3 Negotiation Exercises to Sharpen Your Skills

By Milton “Troy” Smith | September 26, 2022

The skills we teach at The Black Swan Group can help you transform your approach to negotiation. But, just like anything else, the skills are perishable. If you want to unlock their full potential, you need to practice regularly.

Ultimately, the only way to become a more effective negotiator is by using the skills. In fact, everyone on the Black Swan team uses negotiation skills every day because it helps us stay sharp and continuously improve. The more you practice, the more confident you become—which is particularly helpful when the stakes are highest.

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The First Steps to Becoming a Skilled Negotiator

By Barbara Thomas | August 01, 2022

If you’re new to negotiation and The Black Swan Method™, the first step to becoming a skilled negotiator is enrolling in our online class, Negotiation 9™ (N9™). This class teaches the nine core skills that are foundational to becoming a world-class negotiator.

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Negotiator Concepts That Have Evolved Since Never Split The Difference™ Was Published

By Chris Voss | July 18, 2022

Accusation Audits™ and Labels™ (more specifically, Asking Labels™) are two expert concepts that have evolved significantly since Never Split the Difference was published. 

Read on to learn how we’re advising our best clients.

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How to Say “No” in a Negotiation

By Derek Gaunt | July 11, 2022

Saying no is the most assertive thing you can do in a negotiation, meaning you should only do it when absolutely necessary.

We encourage clients to embrace the concept of the “Phases of No,” in which we let no out a little bit at a time. This method enables us to let the counterpart hear and feel no without actually saying the word.

Now and again, however, you do need to say the word no. But you should only do that when you have dumped a heavy load of Tactical Empathy™ on the front end. That’s because Tactical Empathy encourages reciprocity. We go heavy on the front end because we want our counterpart to reciprocate when we ultimately make our ask.

When used correctly, the Phases of No does two things:

  1. It allows us to use that reciprocated Tactical Empathy.
  2. It encourages our counterparts to begin bargaining with themselves.

In other words, the Phases of No engages both sides of your counterpart’s brain, allowing them to get a better feel for you.

Keep reading to learn more about the Phases of No and how to say no most effectively:

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Negotiation Training: When to Walk Away

By Milton “Troy” Smith | July 04, 2022

The Black Swan Group has a saying: It’s not a sin to not get a deal, but it is a sin to not get a deal and waste a lot of time in the process.

Sometimes, negotiators overcommit to try to get the deal no matter the circumstances. Unfortunately, there isn’t always a deal to be made. Sometimes you’re the favorite, but other times you’re the fool, and the other side is just talking to you to get information they can use to get a better deal from somebody else.

How do you know whether you’re the favorite or the fool? Simple: Ask Proof of Life™ questions.

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The Top 12 Must-Read Books for Expert Negotiators

By Chris Voss | May 24, 2022

As MIT Professor Peter Senge once said, “the only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition.”

How do you learn faster than the competition? Read. 

As a bonus, reading is also enjoyable and fulfilling. 

With that in mind, here are 12 books that should be in any expert negotiator's library.

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Black Swan Negotiation Skills Training: Mislabels

By Milton “Troy” Smith | April 25, 2022

The Black Swan Group often recommends using Labels™ to describe emotions that are displayed, verbalized, or implied but not directly articulated. In this negotiation skills training post, we will explore Mislabels—the Label’s counterpart.

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Negotiation Training: What Are Black Swans and How Can You Identify Them?

By Derek Gaunt | February 14, 2022

Black Swans are small bits of information the other side holds that— if uncovered—would dramatically change the course of the dialogue and, ultimately, the result of the negotiation.

The best way to discover a Black Swan is by staying curious in each conversation. Every time you sit down at the table, repeat a mantra to yourself: I have something to learn here.

This mindset forces you to listen to what’s not being said rather than the actual words. By staying curious, you reduce the chances of getting triggered during a conversation if the other side threatens, attacks, or makes outrageous demands.

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Negotiation Training: The Top 4 ‘No-Oriented’ Questions

By Chris Voss | November 08, 2021

Yes doesn’t always mean yes. This is why shrewd negotiators don’t aim for yes, but instead try to get their counterparts to say no.

In this installment of our negotiation training series, we examine the top four no-oriented questions™ from The Black Swan Group, what they replace, and why you should use them.

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Negotiation Training: The Top 10 Black Swan Go-To Labels™

By Chris Voss | October 04, 2021

At Black Swan, we’re huge proponents of using Labels™ to arrive at the best outcomes. With an effective use of Labels, you’re able to unearth what the other side isn’t saying and identify a dynamic in the conversation that isn’t obvious. 

Keep reading to learn more about when, where, and how to use Labels to accomplish your objectives every time you sit down at the table.

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