Top positive review
Negotiation is about co-axing not over coming, it is about co-opting and not defeating
Reviewed in India on 24 March 2019
"Never Split the difference" is an outstanding book on how to negotiate, written by Mr. Chriss Voss an ex-FBI agent. having read a few books on negotiation, this is quite clearly the best. Mr. Voss is well qualified to write such a book given that he has negotiated over release of hostages in a number of parts of the world and on the other side his involvement with academic institutions such as Harvard.
Fundamental message of Mr. Voss is that human beings are emotional and irrational. Decision making is at the end of the say an emotional decision. The historical theories on negotiations are built on human beings rational and both the sides developing "win win" solutions. However, in a hostage crisis, it may not be possible to have a win win outcome. And therefore the title of the book -- never split the difference.
Mr. Voss's negotiation approach is roughly as follows:
1. Listen to the other party carefully. Mr. Voss believes that people wish to be understood and accepted and listening is the best way to do that.
2. Second thing that he emphasises is to spot the emotion in the other party, summarise/ paraphrase what the other person is saying. Summarising may not be by accepting what the other person is saying but by "labelling it". This way the counter party feels safe, understood and develops trust. This makes the other person more open to ideas.
3. People like autonomy and control. Allowing them to say no is often a great way to understand their reservations and also gives them the feeling that they are in control. Understanding their resistance can open up things.
4. Watch out for the phrase "That's right". Human beings like to be understood and positively affirmed. Once that happens, it is possible to get a positive breakthrough.
5. Importance of asking callibrative questions by using words such as "What/ When/ How/ Who". As the author says, this a way of saying no, without saying no and giving the other person the illusion of control.
6. Importance of the parties feeling that they have been accorded "Fair Treatment"
7. Anchoring proposals to get the desired outcome.
At the end, the author emphasises the importance of self control and emotional regulation and using the same tools that are needed in any relationship of understanding the other party, building trust and rapport, making the other party feel our empathy and then getting them to do things that we want them to do.
The real life examples make this a fun and engaging book to read. It is well written and easy to read. I give it my highest recommendation.