Book cover for Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, Tahl Raz

Never Split the Difference

by Chris Voss, Tahl Raz



I wasn’t sure at first but this turned out to be a good listen. Lots of helpful considerations for successful transactional conversations. One undercurrent in the book was that a strong negotiation strategy is simply to buy time and extract information from your “counterpart” to aid the process of reaching an agreement.

Odds & Ends

Labelling is an interesting idea. Effectively calling out something for what it is without ascribing blame.

It seems that …

rather than

I think you …

Harks back to non-violent communication with the aim of being as non-judgemental as possible.

Similarly I liked the example Voss gave of showing contrition early if you’ve done something wrong. Getting ahead of the situation and keeping in control.

Mirroring is a remarkable active listening device with a clear benefit.

Voss recommends leaning into the conflict that’s at the core of any negotiation and to see it as a collaborative process to reach agreement.

Calibrated questions should be used early and often in negotiations. Voss’s favorite is the oft-repeated

How am I supposed to do that?

but any open question that draws information out of your counterpart is worth using. Questions starting with “how” or “what” will spark a cooperation for both sides to agree.