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 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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What’s Wrong (and What’s Right) with ‘Always Be Closing’

By Chris Voss | February 17, 2020

What’s wrong with “always be closing”? 

To start, it’s pushy. You can’t approach the situation with this mentality and develop a relationship. Always be closing is the same thing as “always be damaging” the relationship—which means you’re sacrificing tomorrow for today, and tomorrow is coming.

At the same time, always be closing has its upside, too. Here’s what’s right and wrong about it and how to integrate these ideas for success.

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How to Use Body Language as a Negotiation Tactic

By Chris Voss | January 27, 2020

Negotiation isn’t always about the words you say and the way you say them. Nonverbal cues often play a crucial role in how things go when you’re sitting at the table.

More specifically, body language is both an amplifier and an indicator. 

Here are the ways to maximize body language negotiation tactics—and get better outcomes because of it.

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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: 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, truth questions are a lousy way to gather information.

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How to Write a Salary Negotiation Email

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 to write your next salary negotiation email.

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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