Chris Voss

Christopher Voss is the CEO of The Black Swan Group, a firm that solves business negotiation problems with hostage negotiation strategies. Chris founded the Black Swan Group, in 2008 upon his retirement from the FBI where he was the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Chris is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business where he teaches business negotiation in both M.B.A. programs.
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Recent Posts

Unwilling to Make Concessions in Negotiation?: Do This Instead

By Chris Voss | December 30, 2019

You’ve got a logjam. The other side has dug in. Your boss may want you to make this deal or maybe there’s something else motivating you to work it out. The thought of giving in leaves you with a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach.

What should you do in this scenario? It’s easy: Unleash a tactical empathy nuke—a “that’s right” summary. 

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Labels vs. Questions: The Key to Unlocking ‘The Floodgates of Truth Talk’

By Chris Voss | December 23, 2019

Labels are the best information-gathering device out there. Bar none. This is so true that Brandon Voss of The Black Swan Group has even designated a subset of labels known as asking labels.

Why are we traditionally taught to ask questions? Because it’s the easiest way to gather information, or so teachers say. 

The Black Swan Group actually defines negotiation as an information-gathering and influence-building process. The problem is that most of the time, questions are a lousy way to gather information.

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Send This Email to Negotiate Your Salary

By Chris Voss | December 02, 2019

You’ve landed a new job or been offered a promotion. Awesome.

How do you get paid more? Use the following subject line and then follow The Black Swan Group’s email negotiation guidelines.

How can I be guaranteed to be involved in projects that are critical to the strategic future of the company?

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What's the Deal with Anchoring in Negotiation?

By Chris Voss | November 04, 2019

Anchoring, or establishing a reference point in a negotiation, is a technique that can help you get the best deals. But it doesn’t always work that way.

Today, we’ll explore four rules of anchoring that can help you better understand how you can use this technique to get better deals.

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Why Logrolling Negotiation Is Garbage (And What to Do About It)

By Chris Voss | October 28, 2019

There are four reasons that logrolling negotiation—a negotiation strategy that’s solely based on making trade-offs—is garbage

  1. It’s a compromise.
  2. It’s lazy.
  3. It assumes a zero-sum game.
  4. It lacks tactical empathy. 
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What to Do If You Are Stuck in a Bad Faith Negotiation

By Chris Voss | October 21, 2019

The most dangerous negotiation is the one you don’t know you’re in. 

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What Does a "Collaborative Negotiation" Look Like?

By Chris Voss | October 14, 2019

How do you set a tone of collaboration that sticks—especially with someone that sees the negotiation as win-lose, and they want you to lose?

It’s easier than you might think. 

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The Simple Negotiation Exercise You Can Try Today

By Chris Voss | October 07, 2019

The most dangerous negotiation is the one you don’t know you’re in.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to become aware of this: If the words I want or I need are about to come out of your mouth, then you’re about to enter into a negotiation.

Next time this is happening to you, try this little exercise that works like a charm every time. It’s easy peasy, and it’s great practice for the cold read and a quick accusations audit.

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The Top 12 Must-Read Books for Expert Negotiators

By Chris Voss | September 30, 2019

As MIT Professor Peter Senge once said, “the only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition.”

How do you learn faster than the competition? Read. 

As a bonus, reading is also enjoyable and fulfilling. 

With that in mind, here are 12 books that should be in any expert negotiator's library.

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How Expert Negotiators Use “No” to Close

By Chris Voss | September 16, 2019

Yes is a useless word.

When anything is really important, we don’t even bother with yes. It’s B.S. anyway and almost always fake.

When it’s important and we have to close, our goal is to get a no.

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