Never Split the Difference
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Never Split the Difference

Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It

By Chris Voss

I don't have a ton of experience when it comes to negotiation so I think I came away from this one having learnt a few things.

  1. Negotiation is about discovery, particularly understanding the other sides desires and needs and trying to uncover any potential "black swans" that stand to flip the negotiation on it's head
  2. We're deeply irrational and easy to influence using a variety of common psychological tricks such as mirroring and deploying tactics such as price anchoring*
  3. Deadlines, even arbitrary ones can cause people to be impulsive and make mistakes when negotiating
  4. People will take more risks to avoid losses than they will to realise an equivalent gain
  5. Fairness is an emotional term that can be easily exploited, it can be used to put the other side on the defensive and gain concessions. To counter it, ask the counterpart accusing you of unfairness to explain how you're mistreating them
  6. What and How questions are powerful and can help the counterpart become more empathetic to your position, use it to make them try solve your problems for you "How am I supposed to do that?"

I particularly appreciated Chris' perspective that negotiation is not about two (or more) people butting heads but about finding common ground in trying to reach a particular objective.

The Rule of Three is simply getting the other guy to agree to the same thing three times in the same conversation. It’s tripling the strength of whatever dynamic you’re trying to drill into at the moment. In doing so, it uncovers problems before they happen. It’s really hard to repeatedly lie or fake conviction.

Maybe Fight Club was onto something.

I'm yet to find a better book on the topic, definitely worth a read if you want to learn to be a better negotiator.

*Read Thinking Fast and Slow if you want to know more about these.

Cheers,