352: Chris Voss: Learn to Negotiate Like Your Life Depends on It

A 24 year veteran of the FBI, Chris Voss is one of the preeminent practitioners and professors of negotiating skills in the world. He is the founder and principal of The Black Swan Group, a consulting firm that provides training and advises Fortune 500 companies through complex negotiations.

Voss has taught for many business schools, including the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Harvard University, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, among others.

Favorite Success Quote

“It can’t be that hard” ~Chris Voss

Key Points

1. Just Jump in and Figure it Out 

Whatever it is that you want to do, whatever goal you want to achieve, whatever business you want to start, whatever dream you want to pursue…

Just jump in and do it.

How hard can it be?

If other men have come before you and accomplished goals of the same or similar magnitude, then why not you?

Why shouldn’t you be able to gain the knowledge, skill sets, and expertise you need to succeed?

Don’t overthink it.

Don’t waste time analyzing it.

Just jump in and figure it out.

2. Don’t Talk to Somone. Talk with Them 

One of the keys to great negotiation and communication is that you must talk with people, not just to them.

Too many people walk around running their mouths and talking to people, but they never actually take the time to slow down and listen to them.

They never talk with them to figure out who they really are and what they are saying.

If you want to immediately improve the quality of your negotiations at work, your communication in your marriage, and the quality of conversation with your friends, then start talking with people in your life.

Figure out what really makes them tick.

Delve deeply into the why behind their comments and beliefs.

Become deeply curious about them and you will find doors opening up in some huge ways.

3. Surround Yourself with the Right People

Regardless of your goals and ambitions, it is imperative that you surround yourself with the right people.

People who are smart, hard working, fun, and most importantly… people who know things that you do not.

If you are the smartest person in any room, then you are in the wrong room.

As you progress through life, seek to find rooms that make you more and more uncomfortable. Rooms that are filled with people who are so big and powerful that you are forced to pause and think “Do I really belong here?”

The more that you can surround yourself with the right people, the more quickly you will become the right person in your own life.

So ditch the negative friends and the unambitious buddies from college.

It’s time to level up your social circle and level up your life.

4. Work Hard and Have Fun

The rules of success are simple.

Work hard and have fun.

At the end of the day, if you can do those two things, then you are a success.

If you can show up, put in the effort, get your nose to the grindstone and make things happen while laughing, smiling, and enjoying yourself, then you have achieved success.

To live a fulfilling and rich life, you must work hard.

But you must also have fun while doing it.

5. Take Good Advice 

Most people want mentors.

They want teachers and guides who can help them to achieve their goals and live a 10/10 life.

But when they finally find those people and are given their first challenging piece of advice, they run and hide, ignoring the very thing that could revolutionize their reality.

If you want to succeed, then learn to take good advice.

No matter how hard or uncomfortable it might be, when you find someone succeeding at a high level who has what you want… Listen and implement what they say.

No questions asked and no hesitation.

Influential Books

1. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss

2. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

3. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Chris’s Book

1. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Connect with Chris Voss


Chris’s Twitter

Next Steps

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