4 Ways to Get Everything You Want in a Contract Negotiation

By Brandon Voss | March 01, 2021

Every negotiator wants the same thing: getting exactly what we want every time we sit down at the table.

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The Most Underutilized Negotiation Skill

By Milton “Troy” Smith | February 15, 2021

The first time I ever handled a hostage negotiation, the whole thing was over in five minutes. I thought that negotiation was easy and that I was a natural.

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What Is The Black Swan Group's Negotiation 9™ (N9™)?

By Sandy Hein | February 08, 2021

The Black Swan Group’s Negotiation 9™ (N9™) are the nine skills that make it easy to achieve Tactical Empathy™ (TE™) —the best way to accomplish trust-based influence, which should be your primary goal every time you step to the table. 

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Why Good Cop, Bad Cop in a Negotiation is a Terrible Idea

By Brandon Voss | February 01, 2021

If you’ve ever seen practically any movie that involves police officers, you’re familiar with the good cop/bad cop negotiation strategy. During an interrogation, one cop is super nice and the other is a complete jerk.

Though this strategy might lend itself nicely to the silver screen, it’s not something you should ever rely on in the world of high-stakes negotiation. Here’s why:

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Communication Skills: How to Deliver Bad News

By Derek Gaunt | January 11, 2021

In an ideal world, everything would be rosy, and you’d never have to deliver bad news to your direct reports. But there comes a time when every leader needs to give negative feedback or share news the team doesn’t want to hear. The way you approach these delicate conversations will make all the difference in the world.

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Communication Skills: How Leaders Can Regain Trust

By Derek Gaunt | December 28, 2020

Even though you’re a leader, you’re still a human being—which means that from time to time, you’re going to make mistakes. That’s just the way it is.

Now, making a mistake isn’t the end of the world—even for leaders. But because of their egos, many leaders fail to admit they’ve made any mistakes at all. They’re afraid of looking weak or being viewed as fallible. For some people, an apology is akin to an admission of incompetence.

When leaders don’t accept responsibility for their own individual shortcomings as well as when the team doesn’t perform the way it’s supposed to, relationships with those around them are damaged. 

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How Are Negotiation and Interpersonal Communication Related?

By The Black Swan Group | October 12, 2020

You might be the best negotiator in the world. But if you don’t know how to deal with people and treat them with respect, you won’t get the results you’re aiming for.

That’s because, at the end of the day, nobody does a deal with you because they need to. They do deals with you because they want to. And, more often than not, the reason they want to do business with you is because they like you.

Becoming a better negotiator starts with strengthening your interpersonal communication skills. The sharper your skills are, the easier it will be to start using Tactical Empathy™.

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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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Communication Skills: Did You Know There Are 5 Levels of Listening?

By Derek Gaunt | August 13, 2020

This blog was originally published on 5/14/2018 and updated on 8/13/2020.

Most people who think they are good listeners underperform—by as much as 60 percent, in fact, according to some research. It turns out that overconfidence actually impedes their success. 

Being too confident actually prevents you from truly understanding the motivation of the other side, which prevents you from being able to use Tactical Empathy™ to get the outcomes you’re going for. 

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Communication Skills: How to Use a Cold Read and Accusation Audit

By Derek Gaunt | August 06, 2020

This blog was originally published on 4/17/2017 and updated on 8/6/2020.

A few years ago, I was the only hostage negotiator in a room full of SWAT guys. 

The quarterly meeting was for SWAT guys, by SWAT guys, and I was an interloper in hostile territory.

Why was I there? To request a piece of their pie. 

The SWAT group had a training operations cache of about $78,000. Because they hadn’t spent any of the money over several years, I wanted to know whether I could grab $9,000 each year to train negotiators.

I used two communication skills—a Cold Read and an Accusation Audit™—to walk out of the room with what I wanted.

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