TMBA 412: ‘Never Split The Difference’: A Conversation with Chris Voss

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A few weeks ago on this podcast, Dan and Ian spoke about a failed negotiation that Ian went through when trying to purchase a car.

Ian has said that believed he could have closed that deal if he just used the right tactics.

Today’s guest has spent a lifetime working on negotiations, but he has primarily done so in matters of life or death.

Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator and the author of “Never Split the Difference”.

Since leaving the FBI, Chris has devoted his time to a new business called Black Swan Ltd., which teaches people how to use the skills that he learned during his time in the field to improve their negotiation skills in business and other situations.

In this week’s episode, you’ll hear Chris go into great detail about emotional intelligence, how to choose the right language while negotiating, and why you should never split the difference.


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • The only time that you should be using the word “why” in a negotiation. (6:24)
  • Why the best way to say no is “How am I supposed to do that?” (16:42)
  • The story of a high-stakes kidnapping negotiation. (23:48)
  • How empathy can be a competitive advantage. (37:07)
  • What Christopher hopes people take away from his book. (46:00)

Mentioned in the episode:

This week’s sponsor:

This week’s episode is brought to you by Ahrefs. Ahrefs offers unbelievable tools to help you grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and monitor your niche. Best of all, they are offering one lucky TropicalMBA listener a chance to win a free annual subscription valued at almost $2000. Enter to win by sharing this episode on your Facebook page and letting us know in the comments below.

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST. Cheers, Dan & Ian

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Published on 10.26.17
  • Shared. I particularly like the example of aiming for a “that’s right” from the other party.

  • Matt Elder

    Read through this book a couple of months ago and one of the best books I’ve read in the last 10 years. Great in the interview how you manage to get examples of people wanting to avert loss more than gain. While the idea was in the book, I didn’t think it was particularly well illustrated.

  • PapaJuju

    Wow, just wow. Great episode. Thanks for managing to have him on your podcast.

  • cheers thanks

  • thanks Matt that’s great to hear

  • my pleasure loved the book

  • Britt

    Hi Guys,

    Great episode, amazing how you can frame some questions to get the outcome you want. I have shared the episode here AHREF is absolutely amazing, belows SEMrush out the gate!

  • Jay Mckinlay


    Great listen guys very inspiring! Chris is a awesome man! Defiantly need to get my hands on his book after listening to this.

    AHREFS is something I have trailed in the past and absolutely loved it! it is by far the best link research tool out there!

  • ryannagy

    Holy f-ing mother of god that was good.

  • ryannagy

    Kind of a weird idea, but I was too lazy to go back and find the piece about Ian’s car negotiation. Perhaps you could cut that piece out, replay it and do a podcast or a blog post around what you would do differently now that you know hostage negotiation techniques! Just a thought.

  • Jane Beresford

    Stay tuned. We have something in the pipeline ..

  • Seán Feehan

    Definitely something you don’t hear everyday and it would be interesting to hear how yo guys have practised or work shopped pointers from the book into daily life

  • lol :D

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