5 Takeaways from Chris Voss' Master Class.

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

I’ve succumbed to the Master Class series. You know the adds that pop-up on Instagram and Facebook, yep – those.

For the past 6 months I’ve been getting Master Class pop-up ads daily on my Instagram page. I resisted for a long time. Although I’ve wanted to take several courses, I didn’t want to spend the money and wasn’t quite sure if it would be worth it. But then – Master Class Series with Chris Voss! A Master Class with Former FBI International Kidnapping Director Chris Voss. Sign me up! I want to know everything.

This man persuaded terrorists, bank robbers, and kidnappers to see things his way. Now he’s teaching his field-tested strategies for everyday negotiations. On average, we are in 3 to 7 negotiations a day. That is true for any person, not just someone in sales. If you want somebody to say yes to anything, you're in a negotiation. If somebody is trying to get you to say yes to something, you're in a negotiation. If you say, I want, or you think I need, you're in a negotiation.

The stereotype of negotiation is that it's about being the biggest jerk in the room, that it's who's the loudest, who's the most aggressive, who takes the most at the other person's expense. The stereotype is that I win means you have to lose and I beat you. That is not the case.

What I learned from this fantastic class is the best negotiators are the best collaborators. It’s about

recognizing that the person across the table is a counterpart that’s struggling with some aspect of the same problem. You work with them to solve that problem, and together you’re both better off. You need to think of negotiation as a dance, not a wrestling match. You are learning to dance with the person across the table. It should be fluid and graceful, not loud and abrasive.

After watching this incredibly interesting class, these are 5 takeaways to bring into your negotiations:

Tactical Empathy is being completely aware of the other person’s thoughts. You need to figure out what’s driving them, what are their rules, and you need to respect them. You don’t need to adopt their thoughts, but you need to respect them and work within the guidelines.

Mirroring is the behavior of imitating the behavior of another person. If you mirror who you are with they will love to talk to you. Mirroring gets them talking about themselves and actually lets them present you with their thoughts, and it even allows them to present their own deal. General curiosity is compelling and if you show that to someone you are talking with they will want to be around you more, be friends with you, and/or do business with you.

Labeling is the act of recognizing verbal observations. It’s using phrases such as “It sounds like you feel…” or “It feels like you believe…” This might be the most useful tool to unwind and solve some of the trickiest of negotiations. Trust your gut instinct. What does the person you are talking with need and why do you think that? Then verbalize that.

Reinforce Positive Emotions - Labeling a positive emotion reinforces it. You can change the tone of a conversation immediately when you reinforce positive emotions. It is important to be genuine and thank someone for taking the time to talk with you.

Creating the illusion of control for the other side – always ask questions using “what” and “how” because people love to be asked “what to do” and “how to do it.” Don’t ask “why they want something” – that interferes with the relationship, it creates defensiveness. Change your why to a what – it takes defensiveness out of the question. This gives the other side the illusion of control and everyone wants to be in control.

In conclusion, open your mind and open yourself to possibilities. You should be surprised. It’s not possible to know everything and once you open your mind, you open yourself up to better outcomes and better relationships.