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

The Three Types of Yeses You’ll Hear During a Negotiation

By Chris Voss | August 31, 2020

In the world of negotiation, the word yes doesn’t always mean the same thing.

At The Black Swan Group, we teach that there are three different types of yeses:

  1. The confirmation yes
  2. The commitment yes
  3. The counterfeit yes

Here’s how to navigate each of them when you find yourself in the throes of a negotiation.

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Negotiation Training: 3 Steps to Finding Out If You've Left Anything on the Table

By Chris Voss | August 27, 2020

This blog was originally published on 10/26/2015 and updated on 8/27/2020.

“How do I know whether I’ve gotten everything I could have out of a deal?”

This is one of the most common questions people ask me. To be fair, it’s a great question—and one that nags all of us.

What if I told you that you can make sure you haven’t left anything on the table by following a simple three-step process that requires very little energy on your end?

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Methods of Persuasion: How to Use FBI Empathy

By Chris Voss | July 30, 2020
  

This blog was originally published on 6/12/2017 and updated on 7/30/2020.

When you use empathy in the business world the way we learned to use it as FBI hostage negotiators, you get revenue. 

Is revenue boring?

In the book Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It™, we call this kind of empathy Tactical Empathy™. Very simply, Tactical Empathy is the process of knowingly and intentionally influencing your counterpart’s emotions to make deals. It’s how you give your family a better life.

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Communication Skills: 3 Ways To Make “No” Work For You

By Chris Voss | July 23, 2020

This blog was originally published on 11/14/2016 and updated on 7/23/2020.

Does yes really always mean yes?

Absolutely not.

When we say yes, we’re committing to something. And immediately after we’ve committed, we begin worrying about what we’ve just signed up for.

Which means, at best, every yes is a conditional yes. And oftentimes, it’s even worse: a counterfeit yes that’s uttered simply to get the other side to shut up.

Would it be ridiculous to find out that getting the other side to say no is actually what you should be gunning for when you sit down at the table?

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How to Win Negotiations Over Zoom

By Chris Voss | May 18, 2020

As more people are working from home, virtual conferences, meetings, and even negotiations have become a necessity. However, Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms can feel unnatural or even uncomfortable. You’re faced with something that is neither a phone call nor an in-person meeting. 

Here are the three keys to winning a negotiation in a Zoom environment:

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My Advice for Real Estate Negotiators

By Chris Voss | April 27, 2020

Real estate is tricky business whether you’re representing buyers or sellers. There’s so much on the line, and emotions often run wild.

At a full fee, you are a bargain. Here are three tips on how to more than earn it.

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The Black Swan: What It Is and How to Find It

By Chris Voss | April 20, 2020

In general if someone refers to something as being a black swan they’re referencing it as a completely unexpected or unpredictable but extremely high-impact event.

Similarly, according to the Black Swan Group, “Black Swans” are the small things that change everything and give you something better. They’re found in two places: the overlap and the unknown. Here’s how you can uncover them.

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COVID-19 Pandemic: How to Deal with Everything Being Renegotiated

By Chris Voss | April 13, 2020

If you haven’t been in renegotiation yet, you will be before the COVID-19 pandemic is over. The Black Swan Method™ was born out of crisis negotiations. Here are four steps (with specific dialogue) for how to deal with everything that’s being renegotiated in the midst of this economic crisis.

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How To Negotiate To Fix Your Deals During The Coronavirus Fall-out

By Chris Voss | March 23, 2020

I will be blunt: This is a total sh*t show.  Here’s how to negotiate with your vendors, clients, counterparts, and colleagues so we all survive and put ourselves in a position to pick up the pieces after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are 3 steps to fixing your deals during this time: 

  1. Deactivate the fears
  2. Dynamic silence
  3. Shape new thinking with a “How?”
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How to Negotiate with Procurement

By Chris Voss | March 17, 2020

Procurement is an entity that tends to strike fear into the hearts of most salespeople and many executives. Interestingly enough, that’s who the negotiation system in Never Split the Difference was originally designed to prevail against. 

Here are some fine points on how to cope with procurement and help move them toward outcomes you desire.

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