3 Ways to Negotiate Like a Black Swan

By Brandon Voss | August 13, 2014

Traditionally speaking negotiation is seen as a focused comparison of ideas/results, which in my eyes is a sophisticated way of saying an argument over issues. One of the first orders of business for us as consultants is to get clients out of this approach. More often than not a negotiation begins with one side stating what their issues are and what they want. Next the other side does the same thing. In the end if a deal is made both sides have a tendency to meet in the middle.

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Negotiating Within The Negotiation

By Derek Gaunt | August 13, 2014

Hostage and crisis negotiators are some of the best influencers in the world. Our success depends on our ability to move people. To get them to do or not do something they were initially unwilling to. Influencing is our job. Hostage/barricade incidents provide many occasions where a member of the negotiations team needs to influence not only what is occurring within the crisis site but what is occurring outside. Some of the most intense negotiations occur not between the primary negotiator and the “bad guy” but within the crisis management team. We are, or at least should be, using empathy to influence other members of the crisis management team into adopting a specific course of action, impacting their ideas, opinions, and willingness to do what we want. This is otherwise known as negotiating within the negotiation. As such, the same skills we rely on when “on the phone” are the same ones we should rely on when we have to conduct a negotiation within the negotiation.

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An FBI Hostage Negotiator Gives You 3 Rules For Negotiating With Credit Card Companies

By Chris Voss | July 09, 2014

I needed to call one of my credit card company’s customer service personnel to get a late charge (and interest penalties) waived. The charges were legitimate and completely due to an oversight on my part. Two days earlier I had paid the account balance in full.

As the FBI’s former lead international kidnapping negotiator, I teach a business negotiation course at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in the M.B.A. program. I consistently apply hostage negotiation principles to my business and personal negotiations to gain an edge and to leave my counterparts feeling good about dealing with me.

Here are the rules:

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2 Ways to Make Sure a “Yes” is a “Yes”

By Brandon Voss | July 09, 2014


#1 – The Rule of 3

#2 – Follow-up with “What? & “How?” to insure it’s real.

If you are involved in business you will have most certainly experienced a situation where there was an effort made to come to an agreement with another party. Unfortunately, there is also a good chance that you have gotten a “yes” from one or more counterparts and later found out it was a “no”.

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Time’s Up

By Derek Gaunt | July 09, 2014

Sheriff’s Deputies were attempting to serve an eviction notice on an individual who responded by firing four rifle rounds from a window. While he swore he was not aiming at them, that fact was lost on the deputies as they high-tailed it to safer ground.

The suspect called the police and said his life was terrible and that he wanted to speak with someone. A negotiator called his cell phone and he explained to the negotiator that he was just looking for help. Positive sign, right?

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Are Women Naturally Better Negotiators Than Men? – Part II

By Chris Voss | June 11, 2014
“I always thought women made better negotiators than men.”
This was Tom Strentz’s response when I shared with him my experience teaching my class in the M.B.A. program at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Women (who comprise a minority of the students in my classes) typically are the first to demonstrate negotiation breakthroughs using the adapted hostage negotiation skills I teach.
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3 EQ (Emotional Intelligence) Rules for Delivering Bad News Successfully!

By Brandon Voss | June 11, 2014
Rule #1: Use the “Late-night FM DJ voice to deliver bad news.
Rule #2: Give them fair warning (disarming empathy) and then deliver the bad news.

Rule #3: Exit gracefully!

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It Depends…

By Derek Gaunt | June 11, 2014

As I read and hear about the accounts and comments regarding the release of Bowe Bergdahl, I am struck by the hand-wringing over the question of whether or not we should negotiate against terrorists. There are those who stand strongly on the side of NEVER and a growing number believing we should. The NEVER crowd suffers from antiquated thinking and fails to understand hostage negotiations and recovery is constantly evolving. It is constantly evolving because we are more flexible than ever in our approach in resolving incidents. This flexibility is a byproduct of our willingness to learn from each mission, incident or job we (or someone else) handle. As someone much smarter than me wrote in an article recently, each critical incident that we have handled is a prelude to the next. If we, as negotiators maintained the status quo of how we were trained and operated in the early 1970s I would venture to say that our success rate would not be as high as it is today.

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Are Women Naturally Better Negotiators Than Men?

By Chris Voss | May 14, 2014

I teach a negotiation course at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in the M.B.A. program. If you’re in my course then you’re probably in the Evening Program. (I do teach some classes in the full-time day program. The students are a little younger and a little bit less experienced than the Evening Program students – but very, very sharp nonetheless.) If you’re in the Evening Program you’re in your late 20’s to early 30’s in age. You have a full time job and you’re getting your M.B.A. at night. You may have small children. What this means is that you’re an extremely capable mid-level executive who is a rising star. Pretty cool people and fun to teach.

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Assumptions: Negotiation Mistakes That Haven’t Been Made Yet

By Brandon Voss | May 14, 2014

Everyone pretty much knows the old saying about assumptions making a you know what out of both you and your counterpart. While personally I am not much of a fan of this old cliché, I have to admit I do agree somewhat with the logic behind it. The real problem with assumptions is that they lead to some sort of movement or action that ends up having a very negative affect on a given situation.

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