What Can You Learn From FBI Negotiation Techniques?

A powerful book to improve your negotiation skills, ‘Never Split the Difference,’ by Chris Voss

David Pereira
Forge
Published in
5 min readMar 1, 2022

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Photo by Dušan veverkolog on Unsplash

For months Audible has been persuading me with the book Never Split the Difference, but somehow, I didn’t buy it. However, last Christmas, my brother surprised me with this book as a present; he knows how keen I am on reading books that help me develop myself. After reading it, I only wish I had done it before. The content is engaging and revealing.

“Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible.”
Chris Voss

Chris Voss was a top FBI hostage negotiator, and he came up with a negotiation framework applicable in many spheres. His techniques are useful everywhere you need to negotiate, e.g., asking for a salary increase, acquiring real estate, buying a car, or whatever you imagine else you imagine negotiating.

During this post, I want to share with you what I learned from the book, as well as what I have already tried out. I hope you can benefit from it.

1. Getting the Other Side’s Attention

The first challenge of any negotiation is getting your counterpart’s attention. People are busy; they have a lot on their minds. Therefore, obtaining their full attention is hard. No matter what kind of negotiation you are in, you cannot progress if your counterpart is distracted. The question is, how can you get the other person’s attention?

What I learned from the book is quite obvious yet often overlooked. For example, people usually search for a “yes” to open the conversation. Consider someone trying to sell you a professional development course. A common question would be: “Do you want to develop yourself and become an expert in your area?” You may answer yes and still don’t give your attention to the salesperson. However, if the salesperson asks: “Do you want to become irrelevant in the market?” you’d probably say no, and be more curious about what else the salesperson has to say.

People give 10x more energy to avoid losing something than they would give to gain…

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David Pereira
Forge
Writer for

I don't write on Medium anymore. Find my content at Untrapping Product Teams https://dpereira.substack.com/