Be a great closer

self learning note taken from Never split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It. (Chris Voss)

Intro Tips

  • A good negotiator is going in by preparing for possible surprises while a great one aims to use his/her skills to reveal the surprises he/she is certain to find.
  • The Negotiation becomes overwhelmed by the voices in participants' heads when they view the whole process as a battle. Instead, view as a process of discovery, not an act of battle but to uncover as much information as possible.
  • Keep quiet down your voice in your head. Focus the other person and what they have to say with all your sole.
  • Going too fast can make other people feel if they are not bing heard. Then you risk undermining the rapport and trust you've built. So, Slow it down.
  • Smile... :)


Empathy The ability to recognise the perspective of a counterpart, and the vocalisation of that recognition.

Academical Meaning of Empathy Is paying attention to another human being, asking what they are feeling, and making a commitment to understanding their world.

Tactical empathy Is understanding the feelings and mindset of another in the moment and also hearing what is behind those feelings so you increase your influence in all the moments that follow. It is bringing

Three voices tones

The late night FM DJ voice Use selectively to make a point. Inflect your voice downward, keeping it clam and slow. When done properly, you create an aura of authority and trustworthiness without triggering defensiveness.

The positive/playful voice Be this your default voice like the voice of an easygoing, good-natured person. Your attitude is light and encouraging. The key here to to relax and smile while you are talking.

The direct or assertive voice Use rarely. Will cause problems and create pushback.


Mirroring It is a magic in negotiation. Repeat the last three words of what someone has just said. Use mirrors to encourage the other side to empathise and bond with you, keep people talking, buy your side time to regroup, and encourage your counterparts to reveal their strategy.

Labeling It is a shortcut to intimacy, a time-saving emotional hack. It is a way of validating someone's emotion by acknowledging it. Give someone's emotion a name and you show you identify with how that person feels. It gets you close to someone without asking about external factors you know nothing about.
1. First step - Detect the other person's emotional state. The trick to spotting feelings is to pay close attention to changes undergo when they respond to external events. Most often, those events are your words.
2. Second step - Label it aloud once you've spotted an emotion you want to highlight. You can phrase labels as statements or questions. No matter how they are phrased, labels almost always begin with roughly the same words: It seems like..., It sounds like..., It looks like...
3. Third step - Silence. Once you've thrown out a label, be quiet and listen.

Master the "NO" For good negotiators, **No** is pure gold. Although No is the ultimate negative word, it provides a great opportunity for you and the other party to clarify what you really want by eliminating what you don't want. Yes and Maybe are often worthless while No always alters the conversation into a negotiation.
Most importantly, (In my opinion) No helps me feel safe, secure, emotionally comfortable.
1. Politely say No to your opponent - Mix the No with Labeling tactics by mislabeling one of the other party's emotions or desires.
2. Calmly hear No - Yes is the final goal of a negotiation, but don't aim for it at the start.
3. Let the other side knows that they are welcome to say No

Trigger A That's Right! with a Summary A good summary is the combination of re-articulating the meaning of what is said plus the acknowledge of the emotions underlying that meaning (paraphrasing + labelling = summary). A great negotiator needs to fully and completely summarise all things that the other party comes up. Once that summary is done, the result would be That's right after some seconds of silence.

The F-word The most powerful word in negotiations is Fair and it needs to be used with care. Among three ways of using this F-bomb, only one is positive.
1. The most common use is a judo-like defensive move that destabilises the other side. This manipulation usually takes the form of something like, We just want what's fair.
2. The second use of the F-bomb is more nefarious. Suppose, you are being said We've given you a fair offer. In this situation, the best reaction is simply mirror the F that has just been lobbed at you. Response Fair? and pause to let the word's power do to them as it was intended to do to you. Then, follow with a label: It seems like you are ready to provide the evidence that supports that, .... Right away, you declaw the attack.
3. The last use of the F-word creates is setting the stage for honest and empathetic negotiation and it forms the positive and constructive environment. This is how to use: I want you to feel like you are being treated fairly at all times. So, please stop me at any time if you feel I'm being unfair, and we'll address it. It is simple and clear and sets you up as an honest dealer.

Illusion of Control Take control in a conversation by listening and directing the conversation toward his own goals. Put yourself listener's judo into practice by following powerful lessons:
1. Avoid questions that can be answered with Yes or tiny pieces of information. Instead, ask calibrated questions that start with the words How or what. These questions will give your counter-part an illusion of control and will inspire them to speak at length, revealing important information.
2. Don't ask questions that start with why unless you want your counterpart to defend a goal that serves you.
3. Calibrate your questions to point your counterpart toward solving your problem. This will encourage them to expend their energy on devising a solution.
4. Bite your tongue, pause and avoid any angry emotional reactions when you are attacked in a negotiation. Instead, ask your counterpart a calibrated question.

Tips & Tricks

Email magic Most of the time, our email are being ignored, turned down and getting no response at all. Then, put a polite follow-up No oriented questions after your email. The result: it will trigger the other party's natural inclination to reply immediately and disagree.

Don't compromise An example: A woman wants her husband to wear black shoes with his suit that her husband doesn't want to; he prefers brown shoes. When they compromise and meet halfway, he wears one black and one brown shoe. Either of the two other outcomes - black or brown - would be better than this result caused by the compromise.
Compromise is based on win-win mindset by splitting the difference between participants. So, the golden rule is - never split the difference, instead, preceded by some degree of risk, annoyance, confusion and conflict, which is how the great deals happen.

No deal is better than a bad deal

Fair As a negotiator, you should strive for a reputation of being fair. Your reputation precedes you. Let is precede you in a way that paves success.

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