Ep 68. Chris Voss: Playful and Courageous Negotiation
Jul 28, 2016 · 54 min
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Chris Voss (@VossNegotiation) was an FBI special agent (of 24 years) who specialized in international hostage negotiation.

In 2008, Chris founded a business negotiation consulting firm called the Black Swan Groupwhich offers services and learning opportunities to “Anyone who needs to negotiate, persuade, or influence”.

“Everything we’ve previously been taught about negotiation is wrong: you are not rational; there is no such thing as ‘fair’; compromise is the worst thing you can do; the real art of negotiation lies in mastering the intricacies of No, not Yes.”

Whether you have been told that you are already a good negotiator, or if you find negotiation intimidating and uncomfortable, this episode will help you refine your tactics and breakthrough the barriers.


  • 5:30 How does Chris create a playful and relaxing atmosphere for teaching negotiation?
  • 7:15 Why is it a bad idea to wait for “yes” or “you are right” during a conversation?
  • 9:00 “Do you have a few minutes to chat?” turns out to be a terrible pitch when you are trying to get people’s attention and respect their time.
  • 13:00 Common negotiation mistakes people make but are not aware of.
  • 14:45 Difference in negotiation between men and women (and why some answers to this questions could be misleading)
  • 19:15: How does Chris encourage people to learn negotiation? (Comfort is the biggest barrier, not complexity)
  • 22:00 How can people practice negotiation on a daily basis?
  • 27:30 Is it possible to identify and avoid harmful people who are using negotiation strategies for the evil, not the good?
  • 30:30 Origin stories: What was Chris like as a 10-year old boy?
  • 34:30 Significant changes Chris has noticed when transitioning from a FBI agent, to a professor, to the CEO of his own business.
  • 41:30 How did Chris calm himself down during stressful and (often) dangerous situations?
  • 47:15 How does Chris “get out of his own way”? (We are often our own worst enemies and obstacles)
  • 49:30 People & teachers Chris chooses to follow and learn from

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