Never Split The Difference Book Summary

Did you ever try and fail to persuade your partner to eat in a new restaurant, a car seller to give you a cheaper deal, or a viable client to sign your business pitch? A lot of us fail to convince people on a regular basis. No matter our effort, our appeals don’t come through.

This is because we aren’t doing the negotiation right.

That’s when this summary comes in. You will learn the secret to a successful negotiation from the one and only Chris Voss, FBI’s number one negotiator for international kidnapping.

Other things you will learn are:

Your strongest emotional characteristic;

What negotiating voice to use; and

How labels can save lives.

Negotiation Happens In All Parts Of Life

It involves more than rationality and intellect.

People often see negotiation is only for corporate board rooms and lawyers. Nothing could be further from the truth. People negotiate in all parts of life. Another way to say it, it doesn’t only happen with the police in hostage situations, it also happens at home, at work, and with your partner and children.

In a simpler sense, negotiation is how you get your way. It’s communicating with a goal in mind. When two or more people need something from the other, negotiation happens. Like wanting a raise but your boss doesn’t want your salary to change. Or wanting your children to be asleep by eight, but they don’t sleep until ten.

Now that you know that negotiation is rampant in day to day life, a good question to ask is what makes a successful negotiator?

It’s beyond mathematical logic and a sharp intellect. People aren’t always rational. Sometimes they don’t act on reason or logic. Even more confusing is the unpredictability of humans. People sometimes act on their irrational animal nature – wild and spontaneous.

That’s what Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist, and Amost Tversky, an economist, discovered after many years of studying. Their collective knowledge defied conventional thinking about negotiation. Here’s what they found out.

In the 1970s, when negotiation was first regarded as a field, it was under the assumption that people acted rationally to their advantage. But according to the Kahneman and Tversky’s research, humans were discovered to be prone to cognitive bias, something that makes us unconsciously irrational.

Together they identified 150 types of biases. One of which is called the framing effect. A concept that explains how people make different choices based on how alternatives are framed when faced with similar options.

In simple terms, to become a successful negotiator, you have to factor in the complexity of how people live. The summaries to follow will help you do that.

To Be A Successful Negotiator, You Must Build Trust And Get Information

A good negotiator approaches a bargaining table to get as much information as he can. This goes for both the situation and the person they’re dealing with. In this process, many new things come to light. Success then entails preparation for curves in the road.

For example, you won’t know what a hostage-taking terrorist desires or how he will behave. You don’t know if he’s armed despite him saying he’s not. He could even give you the wrong information to confuse you.

A true-to-life example is a 1993 robbery where the author was involved in hostage negotiations. A Manhattan bank was being robbed and there were three hostages – two bank tellers and a security guard.

The thief who spoke with the FBI said that there were four of them when in fact he was alone.

His partners just robbed the ATM while he went to steal the whole bank while taking hostages. In retrospect, the author realized that the robber just told him the wrong information to confuse him, as well as his colleagues, to buy himself time to plan his escape.

Getting the correct information is key and the only way to get it is by establishing good rapport with your counterpart. That’s why the main goal of negotiation is to let the other party talk a lot. While she does, you will be able to know what she really wants.

This goes without saying that nobody is going to give you information without trust. That’s why a good relationship is key. If you establish good rapport, you build trust, and you’re more likely to get useful information from the other person.

What’s Next?

Now that you know what the Never Split The Difference book is all about, let’s take a deep dive into the biggest key insights and how you can apply them to get the results you truly want in your life.


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