Connect with us

Success Advice

The Two Most Important Words in Negotiation From a Former FBI Negotiator

Published

on

negotiation

Chris Voss has been a part of some tense negotiations. Unlike most negotiations however, when Chris was involved it was a matter of life and death. Currently the founder and CEO of The Black Swan Group, Chris spent 24 years in the FBI.

During his time there Chris acted as the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator working over 150 kidnappings worldwide in some of the less forgiving areas of the world such as the Middle East and Haiti.

Recently, Chris appeared on The Science of Success Podcast with Matt Bodnar and shared the two most important words in negotiation. “The two greatest questions begin with what or how. It begins by inviting the other side to talk, encouraging them even. Allowing them to tell you exactly what it is they want, then ask them how to get that done or “what about this works for you?”. Voss has seen the magic of this tactic, “people love to be asked how to do something…what and how are the most powerful words because they make the other side feel good.”

“Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.” – Dale Carnegie

Not only do these two words draw out more information and begin to expose the other actual desired outcome, but they also cause the other side to step back and examine the situation. “One of my favorite ways of saying no is by asking, “How am I supposed to do that?”” reveals Voss.

There’s two things about saying that. First of all, it’s those words but secondly and even more importantly is your tone of voice.” As with most statements it really depends on how you say it. People can either feel like you are asking for help or making an accusation.

The exact sames words but completely different meaning… with an accusation I’m signaling that I don’t like what you want and maybe even that I don’t like you, which is bad for the communication

Another benefit of open ended questions with “how” or “what” is that it can reveal holes in the other side’s tactics not only to you, but to them as well. By asking the right questions and allowing the other side to step back and reevaluate and articulate their ask. “Look, I can’t do that, and I need you to take a look at the whole context here and I need you to look at me when I say how am I supposed to do that?” demonstrates Voss.

Often times combining this question with the right tone of voice can throw the other side off guard. “It let’s you know that I want to cooperate with you but what you just put on the table just doesn’t work.” The last piece of the puzzle is once you’ve invited the other side to talk with an open ended “how” or “what” question, utilized proper tone of voice, you have to then listen. “You’ve got to show them that you are paying attention and that you just didn’t have a preset list of things that you want to say regardless of what their response is.”

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

So the next time you’re in an intense negotiation remember what Chris and the experts at the FBI do. Invite the other side to lay their cards down by asking open ended “how” or “what” questions and use proper tone of voice to convey your intended meaning. By starting off the negotiation utilizing this road tested FBI strategy you’ll find yourself holding all the cards while the other side scratches their head wondering where their strategy went wrong.

Here, you can listen to Chris’s full hour long interview.

What negotiation tactics do you use in your business? Leave your thoughts below!

Matt Bodnar, named a “Rising Restaurateur Star” by the National Restaurant Association and a “Strategy Pro” by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine, is a partner at an early stage investment firm Fresh Hospitality where he focuses on deal making and strategy. Bodnar is also the creator and host of "The Science of Success" a #1 New & Noteworthy podcast, with more than 1 Million+ downloads, focused on improving decision-making, understanding psychology, and sharing insights from experts. Bodnar previously worked as an import/export consultant in Nanjing, China and spent several years at Goldman Sachs before returning to his family roots in the hospitality space.

Advertisement
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dallas to hyd

    Apr 25, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Very well written. All the very best for further articles. You’re doing a great job.
    Thanks for sharing this article with great information..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

How to Have More Money: 5 Secrets You Need to Know to Be Wealthy

Published

on

how to have more money
Image Credit: Unsplash

Why are some people wealthy, while others struggle to survive, living pay check to pay check?  You can take two people from the same background, even the same family, with the same education and opportunity, and they will get different results. One will succeed, and one will fail. Why? Watching members of my own family get different results even though they were given the same information taught me valuable life lessons about building wealth. (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

6 Tips for CEOs to Master Work-Life Balance

Published

on

how ceos can have better work-life balance
Image Credit: Unsplash

For many CEOs, workdays mostly consist of managing an almost endless stream of emergencies. It can be difficult for them to find time for strategizing, generating ideas, and developing long-term goals because they’re constantly putting out fires. These dueling responsibilities can easily lead to burnout and sacrifices in the executive’s personal life to make more time for work. (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

8 Essential Qualities That Define Great Leadership

Published

on

qualities of great leaders
Image Credit: Pixabay

Who is a leader? How do you identify and differentiate between a leader and a follower? The difference is quite obvious since a leader leads and a follower follows. However, there is more to it than this simple definition. (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

How to Be Patient in Business for Long Term Success

Published

on

how to be patient in business
Image Credit: Pixabay

There’s perhaps no greater skill in business than patience. Some people have it while some people don’t. However, it can easily decide your success. Why is this? For the simple fact that everything that’s worthwhile takes years to cultivate. Name one person that’s an overnight success. There’s no such thing. It doesn’t matter if it was Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett, every successful entrepreneur hustled behind the scenes for years until they blew up. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending