How to Negotiate with Difficult People

By Chris Voss | September 17, 2020

I’m on the wrong side of customs in Australia, and my bags are still inside. I’m not interested in getting stranded or missing my connection, and I’m also not keen on wearing the same clothes for five days and brushing my teeth with the hotel-provided toothbrush.

Here’s how I got out of this jam: I’m here to sign up for the Stupid American of the Year Award.

But first: How did I get into this predicament to begin with?

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3 Things We've Learned About Negotiation During COVID-19

By Chris Voss | September 14, 2020

We’ve all learned many things due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past few months, we’ve even learned three new things about negotiation:

  1. You will be faced with three types of counterparts.
  2. Safety, trust, and need are the keys.
  3. The Accusation Audit™ is the game changer.

Keep reading to learn more about each of these ideas.

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3 Guaranteed Ways to Increase Your Communication Success

By Brandon Voss | September 10, 2020

This blog was originally published on 11/23/2015 and updated on 9/10/2020.

Everyone is always looking to increase their chances of success. It’s simply human nature to want to do everything you can to avoid failure.

At The Black Swan Group, we help people like you get better outcomes by learning how to communicate more effectively.

With that in mind, let’s explore three different ways you can improve your communication skills—and increase the chances you succeed.

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5 Reasons Fear-Based Leadership Is Ineffective

By Derek Gaunt | September 07, 2020

Show me a leader who uses fear to get the troops in line, and I’ll show you a toxic environment.

Unfortunately, far too many leaders use fear to get their employees to do their bidding. Maybe the leader constantly reminds employees about the company’s dire finances during COVID and suggests that it’s only a matter of time before someone needs to be let go. Or maybe the leader enjoys calling out an employee’s mistakes to the whole group—leading everyone to constantly worry about being embarrassed or belittled for not meeting the boss’s expectations.

Whatever the case, fear-based leadership is ineffective. There are leaders who might be tempted to use their ego and authority to torment their teams and remind them who’s boss, it’s impossible to get the best business outcomes when you take this approach. 

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Negotiation Skills Training: The Key to Disarming The Attack

By Brandon Voss | September 03, 2020

This blog was originally published on 7/23/2018 and updated on 9/3/2020.

When you go into a negotiation that is likely to be combative, there are strategies you can adopt to overcome those points of contention.

Most of these strategies involve ignoring your natural inclinations to right the wrongs, explain the why, and promise to make sure your counterpart won’t have to experience the irritation ever again.

Keep reading to learn five strategies you can use to disarm the attack.

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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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What Is the Black Swan Accusation Audit™?

By Derek Gaunt | August 24, 2020

When you’re in the middle of a negotiation and the other side’s head is filled with negative thoughts and ideas, there’s a black hole vortex in their thinking. They can’t think clearly, and in many cases, they might not even be able to hear what you’re saying at all because their internal monologue is hogging the microphone.

The good news is that you can stifle these negative thoughts and make sure your counterpart is more receptive to your message by using a technique we created called the Accusation Audit™.

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How to Be More Persuasive Over Email

By Brandon Voss | August 20, 2020

This blog was originally published on 10/29/2018 and updated on 8/20/2020.

Most people have mixed feelings about email. 

On one hand, email allows us to instantly communicate with people around the world much more efficiently than sending a carrier pigeon. On the other, email can be incredibly overwhelming. One recent study, for example, found that the average U.S. worker spends nearly six hours each day checking their email.

Six hours!

(To be fair, that breaks down to 209 minutes on work email and 143 minutes on personal email. It turns out we’re not always focused on our responsibilities when we’re in the office. Who knew?)

The fact that email is a text-based form of communication is both its biggest asset and its greatest drawback. Unlike having a face-to-face conversation with an in-person human being, email is a blank slate. Though we can get our words across, it’s harder to convey our tone of voice and the nonverbal cues that are a critical component of constructive communication.

This makes email a very efficient communications tool—but also one that leaves a minefield of potential miscommunications.

In business, most emails are a form of negotiation. We ask someone to read our message and respond in a certain way or take a certain action within a specific time frame. 

To help you get better results, here are six tips that can help you be more persuasive over email.

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How to Demonstrate Leadership Virtually

By Derek Gaunt | August 17, 2020

If you’re like many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced your organization to work remotely and embrace the virtual office.

Because of the current state of the world, practically everything is relegated to the digital environment. If you’re used to managing a team in an office setting, you might be thinking that you’ll need to adapt your approach to the new way of working.

Not so fast: When you’re leading virtually, your roles and responsibilities stay the same

There are, however, a few different tactics you may want to prioritize to help your team adjust to “the new normal.” Try them out when you’re trying to demonstrate leadership virtually.

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