Do you want to get better at positively influencing those you love? Even your parents?! LOL

Then learn from Chris Voss, former cop turned FBI kidnapping negotiator. What he's learned in his law enforcement practice has transformed his life. He's found his skills, tactics and approach to human interaction effective from customer relations to parenting. Now he's helping businesses apply his principles for greater influence, health, and success. We can take Chris' wisdom to our homes as well to improve our relationships, marriages, and parenting.

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Here are some negotiation basics I've derived from Chris' book, Never Split the Difference:

  • We're driven by cognitive bias, i.e. our subconscious presuppositions which are mixed with our emotions. These instinctual defaults make up the river of consciousness upon which our conscious thoughts ride. If we want to affect each other's rational choices, we'll need to get on the river and not simply what's floating on it. How can we hope to affect where the boat goes if we're not even on the same body of water?

  • Complex hostage situations involve emotional crises; thus it follows that the situation is not one of trying to solve a rational problem. The focus must be on human nature and the mechanisms that affect the emotions and subconscious. Often when we get into difficult relational crises with loved ones, it's because we've been taken hostage by unexamined defaults, outdated rules and limiting beliefs. An emotionally driven narrative is driving us apart. To resolve these tensions and heal these ruptures, we need visibility into the unseen mechanisms and pathways of the interior life. 

  • Framing changes how we make our choices. Making another 10% effort to go from 45 to 55% is more difficult than going from 90 to 100% though both involve the same percentage points. When our frame is too small or the clip we're looking at is too short, our evaluation of current abilities and performance causes us to give up prematurely or not prioritize for effectiveness, which takes time, to occur. Practicing and exercising a fuller perspective keeps our decisions inline with becoming who and what we truly want.

So if we want to effectively influence behavior and communicate with our loved ones, we'll need to learn more about negotiation. Successful negotiation is communication with results. 

A central skill for positive, effective negotiation is tactical empathy. Because the world is not simply a rational place, but very much governed by emotions and subconscious defaults, stop assuming that people should be rational and agree with you; this mindset blinds. Rather, hypothesize what is unseen and experiment; it guides. Inquiry and discovery open us up to different emotional possibilities and help us be intellectually agile.

We do this with active listening and assessing our perceptions with labeling. Labeling is affirming how someone feels by naming the emotion and respectfully sending it back to them. Try these 3 steps:

  1. Identify the others feelings

  2. Label it aloud with, “It seems like, it sounds like...“

  3. Be silent. Wait for it.

Effectively dealing with negativity starts with observing it without emotion and judgment. Then compassionately label the negative emotions being expressed by their words and tone.

What we're really trying to deal with is the amygdala. Labeling helps powerfully undo the power of fear by bringing it into a safe humble space. What exactly are we all afraid of? Feeling insecure and being rejected. We may say we're not afraid of rejection but the reality is revealed by our defenses. When our counterpart feels heard and understood, they're much more ready to show up for positive, meaningful engagement. Accurately and calmly  labeling fears sets the stage for empathy and empathy is a powerful mood enhancer. This opens the way for rational creative thinking. In contrast, when we seek approval based on our own merit, our words, behaviors and actions end up hiding who we really are as well as those with whom we're negotiating.

The sweetest words in negotiation: "That’s right" or equivalent sentiments. "You’re right" is a disaster. "That’s right" is even better than yes because it's the way towards unconditional positive regard and this a game changer; this generates transformation.

Negotiation is never about what’s on the surface. It’s never linear. There are always hidden needs, irrational blind spots, and undeveloped notions. There is a subterranean world of unspoken needs, wants, and thoughts. What are some examples?

  • Misunderstood perceptions of fairness

  • Biased perceptions and analyses of personalities

  • Stereotyping of back stories

  • Immature attitude towards conflict

  • Extreme aversion to pain (physical/emotional)

If we effectively address these, we can help people bend their realities as well as our own.

Compromise driven by fear and hypersensitivity settles for status quo; it’s the easy way out and it is less painful. But we end up as frogs in the proverbial slowly heating pot of water.

Creative solutions through tactical empathy almost always involve annoyance, confusion, and conflict. But we’ve got to embrace the hard stuff if we want to go where the great deals are and that’s what great negotiators do. This kind of engagement is applied people smarts. It's practicing a skill that transforms yourself, your family and even the world.

As more and more parents lead their families in this way, the world will continue to find better and better sustainable solutions to the many systemic problems that continue to plague us.

Ready to commit to growing your influencing ability? Book us time to chat. I look forward to exploring the possibilities!