WATCH: Former FBI employee turns hostage takeover into business makeover

Chris Voss applied his hostage negotiation experience to the world of business


Salon Staff
October 29, 2016 2:15AM (UTC)

Chris Voss, FBI's former lead international kidnapping negotiator, joined Salon's Josh Zepps to discuss his new book “Never Split The Difference." Voss served as a hostage negotiator with the FBI for 24 years and is currently CEO of the Black Swan Group, a company dedicated to solving business communication breakdowns using hostage negotiation techniques.

“There’s this crazy theory that if I get you to say yes to the little things, you'll say yes to the big things,” Voss explained. “One of the things we do is we change the ‘yes’ questions and make them ‘no’ questions, because ‘yes’ is commitment, ‘yes’ is concern ... ‘No’ is protection, when you say ‘no’ you feel protected, you listen more closely."

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Voss also talked about using manipulation as a tool. When he worked at the FBI, he would attempt to find common ground while negotiating with a hostage-taker. This same approach applies to negotiating business.

He also discussed the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ). When asked if people can train themselves to become better listeners, Voss explained that it’s not only possible, but also incredibly beneficial.

“IQ gets you hired, EQ gets you promoted. There’s really ... no limit on what you can do with your EQ."

Watch the full interview below:


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