Chris Voss

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

How to Negotiate Without Saying a Word

By Chris Voss | May 09, 2022

Is it ridiculous to think you can negotiate without saying a word? 

The infamous ratio The Black Swan Method™ teaches is 7:38:55. This means that the meaning of a message is the sum of words (7 percent), tonality (38 percent), and body language (55 percent).  

Keep reading to learn how to use nonverbal communication in negotiation.

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Becoming a Master Negotiator: Trigger Kindness Moments Everyday

By Chris Voss | February 21, 2022

Want to become a master negotiator? Do these two things: 

  1. Have a list of go-to phrases.  
  2. Never be mean to someone who can hurt you by doing nothing. 

Read on to develop your list and see how I dodged a bullet at a TSA screening point. 

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Real Estate Negotiations: When to Push and When to Walk Away

By Chris Voss | January 31, 2022

In any negotiation, a push equals an assertion. 

Assertions work if they are preceded by Tactical Empathy™. Without it, you will blow the deals you should have made. 

Here’s how to gauge deals and navigate assertions in real estate.

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Let’s Put ‘Yes’ Out of Its Misery. ‘Yes’ Is Not Agreement.

By Chris Voss | December 27, 2021

At its very best, yes is only an aspiration, a hope. But hope is not a strategy, and aspiration is not agreement. Here’s why.

When Never Split the Difference was first published, The Black Swan Group used to say, “Yes is nothing without how.” Since then, we’ve updated our approach. Now, we teach that yes is nothing, and how is everything.

We also taught that yes is the last thing you want to hear. That was never meant to be interpreted that it was the final utterance that would seal the deal. It was always meant in the context of, “What’s the last thing you want to hear from your teenage daughter?” Probably “I’m pregnant.” Or, “What’s the last thing you want to hear from your accountant?” Probably “You’re bankrupt.”

Does that mean you eventually hope to hear those things? 

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How to Deal with a Boss Who’s a Bully (and a Micromanager)

By Chris Voss | December 20, 2021

The secret to getting the upper hand in a negotiation is giving the other side the illusion of control. 

There is great power in deference, especially because bullies (and micromanagers) are fear-driven and afraid of being out of control. Keep reading to learn how to deal with them. 

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How to Improve Your Communication Skills to Network Effectively

By Chris Voss | November 29, 2021

We’re all drawn to interesting people. Here’s how to improve your communication skills and become the most interesting person in the room.

Start with this three-step opening:

  • Simultaneously hold out your hand, smile, and introduce yourself with your first name only—nothing more.
  • Use Dynamic Silence™. Let them react. Wait for them to give their first name.
  • While smiling, ask them: “What about (one-second pause) what you do makes you passionate?”

Here’s your fourth follow-on step: Mirror™ and Label™ from this point on, using Dynamic Silence liberally. This is a version of the one-on-ones we use as the foundation for mastery of the Black Swan Method™—also known as the quick 2+1.

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Negotiation Training: The Top 4 ‘No-Oriented’ Questions

By Chris Voss | November 08, 2021

Yes doesn’t always mean yes. This is why shrewd negotiators don’t aim for yes, but instead try to get their counterparts to say no.

In this installment of our negotiation training series, we examine the top four no-oriented questions™ from The Black Swan Group, what they replace, and why you should use them.

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Negotiation Training: The Top 10 Black Swan Go-To Labels™

By Chris Voss | October 04, 2021

At Black Swan, we’re huge proponents of using Labels™ to arrive at the best outcomes. With an effective use of Labels, you’re able to unearth what the other side isn’t saying and identify a dynamic in the conversation that isn’t obvious. 

Keep reading to learn more about when, where, and how to use Labels to accomplish your objectives every time you sit down at the table.

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Negotiation Tactics: 3 Ways to Avoid Taking Yourself Hostage

By Chris Voss | August 30, 2021

A while back, I wrote about three ways negotiators take themselves hostage and what you can do to avoid making these same missteps. 

Since then, I’ve identified three additional negotiation tactics that end up putting you in a terrible position at the table. 

Read on to learn more about each of them and what you can do to avoid having these negotiation tactics derail your efforts.

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10 Phrases That Reveal (Dangerous) Hidden Negotiations

By Chris Voss | August 09, 2021

“The most dangerous negotiation is the one you don’t know you’re in.” What hidden negotiations drain your time (your most valuable commodity) each and every day? 

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