Every week I silo for three uninterrupted hours to invest in myself. For this self-improvement exercise, I’ve attended a webinar, read a book, watched a Ted Talk, or sat with a mentor over coffee. If I’m in my office during this three-hour window, my phone is on Do Not Disturb and my inbox is paused.
Two weeks ago I sipped Syrah and read one of the best communication books I’ve ever read. (It was 5 o’clock somewhere.)
I read, “Never Split the Difference: Negotiate As If Your Life Depended On It,” by Chris Voss. It took me two of my 3-hour blocks to finish it, in part because of my waves of notetaking. I am so astonishingly excited about this book that I have to share it with you!
My Review of Chris Voss’s “Never Split the Difference: Negotiate As If Your Life Depended On It.”
I was using some of Voss’s tactics with complete success before I finished the final chapter. The book is chock-full of examples that genuinely teach strategies for not just negotiating better, but communicating better — with a focus on listening, empathy and making a call to action.
Cover to cover, this is a fantastic book that delivers value — my biggest takeaways were the surprise techniques, the high-level of engagement, and application to de-escalating intense interactions.
Voss gives robust negotiation strategies with rung-by-rung application advice on everything from salary negotiations, to paying not $1 more than your bottom-line for a new car or home, to high-level contracts.
What I didn’t expect was tactical advice on such things as “How to Get Any Email Answered,” a tool I used this morning and smiled when the reply boomeranged in less than ten minutes, and how to use empathy to make a person feel heard and understood and to open up to you entirely.
Engaging and Hard to Put Down
I listened to the audiobook, and Michael Kramer delivered a superb performance – credible and entertaining. One con, if indeed it is a con, is that I took 41 pages of notes, copiously dittoing every tactic and scribing examples I want to remember.
I took this book in through the lens of de-escalating intense interactions, a skill I teach, and the tactics are near magic wand useful in pre-empting an escalation and getting a challenging customer to cool from a boil down to a simmer.
Labeling a customer’s emotions (“It sounds like you’ve had a frustrating experience.”), Mirroring (repeating back the customer’s last three words and stating the words as a question), and using tactical pauses are astonishingly effective in talking an unreasonable customer down from the ledge.
I loved the book, and I’ll encourage my daughter to read it before graduating from college. I think you’ll like it and get application ideas as well.
Continue the Conversation With Me?
I talked about a skill I teach, De-escalation, in this review. I’ve learned the most potent de-escalation tactics known from the martial art Aikido, trial lawyers, and law enforcement. And I now add to these insights, skills from former FBI hostage negotiator.