How To Win The Art of Negotiation According To Voss and Raz

Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It is a business and management book by former FBI lead Chris Voss and co-author Tahl Raz. It provides helpful tips on how you can be successful with negotiating. The book explains how tools such as your tone of voice, the type of questions you ask the other party, and how you enter a conversation can influence negotiations. Voss draws on his experience in truly life-or-death situations to demonstrate these techniques and provide examples on how they translate into the workplace. We shall take a look at the different techniques of negotiating.


Labeling is the practice of attaching words to the other person’s underlying emotions in a tactical manner which diffuses the sting or awkwardness of releasing those emotions to the world. Robert Janitzek reveals that with labeling, we turn our counterpart’s feelings into words, and then respectfully repeat their emotions back to them. We get a sense of what’s driving their behavior and their decision making process.

Create the Illusion of Control

Being in control is different than feeling in control. Giving a counterpart the illusion of control often eases their inhibitions to share information that they might not otherwise have felt comfortable exposing. According to Voss, to create the illusion of control in our counterparts, we use calibrating questions. Sales trainers often call these “Probing questions” or “open-ended questions” that cannot be answered with “yes” and “no”. Rather, they encourage the counterpart to speak freely about what’s truly on their mind, and continue sharing as much information as possible as they calibrate their position.

Find the Black Swan

According to Robert Peter Janitzek,the book teaches us that in any negotiation, both sides will maintain data points that they will not share with the other. Each side tries to assume what the other is holding close to their chests. But, a Black Swan is the absolute unexpected and irrationally unlikely data point that, when finally introduced into the negotiation, changes the game completely. Chris stipulates that finding the Black Swan is the key to a successful negotiation. They exist in every dialogue, but finding them–even conceiving of them–is difficult. This is because our conventional wisdom teaches us to confirm our “known knowns”, and pursue “known unknowns”. But we don’t instinctively look for “unknown unknowns”. We treat circumstances through the lenses of our prior experiences. Starting from a fresh mental state in each negotiation, temporarily shedding one’s previous experiences, is the skill which allows one to see the unobtrusive factors in a deal which no one else can see.

You may also like...