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Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz

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This is a great book and I hope you find these detailed notes useful!

Book was written by a former hostage negotiator who applies what he learnt from many years experience and his involvement with a team at Harvard, who are generally regarded as founders of modern negotiation strategies. Each chapter starts with a story about previous hostage situations then explains principles behind this negotiation.

Three voices to use
1. Friendly playful voice
2. Firm voice lowering tone at end, seldom use this voice
3. Mirroring, few words that they use frequently similar to a late night DJ voice

How to negotiate
1. Use late night DJ voice
2. I am sorry
3. Mirror what they said or want to say with an inquisitive method
4. Stay silent

Tactical empathy, understand their mindset, feelings in that moment and why they are feeling like this. Imagine you are someone else and how they feel, empathy is about understanding not agreeing.

Labelling use “it sounds like” rather than “I hear”. Address (their) underlying motions. Dig beneath the surface and establish their underlying emotion, then label this.

Observe negativity & attempt to replace this with positivity.

Use silence and listen to obtain more information.

Don’t be afraid of no.  Let the person say no as a starting point then move to yes or ideally the words “That’s right”.  Note you do not want to hear “you are right”.  No is a way of triggering them to feel in control.

Three times of yes
Yes counterfeit
Yes confirmation, with no promise of action
Yes commitment

“Is now a good time to talk” is better than “Do you have time to talk”

What, who, when and how.  These questions become more specific when a deadline is about to occur. He suggests sharing deadlines as a way of moving things forward.

Negotiating salary:
Anchor with a high range, they are likely to offer at the bottom
Ask what does it take to be successful here?
Do not have the end figure with a zero, if they can’t go higher look for other benefits they can offer.

Outline what they have to lose which is a tactic to exploit loss aversion. People are emotional and irrational but they are predictably so.

When someone uses the “fair” word rather than falling for this ask how they perceive the current situation is not fair.

Open ended calibrated questions can provide them with illusion of control.

Email question how to induce a response:
Have you given up on this project?

Switches them thinking about things from your perspective in a non confrontational way.

When negotiating regulate emotions, don’t counter attack immediately so take time to respond. Bite your tongue.

Avoid questions that start with why, although do use open ended questions.
Good question to respond is “How am I supposed to do that”. Do not accept “I will try”.

Consider “How does this fit in with rest of the team”

Yes is nothing without how.

Meaning behind what said:
7% what said
35% tone
58% body language & face

If incongruence with the above three then explore further as the person may be lying or uncomfortable.

Rule of 3 – explore same issue 3 times if uncertain someone is not telling the truth

Liars use more words and use more them or they rather than I or me.

Generally more important and skilled someone is in negotiations the less they use I or me than them or they. We they and them are things suggest a leader, or liar.

Use the hostages name and also your own name to humanise yourself although do not over use their name, common sales tactic.

Don’t directly say no but instead say thanks, I am sorry but I cant afford that, you have been generous and don’t provide a counter offer.
Ask how am I supposed to do that.
If a response is not an outright rejection then you have the edge.

3 styles of negotiator (you should be aspects of all 3)
Co-operative also known as accommodators – time is a relationship, friendly, tend to be first to give, uses reciprocative bargaining.
Assertive – time is money, like to close, want to be heard, tell rather than ask. Utilise mirrors when interacting with these people.
Analysts – time is preparation, most common type, they tend to avoid surprises and come off as non people friendly. If you are an analysis type person then try to smile more and utilise the person you are negotiating with.

Don’t treat others way you want to be treated, treat them the way they need to be treated.

Strategic umbrage – state firmly you wont work at a level and beware of this.

Look at the person not as the problem, instead see the situation is the problem, i.e. the thing you are negotiating about. Don’t punch back instead de-escalate and get some time out, don’t make enemies.

Model of negotiation (evidenced based system) – Offer counter offer model
1. Set your target price
2. First offer 65% of target price
3. Calculate 3 raises to 85%, 95%, 100% of target price
4. Use lots of empathy and different ways of saying no prior to increasing counter offer
5. Calculate final price use precise non round numbers
6. On final offer throw in an item (that they probably don’t want)

Identify, utilise & leverage black swans (unknown unknowns).

Ask lots of questions.
Feel for the truth.
Why are they communicating what they are right now.
These can be leverage multipliers.
The party that has the most to lose has the least leverage.

Positive leverage is when you both want something.  For example if you want to sell a car and someone wants to buy it.
Negative leverage if you don’t do this then I will make you … find what is important to them. Note seldom use negative leverage in negotiations due to the paradox of power, the harder you push the harder they push back. 
Normative leverage – show inconsistencies between their behaviour & their usual beliefs

Try to find out you negotiating counterpart’s religion. Review everything you hear and have the team listening.

Similarity principle is to try to gain rapport by appearing similar.

Crazy negotiator has the following potential reasons:
1. Incomplete information
2. Constraint
3. Other interests
They are not always irrational.

Start and end of meetings, this often contains the most valuable information.  One of the reasons why journalists keep their recorders on when the meeting is meant to have ended. Get face time from your counterparts.

Use how and what questions. Throughout life don’t shy away from honest clear conflict.

What we don’t know can kill us or our deals, therefore keep pushing for information.

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