Never Split the Difference Book Cover

Never Split the Difference

Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
Publishing Year: 2016
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Never Split the Difference provides an insightful look into principles of effective negotiation. Written from the perspective of the former FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, the book lays out his approach towards high-stakes negotiations and offers a few key lessons that we can incorporate in our daily routines. Voss provides tools to navigate more common negotiations like job offers, salaries, big purchases, and everyday meetings. This book is more about emotional intelligence and effective listening, than it is about anything else.

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Lesson 1. Active listening: the key to successful negotiations.

Negotiation begins with the universally applicable premise that people want to be accepted and understood. Listening is the cheapest, yet most effective concession we can make to get there. We often make the mistake of considering negotiation to be a passive activity. Chris Voss clarifies that listening is one of the most active things that a person can do.

Who has the power in a negotiation: the person talking, or the person listening? Chris Voss argues that of course it’s the listener, because they are getting more information that they can put to use.When entering a negotiation, experts hold multiple possible hypotheses about their counterpart’s wants. They then use each new psychological insight and piece of information that their opponent reveals to narrow down which hypothesis is true. A negotiator has to begin with listening and validating the emotions of his counterpart. It is very important that the negotiator makes his counterpart feel safe while conversing with him.

Often, people enter a negotiation viewing it as a battle between two arguments. Instead of listening to the cues and clues of their opponent, they listen to the arguments and counterarguments they are conducting in their head. Consequently, to get ahead when entering a negotiation, it is necessary to focus on what the other person is saying instead of prioritizing one’s own argument. 

We negotiate every day: with our loved ones, friends, colleagues, clients, and more. Voss teaches us how being more empathetic and a better listener can not only make us much more pleasant discussion partners, but also much more effective in reaching our goals. In business, negotiation skills are important in both informal day-to-day interactions and formal transactions such as negotiating conditions of sale, lease, service delivery, and other legal contracts.

Lesson 2. Building trust with your counterpart.

Negotiation involves listening, making it about the other people, validating their emotions, and creating enough trust and safety for a real conversation to begin. The goal of a negotiator is to identify what your counterpart actually needs, and get them feeling safe enough to talk about what they want. Mirroring is a way of making people feel more comfortable and safer. There are several techniques that a negotiator can employ. For example, he can try repeating the last three words, or the most important three words, of what their counterpart just said. He can make the speed and pitch of his voice somewhat similar to that of the latter. And even subtly mimic the physical movements of the counterpart.

To be effective, the negotiator should adopt a positive, playful voice that

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Chapter List
  • Lesson 1. Active listening: the key to successful negotiations.
  • Lesson 2. Building trust with your counterpart.
  • Lesson 3. Labeling: An important negotiation tactic. 
  • Lesson 4. Anticipating negatives in negotiation.
  • Lesson 5. The winning strategy in a negotiation.
  • Lesson 6. Manipulative tactics for a successful negotiation.
  • Lesson 7. Use of calibrated questions and other bargaining strategies.
  • Lesson 8. Uncovering “Black Swans” is crucial to the success of a deal.
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FAQs

In the summary of Never Split the Difference book, there are 8 key lessons. These lessons include:

  1. Lesson 1. Active listening: the key to successful negotiations.
  2. Lesson 2. Building trust with your counterpart.
  3. Lesson 3. Labeling: An important negotiation tactic. 
  4. Lesson 4. Anticipating negatives in negotiation.
  5. Lesson 5. The winning strategy in a negotiation.
  6. Lesson 6. Manipulative tactics for a successful negotiation.
  7. Lesson 7. Use of calibrated questions and other bargaining strategies.
  8. Lesson 8. Uncovering “Black Swans” is crucial to the success of a deal.

Never Split the Difference by Christopher Voss, Tahl Raz was published in 2016.

Once you've completed Never Split the Difference book, We suggest reading out Playing to win as a great follow-up read.

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In the printed version of Never Split the Difference book have over 300 pages and usually takes 8-10 days to finish. However, with the Wizdom app, including its summary and audiobook, it can be completed in just 15 minutes.

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