DiscoverBuild Your Network273 Chris Voss | Master Negotiations
273 Chris Voss | Master Negotiations

273 Chris Voss | Master Negotiations

Update: 2019-05-20


Chris Voss is a 24 year veteran of the FBI and retired as the lead international kidnapping negotiator there. Chris is a bestselling author and has a company called Black Swan that specializes in business negotiations drawing on his high-stakes hostage negotiation experience. In this, the latest episode of The Only Business Networking Podcast on iTunes, Chris talks to your host Travis Chappell about what to do when someone is haggling over a price with you, the most important tool that’s in a negotiators toolbox, and the only people that you should ever take advice from.

Episode Highlights:

  • Chris grew up in small-town mid-west and worked for his dad with mid-western blue-collar values.
  • His father never asked anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself, but nothing was above him.
  • Chris was expected to go to college, both his mom and dad went and he was expected to be on his own after.
  • Chris knew from an early age that he wanted to be in law enforcement.
  • After college Chris joined the law enforcement but his dad urged him to do federal law enforcement.
  • Chris started out in the FBI and they uprooted him and sent him to Pittsburgh, then New York.
  • He got onto the hostage negotiation team in New York.
  • He had a knack for hostage negotiation but he wanted to be on the SWAT team.
  • He was initially rejected from the hostage negotiation team for being unqualified.
  • There’s no shortage of people who will get good advice and then never follow it.
  • Criticism is the most cowardly form of advice.
  • Working at the suicide hotline gave Chris some of the best experience and training about how to establish credibility, etc.
  • After a year and a half of volunteering on the hotline he started training at Quantico.
  • Chris talks about how his first real hostage negotiation went.
  • There’s never one fatal error, a lot of things lead up to the moment when things go bad.
  • If you do everything you know to the best of your ability and it’s still not enough, you need to learn more.
  • The practices gratification Chris’s team had when working with the team at Harvard.
  • Empathy is not sympathy or compassion, but to use it is a sympathetic thing to do.
  • If you want influence with somebody let them know that you get what they just said.
  • Most people’s motivations are hidden or blind, but when you call them out it bonds you together and gives you influence.
  • The go-to label that will work for you in many types of circumstances.
  • The importance of tonality and body language.
  • How to use calibrated questions and tonality to get the upper hand in business negotiations.
  • There’s great power in deference - ask “how am I supposed to do that?”
  • People love to be asked how to do something and if forces them to take a look at your situation.
  • How to get out of a price haggling situation.
  • Why what you know is more important than who you know but the combination of both is even more important.

The Random Round:

What profession other than your own do you think it would be fun to attempt?

  • X-Games or extreme sports

If you could sit on a park bench with anyone past or present and talk with them for an hour, who would it be and why?

  • His father, to know his point of view of what’s important now that he’s passed away.

How do you like to consume content?

  • Reading real books

What’s one of Chris’s favorite books?

  • Anything by Steven Kotler

Chris’s morning routine:

  • Do gratitude and “get his mind right”

What is your go-to pump up song?

  • U2 Elevation

What is something you’re not very good at?

  • Organization, extended focus

What is one place online where we can find Chris the most?

  • Firefox browser news articles which are curated and out of the mainstream... For information regarding your data privacy, visit
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273 Chris Voss | Master Negotiations

273 Chris Voss | Master Negotiations