skilled and practiced you are as a negotiator, when it comes to dealing with the people you love, it’s easy to get stuck. The same negotiation skills and techniques that you’ve practiced on countless other occasions can somehow fall short or backfire in ways that you never saw coming. If the basic communication skills required to negotiate a business deal and reach an agreement with a loved one are the same, then where do most of us go wrong? We’ve outlined five reasons why negotiating with a loved one is difficult, as well as how to shift your approach.

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5 Elements of Emotional Intelligence to Use During Negotiation

By Brandon Voss | November 05, 2018

As former FBI negotiators and professional negotiation coaches, we spend a lot of time thinking and talking about emotional intelligence (EQ). There’s a reason why EQ is a fundamental part of the Never Split the Difference methodology and one of the most versatile and powerful skills you can possess. Here are five elements of emotional intelligence you can use during a negotiation. 

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How to Be More Persuasive Over Email

By Brandon Voss | October 29, 2018

Most people have mixed feelings about email. On one hand, it allows us to instantly communicate with people around the world without pigeons or morse code. It’s also the most ubiquitous form of business communication and a ritual part of our daily lives—for better or worse.

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4 Ways to Keep Your Sales Team from Offering Discounts

By Brandon Voss | October 22, 2018

There’s no denying that sales is a high-pressure, high-stakes game. When you close a big deal, you feel on top of the world. When you lose one, it’s hard to remember that you ever won. When you’re between the two, it’s dangerously easy to make concessions to get that coveted “yes” and avoid the sinking feeling that often comes with a “no.” But as we at the Black Swan Group often say, “yes” is nothing without “how,” and compromise is a relationship’s worst enemy. Teach your sales team these four tips to help them close more deals without relying on discounts.

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How to Negotiate Your Way into a Job: 4 Tips to Nail Your Next Interview

By Brandon Voss | September 24, 2018

Job hopping can be a slog, but it’s also one of the most effective ways to move up and earn more. The average person will change jobs around 12 times in a 30-year span, or once every 2.5 years. And the pressure to keep moving is real—a study done in 2014 showed that those who stuck out a job beyond two years ended up earning a whopping 50 percent less over the course of their lifetime than their job-hopping counterparts.

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