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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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 Get Buy-In With The 3 Most Effective Communication Techniques

By Brandon Voss | July 16, 2020

This blog was originally published on 03/6/2017 and updated on 7/16/2020.

Negotiation is an information-gathering process. It’s not about getting your points across. It’s about using Tactical Empathy™ to uncover the information you need to understand exactly where your counterpart is coming from—and then making sure they know that you understand them.

The best negotiators never sit down at the table hoping to get the other side to understand them. Just like Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests, “Seek to understand before being understood.” 

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3 Communication and Negotiation Skills You Should Master

By Brandon Voss | June 15, 2020

Whether your goal is closing more deals, enhancing personal relationships, or simply having better conversations, improving your communication and negotiation skills will help.

In an ideal world, you’d become familiar with all of the popular negotiation terms we teach at The Black Swan Group. But if time is of the essence, get started by sharpening these three skills first.

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Plan of Action to Improve Negotiation and Communication Skills

By Brandon Voss | June 08, 2020

In order to improve your negotiation and communication skills, you need to decide to make the change in the first place. Being called upon to make the deals that no one else can make starts with changing the way you approach every negotiation.

When you’ve made the decision to consciously change your approach, follow this simple four-step plan of action to improve your negotiation skills and make the best deals possible.

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Communication at Work: Treating Employees like Humans

By Brandon Voss | July 01, 2019

Most people can relate to the proverbial “mean boss,” because unfortunately, we’ve all dealt with someone like this during our career. And it’s not exactly inspiring to work for someone who doesn’t value you or your time. 

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What's the Difference Between Active Communication and Active Listening?

By Brandon Voss | May 13, 2019

In negotiation training, the terms “active communication” and “active listening” get thrown around often. While these two terms share commonalities, they also have major differences.

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Communication at Work: Why Hearing "No" Should Be Your Goal

By Brandon Voss | March 11, 2019

Many of the negotiation techniques we teach at Black Swan Group are part of a “no” strategy. We discuss ways to make “no” work for you in a negotiation; share tips on how to get buy-in, starting with a “no” ; and offer communication techniques to help create space between “yes” and “no.”

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Communication at Work: Are You Being Too Nice at the Negotiation Table?

By Brandon Voss | February 18, 2019

When we’re faced with a difficult negotiation, many of us make the mistake of thinking that niceness will help us get what we want. To make ourselves seem more agreeable, we switch into an overly energized tone and take every opportunity to smile or nod enthusiastically—sometimes without knowing we’re doing it.

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