Chris Voss spent more than two decades as an agent with the FBI or Federal Bureau of Investigation where he was a lead crisis negotiator and a member of The Joint terrorist task force. Chris is also the author of a phenomenal best-selling book entitled "Never Split the Difference" in addition he has taught courses in negotiation at Harvard, at Georgetown and at the University of Southern California as a world expert in all forms of negotiation today.

Chris teaches us about how to hold hard conversations where we are seeking particular outcomes or perhaps where we don't know what the optimal outcome could be.   He talks about this in the context of business, relationships, including romantic relationships, familial and work relationships.

He talks about how we should think about ourselves in the context of negotiations so that we can all arrive at the best possible outcomes.  You will learn to pay attention to emotions, not just other people's emotions but your own emotions in order to determine whether or not you are processing the information you're hearing accurately and equally important whether or not you are being heard accurately when you are in a discussion of any kind but especially heated discussions.

Chris also teaches about deception and how to determine if somebody is lying by asking particular types of probe questions.  You will have an excellent understanding of what the negotiation process is really all about and how to better carry out those negotiations so that they can best serve you and others.

First of all just trying to figure out what what's really going on is the real issue.

Then, how can I get an approach where I'm most likely to get the best possible outcome. So there's always more than meets the eye and there's a certain few cliches, but the real issue is there's always a better deal or there's no deal at all.

My first thing is I want to find out whether or not there's a deal at all or whether or not it's a bad deal and then I'm going to walk away really fast because those are going to be complete waste of time.

it's not a sin to not get the deal.
What's the sin to take a long time to get a bad deal so I want to know I'm going to try to figure out real quick whether or not, is there a cutthroat on the other side of the table?

Is it somebody I could trust? I'm getting I'm leaning a little more inclined to dealing with the difficult people now as long as I don't give in so I want to diagnose early on what the possibilities are now.

Another aspect of the mindset is if I'm in a great mood.  Great negotiation is not exciting, it's astonishing. I'm gonna come we're in conversations right now with a possible non-scripted TV show and so I was telling the producers, this ain't going to be Real Housewives.  To make this show properly there ain't gonna be any screaming, it's not going to be Bar Rescue where we're yelling at people, we're not going to be Hell's Kitchen where we're yelling at people, it's never going to be exciting, but it is going to be astonishing.

You'll get outcomes where suddenly you find yourself in a place like what in the world how did that just happen?

I lose a suitcase in an airport the other day and I'm walking into the lost luggage place and I'm in a great mood because I'm home and I'm happy to be home and I'm going to get a good night's sleep and even though it's late in the day I'm just happy and ready to walk into this lost luggage store where these people are children. They expect you, they know that you expect them to wave a magic wand and proof your luggage is going to be there.

When I walk in the doors young lady says 'how can I help you?'

Well first of all how you could help me is obvious because I'm in a lost luggage there's only one reason I'm in here so that's kind of a silly question and I go I need you to wave a magic wand and she just laughs and she looks at me.

She ends up walking me out to the Carousel climbing up on the Carousel and she walks down a ramp the luggage comes out of and I guarantee you they're not supposed to do that and she sticks her head and she looks around. She comes back out and I've never seen any of these people leave the office let alone walk back to the carousel and she says wait here and she she disappears into the bowels of the airport which like looks like a super highway down there right like God knows what it looks like underneath the airport and pretty soon the carousel starts up again and my bag and another bag pops out. I'm like I have never seen anybody do this, ever.

Normally they say 'here's a number we'll call you in 24 hours it might show up at your house' and I look around and there's another young lady there and I say please tell her thank you for me, I gotta go because she doesn't come back out for like almost 10 minutes and on my way out, she comes out the door and she high fives me and she says 'How's that for waving a magic wand?'

And that was the magic phrase and I never would have said it to her if I wasn't playful in a moment.

I've got a couple of others like when I was just playful and I'm joking with people almost at my expense, it's shocking, astonishing what you can get people to do if you hit them the right way.

On the opposite side of that Spectrum if ever you're feeling tense, stressed, jet lagged, angry, I can think about negotiations where people are trying to keep their egos in check they want to be right.

The breakups, negotiations there's not necessarily romantic breakups that could include that but also professional breakups, the the dissolution of a contract or something like that.

do you have a process of doing that?

The late night FM DJ voice.  I'm not sure that I coined the phrase but kind of famous for.

To calm you down also calms me down so if I get bent out of shape I will in a conversation gets heated I'll switch into that voice with the intention of calming you down because that's the hostage negotiator's voice but it'll calm me down too like intentionally going to that voice tamps down the negative emotions which I'm convinced make me Dumber in the moment interfere with my capacity to process information got reasons for that Layman's reasons no scientific academically rigorous studies that have been in any journals well after you're done

Neuroscience behind that late night FM DJ voice having an impact on other people's brains but yeah and I'll do that because it calms me down now if I can if I can make this shift the hard part is to shift into a positive mindset if I can make that shift but I can only make it from a calm voice I also think it's the emotions are kind of a rock paper scissors sequence I don't think you can go from sadness to Elation directly sad um depressed down

I think there's something to getting angry to pull you out of sadness and I think if you're angry you've got to go to calm next and but if I can get out of anger and go to calm then I can say something to myself like the reality, is this is a luxury problem or I was in a negotiation with a counterpart that I knew was deceiving, lying to me and I remember saying to myself. "I'm lucky to be in this negotiation I mean they wouldn't they wouldn't be trying to hustle me if we weren't really good, if we didn't have a product that was phenomenal I wouldn't be targeted at all, so I'm actually lucky to be in this conversation."

If I can make that next shift emotionally then I'm good. The hard part is making those shifts.

We have neurons that respond to different different colors or different angles of light in the room, but what I learned and I confirmed with a good friend of mine, that low frequency sounds of the sort that your voice is that late night FM DJ voice are responded to in the brain by neurons there but the frequency that those neurons fire is also low frequency, in other words, when you speak in your low voice the other person's brain hears that and starts firing in a low frequency tone, in other words it entrains to your voice, not just the timing but it's actually like you're essentially playing an emotional piano down in the low keys of their mind.

When you go up to the high frequencies the neurons can't follow that high frequency so there's something special about low frequency sound that actually changes the emotional tone of the people that hear that low frequency sound.

The content of the words matters too, but anyway there's real Neuroscience to support the voice that you were endowed with and that you employed for your work well and then also the point then too is it's not the other side's not making a choice, it's an involuntary reaction. This is not something one can override except by perhaps plugging their ears. if they're hearing that their mind is getting shifted toward a state of low frequency oscillation which is one of more calm.

I think back to one of the Gulf War campaigns where they weren't they trying to squeeze out Saddam and some of his people by playing like Milli Vanilli at high volume for hours and hours.

Is that tactic actually used?

That was Panama when they were trying to get Noriega. I tried that at Panama and for whatever the military guys they were playing music at and sounds and then also among the many stupid things that the FBI did at Waco then, late at night they tried that in the Waco compound too and it was just that was one of the things that the hostage negotiators were adamantly against, adamantly against but they got overruled by answering command.

Among the many stupid things that was also done at Waco it was stupid it's counterproductive hostage negotiators were always against it.

Waco Waco is Branch Davidians David koresh.  There was a Netflix series that was out about it recently that's fair about the how it went down yeah sad ending he eventually set the the building Ablaze killed himself and everybody else and people inside set the building on fire yeah including a lot of children.

There are some FBI agents that have still not gotten over that luck to talk about some different types.

I think because you're a former FBI negotiator a terrorist task force this kind of thing we tend to focus on the negative negotiations right get the hostages away and we'll talk about that stuff breakups business deals that have gone wrong um people lying cheating what about negotiations that are benevolent let's say that two people want to come to a true win-win around you know what they each see to be their best interests in let's say friendship two friends taking a trip together vacation who's gonna pay for what who's gonna pay up front are people going to pay each other back or a romantic relationship two people are considering  fusing finances to some extent or moving in together.

What sorts of questions should people be asking themselves prior to those negotiations, in particular is it very important that people know exactly what they want going into a negotiation?

I can recall many times when I've gone into life circumstances knowing I wanted a certain set of feelings or outcomes but not being extremely specific about.  I want this salary I want to live in a west facing house on this particular location an exploration of potentials I think can also take the form of negotiation.

How should people think about approaching benevolent negotiations like where we're not talking about something tragic happening if it doesn't go through it might hurt it might be a little bit High friction.

The phrase win-win because win-win is just great collaboration I mean an important fact it should be win-win which might only be emotional win-win.

Now the phraseology win-win I know that if someone's opens a negotiation with me and they say right off the bat look I want to do a win-win deal with you that correlates extremely highly with someone who's trying to pick my pocket.

If you use that phrase in the first five minutes I already know where you're coming from. You're trying to get me to draw my guards you when I lose so and this came up on our Instagram post I put up recently which is essentially- watch out for the person says win-win.  I didn't say win-win is bad, I said watch out for the person that says it.

Also you got to be cautious, if you're like some of the win-win mindset then people set themselves up to just get slaughtered by the person who's expressing a desire for win-win and looking to pick their pocket. Like if I feel win-win in my heart you go let's do a win-win deal, if I don't watch it I'm like okay what do you want and then I find myself giving away the store.

There's a lot behind the win-win phraseology that you have to have a complete understanding of and point of fact both sides should feel good about the outcome and how they feel about it more than really what they got.

In a benevolent negotiation among friends where are we gonna go to eat, where are we going on vacation, what route are we going to take, people really just want to be heard out more than anything else which operationally seems to be I don't understand how it's going to make any difference, makes all the difference in the world and how what's the best way for somebody to feel heard out?

I'm going to start out by describing to you- not telling you- but describing to you what my best guess is on your perspective because it's really calibrating me actually finding out where your position is and the only way I can find out where your position actually is I'm gonna increase you telling me.

If I start taking a guess at it first because you're immediately right away you you immediately going to tell me either I'm right or I'm wrong you're going to correct me.  Correction is a satisfying thing to do and you're going to be much more candid with me if you're correcting me than if I'm asking you and you'll feel good about correcting me so there's all these great emotional lubricants to getting you to correct me so I'm going to start out by saying like here's here's what I think you're thinking here's how I think you're approaching.  this is what I think you're wanting out of this, not what you should be, but what you probably are, based on your perspective and that's going to accelerate the conversation exponentially.

It's ridiculous how much faster things are going to go and then it becomes both an information gathering and a report building process simultaneously instead of separately which is what makes this approach faster even though it seems more indirect so if we're getting ready to let's say you're not going to take a car trip to Calif to San Francisco from here and I'm gonna say all right so my guess is you want to take the most direct route because you hate wasting time and you're probably going to say to me, no I want to go up the Pacific Coast Highway because this beautiful stretch of country like I realize it's going to be a waste of time if we go up the Pacific coast because we got to jump off it at some point but I really want to see the scenery you would have I've taken a guess of what you want and you're going to come back real quick and correct me and then maybe I'm thinking time on the trip but I've forgotten how beautiful it is to roll up the coast and so when you throw that out I'll be like oh yeah it is a beautiful ride and we might not get another shot like who knows what's going to happen.

I know now that we're having a conversation I'd rather run up the Pacific Coast Highway before we go Inland and make the trip and that's how we get to u we collaborate for a bit a better outcome maybe a better idea than what I had in mind in the first place I love that because what you just described is hypothesis testing yes it's the way scientists are training you know many people don't know this but they teach us in science not to ask questions but to start with a question like you know how does how does the brain develop or something and then you say a hypothesis and you test hypotheses and you figure out if they're right or wrong and that takes you through a set of decision trees and you eventually get it what you hope is some core truth and then hopefully others arrive there as well and you get a consensus.

I love the idea of hypothesis testing in fact when you said take the most direct route from where we are now in Los Angeles to San Francisco I like to take one-on-one not the five the five is faster so I immediately think but I like 101. First of all there are a couple really great taco and hamburger spots along the way that I used to stop with my bulldog and yeah also you get to see the coast and it makes those extra two hours completely worth it and so you're exactly right in that working through the decision tree doesn't necessarily mean um presuming that the the hypothesis is right it sounds like you'd be equally okay with the hypothesis being wrong because really what you're trying to do is just learn and in learning set up this collaboration I love that a couple of things first of all when you talk about hypothesis and when when my son Brandon was involved in a company he's on he's out on his own now but he used to always say hypothesis test your hypothesis you always use that term also I'm sure people are noting to not say the words win-win.

When approaching any kind of negotiation what do you think it is about those little um catchphrases that that signal lack of authenticity or trustworthiness because you could imagine that somebody you know I come to you and say hey Chris, like let's do some collaborative thing for social media for podcast and this is gonna be a win-win for both of us. Now I know to never say that with you but you could imagine that somebody really means that yeah but for you it sounds like it's a flag that they're trying to pull one over.  It correlates really strongly with the people that are definitely trying to cut your throat and I've had him admit that to me candidly amazing like I've experienced it like if somebody throws win-win out early to me I'll say all right I think I know where this is going but let me explore it and they'll say yeah you know this great opportunity for you that's another tile and we're going to put you in a room with all these billionaires and there's going to be all this opportunity for you if you just come in and speak and you know we don't have a budget well I've gotten that one before yeah the famous world will just work out in your favor because magic because it's going to work out in my favor right? I mean I've been on the receiving end of those offers many a time.

What sorts of openers do you think established the best Rapport and benevolent discovery of a topic?

Well what I'm saying correlates real strongly with people I want to do business with.  If they figured out something that they know is valuable for me and they've just done it and they've just offered it like right off the bat no strings attached they found a way to drop something on me that's valuable they didn't approach me with their hand out they approached me with some sort of generosity

I think a friend of mine Joe polish runs this outfit called genius Network Joe I believe he says life gives to the giver um I Joe did a bunch of favors for me before I ever joined and he was trying to help me out and get my book sold and he asked me to come in and speak and he he'd done a he emphasized my book on his podcast and different conversations and I you know I I finally paid the fee to join because he had done so much for me.

There's not much Joe could ask me for right now because he's done so much for me that he gets a blanket pretty much yes right away, whatever what do you want what do you need because he's just generous and the generosity approach universally I'm seeing a lot of really successful people that lead by generosity and so if you start out that you know you give me a five star review of the book on Amazon no strings attached or anything like that goes a long long way to somebody who wants to establish a long-term relationship a collaboration.

I grew up in a neighborhood where you'd borrow eggs or milk from the neighbor remember those days I don't know if people do that any longer but I think it falls well into what you're describing.  When you just do things for people out of goodness then you sort of have a history where you could return to that they owe you but there's also just something good about just doing things out of goodness and also not asking for so much and expecting people to provide that.

So I I love that and I actually I love providing good reviews for things I like you know on the phone when you know the airline that we don't do this anymore we book our own flights but anytime I get help on the phone and if it's really great help I'll say how can I help and they'll say oh it would mean a lot if you would send an email to this to my business just saying I I did a great job or something like that and I actually really enjoy doing that so I love the points you're making because they're very actionable high friction negotiations or the types of negotiations where there is the potential for a truly bad outcome right um I know you've been asked this before but some of our listeners are going to be learning about you for the first time.

Do you recall of the many negotiations that you did while in the FBI any one particular negotiation that felt like if this doesn't work out this is really catastrophic and would you be willing to share that with us?

They tried to teach this early on that not everything's going to work out and the second negotiation I had in the Philippines.

The first one, a young man named Jeff Schilling was grabbed by terrorist group, Abu Sayef, and he ended up walking away because we still we stole the bad guys long enough that we just sometimes, if you can slow it down, you wait for something good to fall out of the sky and it will and that ended up happening in that case and a bad guy ends up calling the negotiator that I coached on the phone after it was over to basically tell them that they still had a good relationship. It was nuts.

Why does a bad guy call The Negotiator that was responsible for him losing everything and say you know you did a good job which is exactly what happened so we roll into a case and I hadn't had anything go bad at that point in time the very next case said Burnham some Barrel case by a different faction of the terrorist group 13 months later ends up in two or three remaining hostages shot killed by Friendly Fire uh on along the way hostages have been executed America have been executed early on and it was it was a train wreck and lots of people got killed all along the way and just really ridiculous bad things happening and that that was bad all the way through so we learned you know learned a lot from it went back and checked everything we did and we didn't do anything wrong that we felt based on our strategy didn't didn't miss anything and that was why I ended up going collaborating with the guys at Harvard because my reaction was if this if we did everything we know how to do and it wasn't enough, that means we're not smart enough, we got to get better and so that case taught me a lot about

the Dynamics that really happened on the other side and the difference between whether or not people are really on your side.

The US government was not highly collaborative, the Philippine government was not highly collaborative that everybody wanted to get their pound of flesh out of the other side. I mean just everything bad that you can imagine early on when Grandma Sabero was murdered by the Abu sayif it was a national holiday in the Philippines and the bad guys had a history of killing people on national holidays and we weren't from the Philippines and we had no idea that that day was a national holiday and we showed up at Philippine national police headquarters in Manila and it was closed.

Now we got an ongoing hostage case with bad guys threatening to kill hostages and we show up at the gates and the gates are closed and we're like what the hell's going on here, it was the national holiday nobody's working today I'm like first of all nobody told us that. Secondly I don't think the bad guys really care that it's a national holiday and nobody's working our negotiators nowhere to be found.  We got a guy there that the previous negotiator we worked with Philippine national police was not that happy that they didn't have him under complete control so they give us a guy that will not tell us anything until after he's told them.

So he's having conversations with the bad guys and we're actually hearing about him second hand he didn't show up that day and then and of course that day the bad guys announced they're going to kill uh kill a hostage and give it as a gift to the country of the Philippines because it's a holiday and then go oh by the way they like doing this on holidays and so and and Grandma Sombrero ended up getting his head cut off with the because of all the warring factions on our side of the table not telling each other what the hell's going on.

I had assumed at that point in time that people would tell us the stuff we need to know we didn't need to ask and and after that I got like look there ain't nothing here that I don't need to know I don't if it's a holiday it's coming up then you assume I know you got to tell us.

So really learned a lot about collaboration on our side of the table and also the lack of collaboration on the other side of the table just because we're a mess doesn't mean they got their act together and the bad guys didn't have their act together and ultimately the hostages one of the reasons someone didn't come out because internally they they had double crossed each other so learned a lot about what really fundamental human nature Dynamics are on teams and your team has not got its act together and the other team does not either so what can you do as a communicator to make up for that really learned a lot about that in that case I had cases subsequent to that involving Al Qaeda when Al Qaeda was killing people on a regular basis but we saw those coming and we did everything we could do to keep the train from smashing into US you see a train coming down the tracks you know it's coming down the tracks and you do the best you can to derail it and sometimes you can't the person is on the other side is gambling right they're gambling their their freedom they're gambling their reputation with whoever their reputation matters to is it important to get into the mindset of the person you're negotiating with quickly the indicators are really there I mean once you sort of uh lose your Illusions about how you think things should play out then the patterns of behavior are generally pretty quick and clear and just because you don't like the patterns like with Al Qaeda we recognize the patterns and knowing what they are doesn't mean you can change what they are and Al Qaeda in 2004's time frame was very clear about killing people on deadline and we had to recognize that so there there becomes a pattern of behavior and it's usually specificity in what they say and this is all human nature like if you're in a business negotiation and they say 'we're gonna do something horrible here, we're gonna walk out' that's fairly non-specific and if they say look if we don't get this by this specific deadline if we don't get these specific things met by this specific time that's pretty specific that it's specificity you're looking for it

I learned to look forward in kidnapping negotiations we're working a case again in the Philippines and a bad guy say you know if uh if we don't get a ransom for the sun 17 year old boy at the time is kidnapped you tell his father he's going to lose an egg and that's you've you've euphemism for losing a child and early on when that threat came through on our side of the table everybody's like oh my God they're going to kill him you know this is really bad we got to make sure the family can pay the ransom I'm like no.  It didn't say when it was going to happen they didn't say how it's going to happen.

They didn't say who was going to do it you know the basic specificity of who what when and where like they left themselves and out here a very clear out and we never said we were going to do it we never said when it was going to happen we never said which child you know what they're just trying to scare you they're throwing out something back I said we got we got plenty of time to play with this we gotta we gotta push this all the way through the process into the end now later on in that case when the family tried to deliver a ransom and it was screwed up by God knows who.

The bad guys came up back on the phone and they said if we don't get paid tomorrow your son dies and I said all right now that's specific and these guys sound like they mean it.

So we're going to have to make sure this thing goes down tomorrow or that's the end of this kid. At that point in time we allowed the family we were in a position to allow or disallow we were in a position to offer thoughts and our thoughts were they mean it now and you need to do something now or likely something bad is going to happen and now that they're this serious because you always got to worry about what we used to refer to as a double dip do they take the money and then and they come back and say no, that was a down payment that wasn't the ransom that was just a down payment.

You got to make sure you don't get double dipped. If you let the family pay and you got to give me your honest opinion as to whether or not they're going to let the hostage go if you pay now and our our thoughts were your son's coming out and he did the double dip is a scary thing to hear

about at a much lower level meaning more minor level people sometimes get shaken down online you know like their password will get taken there are people everywhere who go for the click on this link you know you get a text message you know we've identified that your account has been changed verify you click on the link takes you someplace where you put in your login and password and boom it's gone and then they try and sell it back to you typically through cryptocurrency because it's not traceable by the way those those negotiations can be a lot of fun if you let them well I'm hoping that our discussion about this now is going to save some people uh the trouble of having their their accounts hacked I've known people who've had their accounts hacked and these are some smart people but what's interesting is that I've also observed those situations where somebody gets to the point where they say you know I'm just going to give them what they want and I remember in this one particular instance saying no no do not give them the money because then they're just going to say they want more there's no there's no guarantee that they're going to give you back what you want right and

why would they right if you think about it why would they the money funnels in and like they just can pivot and go to the next thing so how do you gain confidence that you are likely to be double dipped or not

first of all I got to find out if you know if they're in a position to carry out the threat or if they're in any sort of legitimate position to begin with you know for lack of a better term it's Proof of Life.

There are a lot of people that are trying to scam you but they don't really have the ability to scam you so you got to find out you know do some confirmation do they do they have access to your account do they do they have your data they have your money do they have it in a position are they just trying to make you believe that they have that position of influence on you

there are a lot of the bad guys out there that are just rolling a die styling for dollars if you will and if they don't scam you when they have no leverage on you they'll find somebody else that'll give in so there's a bit of you know authenticity or or are they in a position to do it and the same rule applies in any negotiation um the other side is going to give in when they feel like they've gotten everything they can kidnappers I'd be asked by an ambassador asked by an FBI Commander when's it is going to be over when the bad guys feel like they've gotten everything they could, not when they did but when they felt like they did.

So our job is just make them feel it sooner. so you know how how hard you make it innocently on the other side everybody everybody wants to feel like they did a they got a good day's pay for a good day's work. So if you let them feel like they're in charge and you make them work by asking them innocent how and what questions which are very hard and fatiguing to answer.

Then you're going to get to the point where you're going to get a solid outcome where you don't get double dipped and they're going to be happy that it's over because they felt like they got everything they could it could be your data could be your bank account could be anything the other side is going to be satisfied with the outcome when they feel like they worked for it and in business negotiations you're selling your car

and some you put a price tag on your car and a guy walks up to you and says I'll give you full amount right now what's your reaction I should ask for more um maybe I won't sell my car you know every human interaction the other side wants to feel like that they earned what they got.

The idea of empathy and hostage negotiations is really just to make them feel that sooner we're going to come back to empathy because it's such a big and important topic but I've heard it said before that if somebody you don't know but maybe also somebody you know places a real sense of urgency on you need the money now or I need you to do something right away or else not a threat of physical violence but that any request for Expediting something is a red flag yeah that it's likely to be a scam.

Very seldom do you need to click on the link within 24 hours. I mean how could that possibly be but that's one way in which people are exploited yep that some request comes in by phone or by email or text or maybe even person somebody says you need to do this right now or else something bad is going to happen, capture people's sense of urgency get them to make a mistake and then they're they're left reeling because that request for something right now or else I think hits a a fundamental nerve in us.

They want to help to be a rescuer.

A friend of mine somebody got a hold of his phone number not thatvlong ago and I was getting texts from his number so I'm like look man I got some real problems look I need some money from you now who's a friend a friend's number and I remember when I first saw it actually if when I first saw it I was really busy and I felt bad that I didn't get back to him that day.

Then I didn't hear from him again and so I thought well whatever it was worked out.

A couple weeks later I get the text again you've got a real problem you got to get back to me right now so I'm I'm I decide if it's really my buddy I am gonna help him right now. I gotta make sure it's really my buddy and I said hey man you didn't raise this at all last time I saw you in Vegas because I'd seen him in Vegas recently and he's like yeah, I was busy I couldn't bring it up and something like ours so there's no direct confirmation or denial we had we had breakfast together in Vegas so then I shoot back I said like and man I got to tell you something that was such a crazy night and I still owe you money from them so that night when we were gambling I I still owe you money I'm happy to help now it wasn't a crazy night it was breakfast and I didn't know money and his next response was like yeah don't worry about it you know you can

make that up from from to me with this.

so I'm like all right cool. Now I start making stuff up and I said you know and when we were with those strippers and that dog and the clown and the pony I'll never get over that and so now the guys what are you talking about and I said by the way and then I started throwing in some stuff about his wife and his mother and the guy got insulted and called me names and stopped texting me and then I then I sent all those text messages to the real guy including you know what I'd said about his mother and he texted me back he's got a great sense of humor he says by the way my mom does think you're attractive oh man I think but I start I started it all by just checking the source if it was my friend I would have helped him immediately and I need to throw something at him that's going to confirm that it's him and then I'm there for him but I'm also going to have put a little bit of a curve in there that that if he doesn't catch I know it's I know it's a con and then I'm gonna have fun with it

incredible knowledge that you know people will hear this and they might think oh you know that's never going to happen to me but like I said I've known family members and friends who they make the mistake they take the bait of clicking on the link and then now they're getting the Shakedown um actually a good friend of mine said that her parents called at some point her parents probably in their late 70s now someone had called their house and told them that their child this woman had been kidnapped and that they needed to send money and that if they called the police they'd kill her or harm her in some way right so they started sending money and they were afraid to contact her and you can see like what a bind a a loving parent would be in right they obviously don't want to get this child of theirs hurt and they obviously are willing to do whatever it takes in order to get them back turns out it was total scam right because eventually there was communication that made me realize that their daughter was perfectly okay and never even interacted with kidnappers so those kinds of scams happen pretty often I've had that happen

The sense of urgency should have been the first flag and look even if they've got your loved one the secondary issue is if you do what they want are they going to let them go which is actually a legitimate question like if they really are bad guys one of the things we learned in hostage negotiation that I applied a business negotiation there are legitimate questions that it's okay to ask you're not being disrespectful you're not pushing back there's there are fair legitimate questions that you can ask under any circumstances which is basically - if I comply is this going to work out the way that you're articulating it anything that adds communication into it which gives you more information to find out what the ultimate outcome looks like even in kidnappings

How do you know that?
How do you know that if you pay they're going to let them go?

That's a legitimate question

There are examples somewhere in between getting your Instagram account hacked your bank account hacked and you God forbid your child kidnapped for instance there's a whole practice within the legal profession of probing to see whether or not somebody is going to give up money to avoid a lawsuit for instance.

This is a actually a lawyer friend of mine recently described their job very well he said in his words first person he said I scare people for money the operative word being scare people it's being an ant being honest yeah he's being very honest he scares people for money and he's very good at it and he understands how other people scare people for money and he works both sides, plaintiff or defense type situations but you know it made me realize that you know a lot of the legal profession is not okay.

The lawsuit slid across the table it's the okay here's what the lawsuit would look like here are all the statutes that potentially were were violated and then there's a probe of like what somebody's finances are and you know how much they're willing to pay and do they have liability insurance do they have an umbrella policy all the sorts of things that are that are really it's not necessarily an illegal Shakedown but it's a probing as to whether or not you know there's it's worth the effort diagnosing the other side's ability to pay you're right and so that happens really often I can give a specific example where somebody had a incident at a dog park where their dog allegedly ran into somebody maybe charged at somebody, dog park people are standing around and the person moved and apparently injured their knee but rather than sue the owner of the dog what they typically do is deliver some set of documents that say I was injured, your dog was responsible for this and if you don't settle up for X number of dollars you're going to be sued for usually an exorbitant amount above that right and then there's this question that the lawyers have to figure out like is it puffery right are they saying I'm going to sue you for four million dollars is there any basis for that?

Good lawyers will say that's puffery they're trying to scare you with a big number but a lot of people see that number and go oh my goodness what do they want you know what like I don't even know if they were injured if they were that's terrible I'd want that taken care of if my dog's responsible I'd want that taken care of but what what do they need in order to make this this go away right and that happens millions of times a day throughout the country and a good portion of those probably happen here in California because there's a that's kind of the way the legal system is arranged right so this is not somebody um you know it could be somebody manipulating the law it could also be somebody who's being entirely honest about their experience of being injured by somebody else's dog so under those conditions I mean it sounds like the same set of rules apply you want to know how serious they are do they have a case so to speak that's the work of the lawyers but in assessing how serious somebody is you said you it's fair.

You called it the f word.  Just ask a fair question like how much money do you think you deserve or would that be a good example of a very direct question or is it How likely are you to walk away if we don't give you the money like you know is there I mean because I can imagine there's all sorts of reasons why people would be dishonest about about answering those questions well and then uh how much money do you think you could deserve, is a really good question, not necessarily what the answer is but how they answer it you're going to get how quickly they fire back and whether or not they stop and think about it.

How and what questions typically are best to judge these other side's reaction and the answer is secondary because the how or what question causes what we would refer to as deep thinking slow thinking Danny Kahneman behavioral economics thinking fast and slow. slow thinking is in-depth thinking.

you ask a how or what question to make the other side think first and judge their reaction to how they think about it and do they actually do they actually think about it or do they fire right back at you that gives you a clearer picture of who you're dealing with where the outcome is going to go how much money do you think that you deserve?

10 million dollars all right so this is I got a Shakedown

artist on the other side or they say all right if they stop and think about it and they give you a thoughtful answer that's a completely different person on the other side you're asking a question to get a to diagnose how they respond first the answer is second and sometimes I if it's a Cutthroat on the other side I'm going to start peppering them with how and what questions just to wear them out that's passive aggression if I got a Cutthroat aggressor on the other side I'm going to drop into passive aggressive behavior to slow him down and where I'm at.

One of my hostage negotiation Heroes a guy named Johnny Pico was John Domenico Pico. Italian Johnny John Domenico got all the Western hostages out of Beirut in the mid 80s wrote a book called Man Without a Gun negotiated in person face to face with Hezbollah the only guy that ever did that got everybody out and in his book he wrote one of the great secrets to negotiation is learning how to exhaust the other side and when you've got a really dangerous adversary on the other side of the table you don't go nose to nose you don't argue you don't you're not combative you wear them out, exhaust them and if you get somebody really combative or Cutthroat on the other side start peppering them with how and what questions, because to even think about the answer it tires them out and it's passive aggressive and it's deferential and it really works.

so if the person on the opposite side of a High friction negotiation is aggressive the goal is to slow things down. fatigue them yeah and get them to just either relent or to reveal something.

“Vision Drives Decision”

Process of Wearing Them Down

The passive aggressive way of reducing The aggressors Stance and I want to highlight for people that what we're talking about here isn't manipulation to extract something we're actually talking about the reverse.

we're talking about a bad actor who's aggressive and trying to de-fang that bad actor.


I want X number of dollars by this date or you're not going to get what you want they're gonna die or disappear.

it's that simple.

How to Wear That Person Down:

They're going to be how questions that are mostly how and what and they're going to be legitimate questions e,g,

How do I know you're going to follow through?

What does that look like?

If I do what you want, how do I know you're going to follow through?

Get them to talk about the alternative.

If you were to deliver by that date I'm gonna pass them to you without fail like if they're just getting kind of brief answers where the person is just again this kind of like rigid Stonewall approach yeah well and so there's a phrase that we use all the time

"Vision Drives Decision"

so if you're really going to comply, if I give in and when I said how do I know you're gonna you're gonna follow through

I'm not talking about the threat I'm not trying to get you to clarify the threat.

I'm trying to get you to clarify what implementation looks like.

I need to know. I'm based on your reaction to that.

If you plan on following through, if I comply you will already have that in your head or be open to it.

Vision drives decision.

You've thought it through in advance.

What does letting the hostages go look like?

If you have no intention of ever releasing a hostage if I follow through then you're not going to be able to answer the question or/and you're probably going to throw it back on me really quickly.

Now I know you got no plans on complying if I give in, you're not going to comply, but you still want the money.

Then I'm gonna ask well how am I supposed to pay you if you don't have any plans for compliance and if you're willing to entertain a conversation about what compliance looks like it was a kidnapping that my unit worked just before I was in it in Venezuela where they weren't entirely sure that the bad guys were gonna the farc I think had had the hostage they agreed on an exchange point to let the hostage go that was some distance from where they had a pretty good idea the hostage was being held so they figure they're not going to drag the hostage all the way to this River Crossing if they're not going to let them go it's just too much effort and then it was one of the few times

there was going to be a theoretically a simultaneous exchange but they're going to have to send the money across the river before the hostage was let go so if we agree to this all right so they're not going to drag this this guy all the way to this River Crossing they don't plan on letting them go and if it's a long way to drag them and they got their money do they want to drag them back like even if they're ambivalent once they get there if they've gone through all the effort to get to the meeting location and the hostage is there we've now just increased the chances significantly they're going to go ahead and comply because it's a pain in the neck to take them back.

This is all human nature investment.

how do you get them to engage in actions and behaviors and then verbal commitments that actually mean something to them when I was working kidnappings the very last thing we always have the family get the bad guys to say it last not first but last.

We'd actually get a verbal promise to let them go again at the end because we've been talking to them long enough at this point in time.

We got a pretty good idea what they sound like when they're lying and what they sound like when they tell the truth.

if somebody tells the truth they pretty much tend to tell the truth the same way every time. if they tell the truth you talk to somebody long enough you got a line on do they ever tell the truth and if they do what does it sound like?

People lie 20 ways, they tell the truth one way.

so we've been coaching the negotiations with the kidnappers long enough that we know what they sound like when they tell the truth. so when they ask at the very end if we paid you promise to let them go it's not the answer but how they answered it and that'll be the last thing to seal the deal.

How do you continually stack the odds in your favor for implementation?

We're teaching people to learn the difference between your gut and your amygdala for lack of a better term, your fear centers and know which one is which and listen to your gut.

Your gut is ridiculously accurate now where where does that information come from one of your podcasts recently I was listening to who were talking about olfactory juice right the smells like pheromones and that's why some of the great investigators I knew would say I can just smell it. I can smell it

so what all is feeding your gut and what are the senses that the science hasn't yet discovered.

We can pick up on the energy. Our gut is being fed by all these different inputs that we're aware of or that we have yet to be made aware of that tonal voice doesn't match their words, the head tilt you've got a super computer in your brain your gut is incredible if you could listen to it instead of your fear centers and as soon as you start listening to your gut - you can't explain it at the time but you got a bad feeling in your gut and later on then you saw it all it all came together where your brain was picking up these cues your brain was probably when you're in their presence there's got to be an odor somebody gives off when when they're intentionally deceiving you, don't you didn't know that that was a smile and maybe you you couldn't have consciously smelled it but you're still picking it up so long answer to I'm a very big believer in in the gut I think there's science that we know and yet to discover that tells us that the gut is just ridiculously accurate if we listen to it instead of our fear centres.

A beautiful paper published in one of the cell press journals a couple of years ago showing that when people listen to the same story the distance between their Heartbeats tends to be very similar.

now it doesn't mean that their exact heart rates are similar but if you look at the distance between their heartbeats they all entrained to the same Rhythm. the same song and they're in completely separate rooms.

These experiments are being done on completely separate days and yet if I were to line up the distance between the heartbeats for you they would line up like a set of columns for dozens of individuals listening to the same story

so you know clearly there's a passage of energy from things we hear and things we see that goes into our nervous system at a level that's below our conscious detection.

Dr Paul Conte said we all think that the forebrain is the super computer right he said no the subconscious is the super yeah yeah that's where the real knowledge processing is happening that's the iceberg below the surface where all the real heavy lifting has taken place and that people who learn to tap into the subconscious can learn to use that information in very meaningful ways and I think that's what you're describing.

We all hear that the the forebrain is the super computer it's what drove our Evolution he's like no no no it's the subconscious that's where our real wisdom resides and the forebrain is just the implementation device so it's how we can convince ourselves that that we're in charge.

When you're doing Face-to-Face Negotiation, negotiations and you're hearing somebody's voice on the phone there are a lot of cues when you're face to face there are additional cues there's their face and then of course if the negotiations are being done by text over a computer or a phone it's a very diminished environment for information so maybe we could talk about each of those because we live in those Landscapes.

if we're face to face and we're negotiating you're listening of course to what I want, what I'm insisting on you're working that process from your side what are you paying attention to visually it's more are things in alignment

I tell people the most important issue is do they line up so I'm not going to look for like when do you raise your eyebrow or when do you look up into the left I'm really just going to try to get a gut feeling whether or not I think these things are lining up whether they're in alignment whether they're out of line and then I'm going to be real careful about what meaning I assigned to that affective cues changes in your tone of voice changes in your movement and that's one of the reasons why we don't teach reading people's body language because it's completely contextual to you and the moment so if I convince myself that a raise of the eyebrow means this it's out of context I was in a negotiation once where I threw out a figure to somebody and I some kind of look off to the side and look back and accepted my offer and I made the mistake of not saying to them the appropriate thing for me to say at the time would have been seems like something just crossed your mind because you only completely true observation if they look to the side and look back something crossed their mind.

now I read it at the moment of saying that they had more money foreign they were stretched to the Limit the look of hesitation didn't mean that they were holding stuff they were holding stuff back but I read

it wrong and I didn't bother to check on the affective cue that I saw.  If we're in a negotiation and whether or not I'm listening to your tone of voice or watching your body language or your words if I see you shift at all I should pay attention that there was a shift in your affected Behavior but I need to find out what was behind it as opposed to making an assumption as to what it meant.

I'm going to watch, I'm going to get my gut feeling and I'm going to say 'sounds like there's some hesitation or it looks like something just crossed your mind' or even if I can't attribute it to specific affective move I might say it feels like there's something in the way here.

That's me listening to my gut all throughout an observation on whatever any of those might be just to go back over the ground a little bit and double check because the other thing about negotiating in person is you're going to give me more information physically than I can actually process and if you say something that's thought provoking I'll stop and think about it and while I'm stopping and thinking about what you just said I'm missing all your cues so all the skills that we teach the labels the mirrors the open-ended questions which seem like we're going back and plowing the ground again we are because I didn't pick up all the information the first time there's just more than I can get and so I need to go back over it a couple of times with you just so I get it right without making you feel interrogated you actually feel heard and you actually get to go back over it again so it becomes what seems to be an inefficient process but it's actually me just double checking my information so if we're face to face I'm gonna I'm gonna ask you to repeat but I'm not gonna say 'would you please repeat that?'

I'm going to get you to repeat without asking you to repeat.

The same thing is true Online/Text Communication; “Straight Shooters”

the problem with online and text is people try to bundle everything into one communication. The best analogy I can think of is if you're playing chess by text would you put seven moves in your in your text?

No. You'd only put one move in so only try to get one point across in a text don't explain don't throw a whole bunch of stuff in text or emails they're all almost always too long and it's going to come off as cold so do what you can to soften soften it

There's a documentary film that's been done on my company called Tactical empathy nick anton uh 122 23 Emmys I realize there's a huge problem I've already told them it's okay

so I gotta get him I gotta I'm gonna text him and then I'm gonna call him and we got to fix it now it's a Sunday text message I sent him a two-line text it's now bad time to talk I get something you don't want to hear two lines now what were my other options I could have called him Nick and I got a great relationship I call him if he's in a position to pick up the phone doesn't matter what he's doing he's going to answer the phone he was in the middle of a zoom call if I'd have called he'd have picked up during the zoom call and both conversations would have been bad he immediately fires back to me I'm in the middle of a zoom call

I'll call you in a half an hour he already knows he ain't gonna like what he's going to hear I'm prepping him for bad news get him on the phone like look I know what I said.

We got a problem.  We got to get Derek on camera. Derek is a guy in my team and I I'm shocked that I haven't mad him part of the documentary this is going to be incomplete without dare we got to get Derek on on film we can't show this to anybody else until we get him on film and make a part of it immediately he's in problem solving mode he goes okay I got to get a crew to Derek or get Derek to a crew I need to know when we can do that I need to we gotta we got another showing of the film scheduled in La less than a month away he says I got to get Derek on camera and we got to edit it it's going to take three weeks of editing I said I'll get you access to Derek's camera he goes done or there's calendar he says done it's done we go through this whole conversation in less than 10 minutes now think of the normal negotiation

hey Nick how are you what's going on today are you in a good mood? hey, how the kids doing? All this time wasting conversation if I'd have set him up with that normal he would also he he could have legitimately said are you out of your mind, we've been working on this for a year you didn't bring this up in a year not only that you already told me two days ago at the at the showing in in Vegas that you loved it and now uh a year year and a half into this project you're bringing up all these new problems that would have been the normal negotiation but since I since we got a highly collaborative relationship I two line text we're done in 10 minutes

now since Nick's a very generous guy when he gets done and he says by the way you understand how much this is going to

cost me it's just three weeks of editing this is three hours of shooting and three weeks of editing I go yeah he goes but I'm happy to do it calls me back the next day he's got a favorite asking me you got it doesn't matter what it is because we'd gone through what would have been a very complicated negotiation that started on taxed and I sent him a two-line text on a Sunday and we got to solve that fast so if I understand correctly by setting the context in a very direct and succinct way right he goes into it in a problem-solving mode with you whereas if you do the um the tour of all the things that are

going well in life yeah yeah the sort that's of the mud sandwich.  This is not that what you're talking about is saying hey this is the problem you're not going to like the problem or there is a problem you're not going to like it so that they show up with the context of solving a problem as opposed to giving them the tour of all the things that are going well and then the problem is really in contrast to that and then it's like what you're describing is it's

it's just it's direct it's honest you're not doing the uh the tour of the garden before you take them down to the septic tank it's what I would call the difference between being blunt and being a straight shooter a straight shooter tells you the truth they just tell it in a way that lands.

Softly let's talk about breakups business breakups romantic breakups

Break-ups (Romantic & Professional), Firing, Resilience

What is the process of ending a relationship and again this could be a romantic relationship could be business relationship it could be employer employee could be individuals could be telling a whole group or an entire group telling an individual you know the reason I raise this as a particular example is that I'm assuming that both sides don't want the same thing.

one side wants to continue the other side wants to end right I'll avoid the use of the words win-win and just ask is there a way to have that conversation in any of the contexts I just mentioned in a straight shooter manner where it's direct, it's honest but it lands soft because what we're talking about here is feelings of rejection and nobody likes feeling rejected.

I don't know anybody that likes being fired even from jobs they don't like people's egos suffer right so is there a maybe a more specific way of asking the question is, is there a way to encourage the person getting the bad news to get their ego out of the way and see that if both parties don't want it it's best for everybody involved I almost want to say no uh but first what are the caveats most of the time when people are struggling with this they're not trying to save the other side they're trying to save themselves so who you really trying to save by postponing its softening it you know trying to act like it's something that it's not

like they're I don't know that anybody has ever been fired that didn't have a sense that it was coming the person that was getting ready to fire him opens up by saying how are you

and they know how the other person is and a person getting ready to get fired has got some gut instinct that things are going wrong like you said the gut's very powerful so you got to lower the boom as quickly as you can but also as gently as you can.

I was involved in a non-profit a number of years ago uh affiliated with church and we're trying struggling with whether or not to let the executive director go I go to the minister of the Church, Norman Vincent Peales Protege, a guy named Arthur calliandro one of the best human beings I've ever met in my life phenomenal guy and I'm struggling with I thought firing letting this woman go was going to be bad and I thought Arthur was going to counsel me a way out and he looked at me and he said there's 'there's no gentle way to cut somebody's head off' and I thought yeah the Humane thing here is how do you bring it to conclusion as quickly as possible because there's no humane way to cut somebody's head off there's no humane way and to terminate the relationship now what are the caveats maybe there are first caveat if you're going to fire somebody never fire somebody on a Friday fry them on a Monday find them on a Monday they got a work

week to work their way out of it you find them on a Friday they get a weekend to be miserable and feel horrible and they can't do anything about it caught off guard or not on a Monday they can pick themselves up they can start looking for a new job. warn them it's coming the people are ridiculously resilient to pain if worn and then that you lower the boom you're not going to like what I have to say it's going to be heartbreaking you're going to hate me hesitate no more than three seconds they got their guard up let them have the bad news that's the humane way to cut somebody's head off.

don't make don't linger don't make them think that. How are the kids? How are you? I care about you you're a great human being none of the stuff at the beginning warning bad news is coming and hit him with the bad news rip the Band-Aid off the pain is not if you try to rip the Band-Aid off slowly that's excruciating you're trying to save yourself so if you've got to terminate a relationship regardless of what it is the quicker it you do it the less painless it is.

The Sooner people can move on stop trying to save yourself realize how human beings handle pain if anything human beings are incredibly resilient if given the opportunity to brace themselves first

Ego Depletion, Negotiation Outcomes

There's a concept that a lot of people haven't heard of and I'm confident in saying that because I hadn't heard of it until recently despite spending a lot of time in the literature around dopamine and motivation and it's a term from psychology that is being used a little bit more now and it's ego depletion yeah it's an interesting concept and I've been wanting to run this by you for a while but I saved it for our discussion today it turns out ego depletion is a lot like decision fatigue.

We've all heard the Steve Jobs thing you know he wore a black turtleneck every day because it you know he didn't have to make that decision so he had more energy to make other decisions I've been accused of doing the same because of my black long sleeve shirts but there's a whole other reason for that that um some people might know but anyway it's unimportant

in the moment but ego depletion is a little bit different than decision fatigue or decision budget the idea with ego depletion is pretty simple it's that the molecule dopamine does many things in the brain but one of the things that it absolutely does is it holds us to goal directed Behavior that's associated with a sense of self like I want to accomplish this I want to get to that and the whole notion of ego depletion involves the the idea and this has been a data substantiated observation that when people have to fight to be right or to defend their position for a period of time eventually that depletes and it seems to be at least in part dopamine mediated because defending one's position takes work right you earlier you talked about running somebody down, wearing them out.

It's different than the kind of fatigue that comes from a conversation that starts at there's two kind of Hostage takings if there's a demand and it's going to be contained and uncontained which is just literal definition contained as bad guys in a bank like at the Chase Bank in Brooklyn way back when you got them surrounded they can't get away and uncontained as a kidnapping you don't know where they are uncontained unknown location we're going to try to get our way in a contained situation probably by ego depletion wearing them out get them to the point where they just I just they're just going to give in because they're tired because they're going to come out we're going to put handcuffs on them um which means that if the ego gets recharged they're going to go back in there think they're going to think back over the deal so wearing somebody out in a business negotiation it's basically uncontained because even if you come to an agreement there's a whole implementation phase they're going to you did you did you get

the agreement because you warm up because they get tired because he just gave in at some point in time they're going to get recharged and they're going to get recharged while you're in implementation so they're either going to not going to follow the terms of the deal or it's the slightest opportunity they're going to deviate and so yeah I think ego depletion is a real thing and it's a bad way to get a business deal that's going to stick because they rest and then they come back a different person. they're going to be recharged their ego is going to be recharged and if you got the agreement based on a depletion of the ego that battery is going to get charged back up again whether it's a business deal whether it's a personal negotiation.

You have a disagreement with your significant other and you follow that bad advice don't go to bed angry and so you stay up till three in the morning and you think you come to a resolution everybody gets a good night's sleep the next day they feel completely differently about what they said the night before.

I might have heard of that happening once or twice it's not in a movie right yeah I saw it in a movie like a friend explained that situation to me um earlier you mentioned

Labeling approaching a conversation in a playful way right like all right you know this might even be life or death but let's play this like a game because you can see more opportunities now we know that when we are relaxed we see the big picture when we're tense everything Narrows there's a tunnel vision tunnel thinking tunnel everything we lose access to the full tool kit so you obviously take really good care of yourself you're fit you're in shape you always seem calm I'm sure you have your moments like anybody else.

what are some of the things that good negotiators do all the time so that when the bell goes off and they have to respond they are ready  we get the warning but more often than not it's a phone call or a text and it comes in and boom it just hits us and suddenly we are in negotiations and we didn't get time to prepare right so maybe we could talk about readiness and then we could talk about again like maybe this sounds trivial to you but for me I'd be very curious to know whether or not you have any practices of stilling yourself what those look like what you've seen other people use to to be able to get themselves into the moment of being able to show up their best self.

Readiness small space practice for high stakes results like I will occasionally find myself in the middle of a negotiation that I didn't expect if I've been throwing out stuff on a regular basis on my way during the day verbal observations what we refer to as labels because the label seems like something just crossed your mind is a label in the middle of a negotiation when I see you hesitate or look to the side how do I get ready for that. I'm on my way over here to this interview I'm both talking to my Lyft driver the whole way getting them to talk also being careful about not tapping the gas tank out completely so that I'm fatigued when I get here like I talk about the Lyft drivers on a regular basis interactions TSA guys in the airport I'll throw a label at them seems like a tough day seems like you're in a good mood and whether right or wrong I'm getting in I'm trying to stay loose I'm trying to keep the mental muscles limber and it just becomes a bit of a habit on a regular basis occasionally.

I'm talking about Lyft drivers like if I'm in a bad mood I get into a lift couple of weeks ago on my way home Lyft driver is not helpful I mean I'm coming out of the airport I'm struggling my bags not lifting a finger it doesn't open up the rear I gotta open up the rear of the vehicle myself I got to load the bags everything I get in and he's just seething unhappiness

now I know that if I say what do you love about what you do for a living I immediately trigger what Tony Robbins would call a state change and I'm annoyed at this guy and our pheromones are combative but I'm thinking like I just don't need this and so I go what do you love about driving for left this guy proceeds to unload on me on all his personal struggles that I feel like a complete jerk for being angry with him at everything that he's going through and I'm just trying to get myself out of bed out of a bad mood and to keep from sending him a really negative vibe the whole way so that he doesn't drive 45 miles an hour in a 65 mile an hour Lane and make it you know inflict me with a longer and more expensive ride because I'm so annoying as a customer but I've got a habit of small Stakes practice for high stakes results and who do I get to practice on the Lyft drivers on a regular basis the guy behind the counter at the hotel uh the TSA guy I'm going through TSA the

grocery store clerk the Starbucks person the only way I'm at my best in my negotiations is just trying to keep my negotiation muscles limber by interacting with people throughout the course of my day and then ideally you know leaving them better than I found them you know try and try not to leave negative karma in my wake trying to leave as much positive karma in my wake as possible I love that and I'm very familiar with the feeling of needing to conserve my voice for podcasting or energy for things and yet I'm somebody who's I think genuinely curious about what people's experiences are so I like the question, how's your day going it's pretty open-ended it's I suppose if somebody was really upset that would be perhaps the worst question I could possibly ask from what you just described but I don't put a fine point on it too because like I've manipulated him with what do you love about because there's it you watch them change in the moment to immediately shift into this concept of love which is more than like what do you like about driving a forklift what do you love about driving forklift I can trigger a state change in you instantaneously no matter what kind of mood you're in because this guy was in a very bad mood

plus, additionally the download from that typically is so quick I'm going to get a real clear picture on who you are really really fast I'm talking to a CEO of a company a couple of months ago they're they're the you know for lack of a better term they're delivering clean water to the world and I'm like that's a cool Mission like I dig this as an entrepreneur want to make a dent in the universe I dig that like I'm trying to make amdifference in the world so I say to him what do you love about what you do for a living immediately fires back at me I love leading teams I Love Leading teams and I love giving shareholders a great return on their investment it's really important for me to give shareholders a great return and then yeah you know we deliver water and then he said a fourth thing and I thought this guy could be doing toilet paper he doesn't care about the mission of the company at all he's a great CEO probably because you want a CEO to lead teams you want a CEO to deliver a corporate CEO to deliver a return on investment for shareholders but that's why he's a great corporate CEO and not a great entrepreneurial CEO so by him giving me that download real quick that was blatantly honest like do I think this is a great guy yeah do our core values line up my mission is more important to me than his mission is or his mission is making money now I like making money but it's not number one it's a strong number two but that question instead of how are you today to what do you love about you immediately put them in a better place plus you get some ridiculously candid answers that tells you who they are real fast what is the best way to approach our response to somebody who's asking to be heard perhaps they've got complaints maybe about us maybe about somebody else you know people are venting right people seem to vary on the propensity to vent Spectrum some people just you know they vent all the time this happened that happened and you know and they want to complain you know the uh the way it sometimes describes they love to take other people's inventories they love to take inventories of everybody else's mistakes they did this they did that um you know it's it's a lot easier some often than taking our own inventories of what we could be focused on and do better that's that's a universal truth in my mind but you know people approach other people that they trust and they want to vent

presumably to get over whatever it is that is bothering them but all too often it seems to just amplify the feelings of frustration what do you do when somebody you care about and that cares about you comes to you to vent is it just you let them you let them vent or do you um do you try and let them negotiate with themselves a little bit in a way that could help them more than if you were to just let them vent

I'm really leery of letting people vent because a lot of times it just they never it seems to be a spiral that just spirals out of control so how do why is somebody vented they don't feel hurt they feel ignored they feel like they've been wasting their time talking they're frustrated that's the feedback I'm gonna give you feedback on what I'm guessing cause is causing you to vent in just an observation like it sounds like this is driving you crazy because nobody listens to you sounds like you've been struggling with us for a long time sounds like this is very frustrating for you.

What's the emotion the particular negative emotion?

Frustration is about somebody being denied a goal in the future.
Anger is about somebody who's upset about something happening in the past.

The type of negative emotion begins to focus you in on where.

Is it Forward Thinking or is it backward thinking and frustration and anger can be two very different versions of the same negative emotion but they're focused on different points in time.

I'm going to try to intuitively, if I don't know from what you've told me, I'm going to start taking educated guesses on making an observation on what it is that's driving you.

If you need to vent you've been talking and people been ignoring you or you've been taking actions and people have been ignoring you it's a it's you need to vent because your communication reactions have been ignored there are some Clues here and the sooner that I get at the heart of what's bothering you the sooner you're going to be able to let it off so I'm going to encourage letting the steam off without trying to correct you without giving you advice um without frustrating you by not listening to you by trying to recognize verbally what some of the motivators are which will deactivate the anger much more quickly it's the whole basis for a crisis hotline to begin with people are venting and so how do you most effectively vent somebody so that instead of going on a rant for an hour and the rant introduce toxins into their system where they're poisoning themselves I think negative emotions put toxins in our system you know how do I deactivate that as quickly so that you're not hurting yourself as much and and you you feel heard you feel relieved you feel listened to and if it involves me, if it's a close friend who's venting to you, you're involved in a situation to some degree and I might even say boy it feels like you're probably frustrated because I haven't listened to you up to now you know I'm going to talk start taking some emotionally educated guesses on what I think is driving you and I'm gonna put in the form of a label which is just an observation.

Seems like sounds like looks like then if I get it wrong and you go that's not it at all I can say well that's just the way it seems it just seems that way it puts you in a position to to just let somebody know you see them and you're doing your best to understand I'm I'm not a fan of venting I if if I go on a rant personally I always feel worse so I want to deactivate that negativity

so I can get get my feedback under me emotionally very useful knowledge you just shared with us do you meditate tiny little bits I mean and trying to make my day more effective I have a gratitude exercise that I do almost every morning other ways to make myself effective I actually I'm looking at the non-sleep deep rest practice over the because I like to make use of my time so and you know I'm spiritual so I'm talking to the almighty on a regular basis you pray I do yeah the morning and night when you need to both. I think you know whether or not you believe in one God or the universe or whatever it is I think spiritual spirituality is an important component of Health whatever your spirituality is you should recognize it and you should you'll be better off if you engage in some sort of a spiritual practice doesn't have to be any of the three major religions you know but spirituality is a component of who we are so yeah I practice it on a regular basis.

so a sense of higher power or to better Define higher power it could be as you said with aligned with conventional religion or just aligned with the idea that there are things outside of us that are important to pay attention to that we can all do better by being in recognition of or service to or or both yeah something like yeah pretty much pretty much like that and then leaving it as open as possible because there I think there's a spiritual nature to us.

Sports Athletics Fitness was always a part of my life I was into sports but not particularly good at them, football basketball then you know I'm a last century guy so long before the conditioning is involved as evolved as it is now with interval training and the rest of this stuff which is phenomenal, weightlifting was introduced to my high school my senior year you know I lifted weight some continued through college a little bit of time in a martial arts ripped my knee apart in college in the martial arts but yeah Fitness has always been a part of my life as much for liking to be in condition and spiritual regeneration of it whether I knew what it was or not

We've been talking about the mental and fatigue status of the people you're negotiating with oftentimes during this conversation but then of course there's how you show up to the job I mean if you're run down three days and you've been in a fight with your spouse and that's still in the back your mind and you're hungry, tired, sick, not connected to your higher power all those things that there's no way you can be as effective at any job so I it's great to hear and not surprising to hear that you have um Bedrock practices that you you implement actually taking care of oneself so that we can show up better for everybody else more energy more capacity more staying power to have those hard conversations with the people we care about and that move

our life forward so it's really refilling the the fuel tank in my mind as opposed to the kind of egocentric narcissistic stance that a lot of people take towards that they and and I understand why they do you know people scroll through Instagram and they see people selfieing every muscle but at the end of the day self-care is about being more ready to do better for the world if you're or if you're Mission oriented.

Recall one of the longer negotiations that you had and how do you sleep at night Midway through a hostage

crisis um so the longest one that I was I was directly involved in on almost day to day and hour to hour one when it went about three-ish days Washington D.C 2003 start of the second Iraq war guy named Dwight Watson rolled the tractor into the middle of DC and claimed he had four bombs and he left four bombs scattered around the city.

he was bluffing he hadn't done either and started on St Patrick's Day kind of interesting a couple you know like that like the thing in um uh you said in was in of the Philippines it's like national holiday yeah holiday right interesting uh for a whole bunch of reasons now I and and I had to go home and go to sleep uh when one night and when we're in the middle of that and then it was just I don't remember having trouble going to sleep because I felt like I did a good job and that we handed I handed the shift off to another hostage negotiator for the bureau was effectively the team leader of Vince stefanzo and Vince was bringing a negotiator so and the team that he was with I you know everybody was in good hands as a matter of fact Vince almost kicked

me out of the scene because I didn't want to go and he just kept saying go home get some sleep go home get some sleep and finally the fifth time he said it to me I went home so I felt like I was leaving things in really good hands and we're working kidnappings we expected them to go for long periods of time and you just you just kind of gotta it if you have faith in the process and you feel like that you're doing the

best it can be done then I think you could sleep at night I guess to answer that question

you have to be careful whether you're working a a case of Siege or anything in in the bureau that you don't run yourself into the ground and there was some cases I worked in the 90s where we knocked ourselves out like we would we worked harder anybody

we ever saw but we occasionally we took time off too you know I worked with guys that realized that sometimes you got to go out and have a beard kick back and blow off some some steam so I think everybody that I ever worked with were occasionally cautious enough to recharge the batteries and then depending upon the nature of the challenge in front of you it was a Siege in Saint Martin's Parish and went six days I don't think those guys got a lot of sleep but the nature of those sieges in that particular type of sea generally lasts five or six days anyway you just gotta gut it out that you might have to get some you might have to orchestrate an assault of some sort I was fortunate enough early on in my training there's kind of a famous Siege in hostage negotiation history in London called a princess gate Siege where a legendary British hostage

negotiated David Van Ness had the bad guys on the phone while the SAS was hidden hitting the building and I remember that we were shown like look there may come a time when you have to keep somebody on the phone when SWAT comes in that goes with the territory. so expect that's a possibility from the very beginning and it was a great Siege the bad guy Saleem the photos of him after he was shot the phone is within his reach David kept him on the phone I've heard the tapes

the breaching explosions were going on and slim says I gotta go I gotta go there's suspicious noises and David Van Ness in his classic British accent said Salim there are no suspicious noises now let's get back to talking about how many people are going on the bus to the airport bam and they went in and I caught up with David a number of years later I had a FBI pres I had a presidential intern from the White House internal with me in the bureau we're drinking in a bar with David Van Ness I got a lot of stories where I'm drinking at a bar with somebody and the intern walked around everybody and tapped David on the shoulder and he says Chris says you kept the Terrorist on the phone up to the moment that the SAS came in the door and David says yeah and I already kept him on the phone even longer if the SAS had hadn't come in so soon.

Why am I telling that story?

if you're going to get into that line of business you got to accept all the things that go with it and realize that it's not you that made the decision, somebody else did. You got to implement the strategy.

You remember a case in Sacramento where I think it was a youth gang took over like an electronic store Good Guys was the name of the electronic store good guys with electronic store and bad guys uh so to speak went in there took them hostag, I remember that case 89 or 90.

As I recall they ended up opening fire on a bunch of hostages who were laying down on the ground is that right they knew that they were getting ready to execute the hostages because they put bags over their heads and that whenever the bad guys do anything to dehumanize a hostage it's easier to shoot somebody with a bag over their head than it is not because you can't see their face and so the bad guys had begun that process and they knew they needed to assault.

I would hope that thinks listen this person is an aggressor there's a gun in my face don't be an idiot right because we also have heard of the case in New York City that I read about this in the newspaper so presumably it's true where someone was held up at gunpoint and one of the women in the group that was held up said what are you gonna do shoot us and the person shot them right.

so that happens too so I don't know if there's a a fair and safe answer to give people on this but if you're told to do something by somebody and it's all happening in real time, I mean you have to ask do they want my money in my body my life or some combination of the three in real time while under presumably significant duress, but for hostages if they disobey, cause a commotion, is that extending their life or is it shortening their life?

I guess it's very context dependent.  The only thing that I could without knowing the context, anything you could do to humanize yourself and comply with what the bad guys want,  increases your chance of survival.

Let's say you got ordered to go in a back room you could look at the hostage taker and say I'll do whatever you say,  I'm Chris.

Drop your name on them in a way so that you go from being a faceless person to somebody with a name - that increases the chances of your survival.


wWatever you can do to comply simultaneously become more of a human being because it's the opposite of what I was talking about before.

You're easier to kill if you've been dehumanized. You're harder to kill if you've been humanized, you're harder to harm.

Maybe they're not going to kill you, they're just gonna hurt you, they're less likely to harm you if they know your first name.

how do you get them as a hostage negotiator if they talk about a hostage?

I'll say you you know you mean you mean Sheila, do you mean Rex?

I'll find a way to drop the person's name into the conversation so as soon as if if you can humanize just by getting them to know your name you increase the chances of survivability.

you increase the chances of being treated better and comply, I'll do whatever you say, I'm Chris.

This is gonna start to move the odds in your favor.

When you do primate work they strongly discourage, near forbid you from giving them names. They give them numbers. so it all falls in line with what you were talking about because the moment something has a name it moves from being a research animal to a pet of sorts and that makes it a relationship.

A name turns something, elevates something to a relationship however insignificant it's up a notch an entire empathy circuitry.

Tactical Empathy.

I'm very close to Stephen Cutler's perspective on it and Stephen would say empathy is about the transmission of information, compassion is the reaction to the transmission I like that and by the way I'm a fan of Steven's work.

That was when I was with the FBI we started collaborating with Harvard because the Harvard definition was empathy was not liking the other side it was just demonstrating an understanding of their perspective. Bob manukin's book beyond winnings chapter the tension between empathy and assertiveness he says empathy is not agreeing disagreeing or even liking the other side which sort of falls into what Stephen talked about you know it's about the transmission of information.

now empathy is very compassionate thing to do but it doesn't necessarily equate to compassion itself if I let you know if I make you feel heard by me saying to you what your perspective on something is you're going to feel cared for, you're going to feel understood, it's going to land with you really well.

I don't necessarily have to feel compassion for you, I know it's a precursor to compassion so I wouldmseparate it from sympathy clearly and I would even separate it from compassion, although I know it's a very compassionate thing to do.

Tactical empathy is about me actively demonstrating verbally to you that I understand where you're coming from tactic from The Experience on hostage negotiators

backed up by Neuroscience is that people largely react negatively so the smarter move for me instead of trying to reinforce a positive is to First deactivate the negative by simply calling it out calling the elephant a room out don't deny the elephant don't ignore the elephant call The Elephant a room out say it probably going to sound like I'm greedy if I expect that you're going to think I'm overreaching I'm not going to say I don't want you to think I'm greedy I'm going to say it's probably going to seem greedy so simply well-educated emotional intelligence influence gut instinct influence on what the other side is thinking and feeling

if I can Define it in that way then it becomes an unlimited skill if it requires me for to have compassion for you when I don't then that limits my ability to use empathy and I'm not interested in having that ability to be limited I want it to be an unlimited skill so if you just if you just Define it strictly in terms of transmission of information then it's not sympathy or Compassion or

liking or green it has a very powerful effect it at least feels like compassion to the other side it reacts with the emotional circuitry the neurochemicals that everybody has to some degree if they're alive even if they're on this the spectrum they have some of that going on inside and of what I've read on even mental illnesses in my last century training I saw people who were paranoid schizophrenic is it effectively be more of a wiring

problem than a chemical problem for Layman's description and a lot of what I've read said empathy's even effective with paranoid schizophrenics regardless of how disarrayed the circuitry in their head is, it helps them on some level to feel understood so empathy is just about letting somebody feel understood example when I'm working terrorism we had a lot of Arab Muslims testify an open civilian court against a legitimate Muslim cleric who was also a criminal

who also committed crimes and I would sit down with them and I'd say to him right off the bat because I know where they're coming from you believe that there's been a succession of American governments for the last 200 years that have been anti-islamic and they'd look at me and they go like yeah.

I never said it was true, I never said I agreed, I never said I disagreed.

By me simply articulating what their perspective on the interaction, they were so startled by empathy and we were so good at that empathy frequently in that in that time frame they would say 'are you Muslim?' and I'd say no, I respect the religion. I'm a Christian but I respect your religion and I got no problem saying to you where you're coming from, that's empathy from my definition and then it becomes an unlimited skill.

I don't have to feel it I don't have to necessarily want to do anything about it.

Goldman says there's cognitive empathy, me just recognizing where your emotions are coming from, there's emotional empathy - me feeling your emotions and there's empathetic concern - me wanting to do something about your distress.

My version of tactical empathy probably brings those into play in sequence on a Continuum of sorts but none of them are precursors. it's just me showing to you that I understand where you're coming from and it has a phenomenally favorable impact on the interaction.

Mirroring is a one of the simplest easiest and most effective of the skill set takes the least amount of brain power it's just repeating one to three-ish words of what somebody's just said uh can be one it should never usually be more than five.

Hostage negotiators learn it by repeating the last one to three words that somebody just said it doesn't have to be the last one to three words and the mirroring is not the body language mirror it's not mimicking anybody physically and it's not mimicking their tone of voice or their affect or anything about them it's just repeating one to three-ish words

we found that accesses for whatever part of brain you uh that you got to energize to do it it's it's a different part of the brain than labeling people are usually either good really good at labeling like I label almost everybody on my team labels a lot sounds like this is bothering you sounds like seems like you're just not really sure where this is going and the mirror I gotta consciously make it a point to mirror

and what's a mirror used for it's in place of what did you mean by that or would you please go on or I don't understand could you repeat that again so I'll listen for stuff that either I don't understand or I need you to talk more about and instead of saying could you say some more about that I'll just mirror the words now for whatever reason it connects the thoughts in your head the message the way that lands is I heard what you said the words I got the words because I just repeated

them and I still don't understand so I need a more in-depth explanation

without using the same words that you just used because if you say um I think I suppress actualism is useless and I might say what do you mean by that and you go isopractorism is useless you repeat the same words only louder you figure that saying a ladder will make it

penetrate my cranium that doesn't work I need you to read to explain to go into more depth to expand using different words and for whatever reason we found as hostage negotiators that I find in business that if I mirror you you'll expand and you'll connect so I use it in that context.

I might use it to get you to hear yourself out loud like if what you just said doesn't make sense I'll repeat it backward for word one to three words and I'll upward inflect I'll say that that doesn't make sense.

Use my tone, make it land with my tone so you can hear yourself out loud

somebody else just pointed out to me the other day that if you're talking to somebody and they're in mid thought and they kind of their voice Trails off because they sort of lost their train of thought

if you mirror them there that helps them get their train of thought back and expand so it's a ridiculously effective communication tool to get people to expand and feel heard.

its Simplicity puts some people off there are some people that say yeah it sounds stupid I don't see what good that will do

I always notice if somebody really wants to know about mirroring my description is they're both high IQ and high EQ and why does that work?

a high IQ guy is going to want to know something that's really simple that

doesn't take any effort to do and that's what a mirror does it's really really effective it's almost no effort on your part at all interesting I must say that Neuroscience has a um an unfortunate dearth of knowledge about how brains interact this is starting to change but most of what we know about how brains work is from putting people into functional magnetic resonance imaging machine so-called MRI exposing them to movies or games that they have to play Etc and then looking at brain state activation there are a few Laboratories starting to look at how people interact in real time with both people in separate MRI machines that hopefully will be able to parse some of this and I'm certain that somebody hearing this will use this knowledge to go do the experiment if not I'll run out the flagpole to some highly qualified people at Stanford who could who could do this because it'd be fun to

see what's happening but I have the sense that what's happening is that there is a real merge of cognition when

one hears their own words right spoken back to them that, you've now got two brains processing the same information and that has to lead to new places.

I don't have any insight as to what exactly is happening but certainly that something is happening there right evidenced by the real world results that you're getting.

There's something about hearing our own voice is very different than hearing other people's voices most people cringe when they hear their own voice on recording.

Some people are in love with their own voice.

we know these people but we know that our auditory system cancels out the hearing of our own voice.  As we're talking now our auditory system is suppressing our own voice we don't really hear ourselves speak the same way that when you speak I hear you speak yeah so um it's an active neurochemical inhibition of the response and it's amazing too because as we grow up our voice changes puberty and so forth and other ways too that the vocal cords change in thickness Etc and our voice changes but we always know self from other in terms of voice and wecancel out our actual auditory perception of our own breathing and heartbeat.

We shut down our response to self actively within the brain so maybe hearing back some of what we just said allows us to actually hear what we just said and that's why people sometimes needs is a sounding board so somebody else can hear. They can hear themselves out and get repeated back to them and then they go like wait a minute did I just say that?

What is proactive listening?

I'm really trying to get people out of the notion of active listening just because active listening has been so overused the people have lost track of it and most of it is taught poorly and it's interactive versus proactive and so we learned as hostage negotiators first of all just to label the presenting emotion and we just assume that and the presenting emotion was always anger of some form anger upset

on certain rare instances the guy was under control but they were almost always negative emotions so we just assumed that it was uh defined to what was confined to what was driving hostage takers was negativity.

Layman's terminology the survival brain is largely negative ballpark I would say 75 negative your reactions are going to be negative so number one I believe that's principally backed up by the experiments of Neuroscience the fmri have used alluded to and so then in hostage negotiation we were taught to basically label the presenting emotion and then I've seen experimentation or reporting of experiments.

I think that first time I read about it was in a book called The upward spiral and that book is a good 10 years old I think which means the Neuroscience is evolving, but primarily the experiment there that I remember reading about and read about in other places that if people were undergoing a negative emotion in my Layman's paraphrase of the experiment is they've shown a picture that induced the negative emotion in their head and then they asked people to Simply call out what the emotion was.

When they self-labeled then the emotion diminished now the degree of diminishment varies but the percentage of time that it diminishes by simply by calling it out is just darn near all the time so for largely 75 percent negative and we can deactivate the negativity by calling it out.

Let's be proactive if you're a human being and we're engaged in a negotiation there's going to be certain very predictable negativity that's going to be there and I should be proactive in calling it out. Anticipating the negativity is going to be there based on a circumstances highly predictable and your gut instinct before you're referring to when you want to say look I don't want you to think I'm being greedy your gut's telling you it's highly

predictable you're going to come off as greedy so let me be proactive and say it's probably going to seem like I'm being

greedy and that's the dialing over to what is eminently predictable in the interaction and just being proactive to deactivate the negative emotions that either are taking place or what our experiences found then I haven't seen any science that is yet that has had the opportunity to back this up it inoculates.

I can create a barrier if I call out a negative that's not there it doesn't plant it it actually inoculates you from it.

I've done this in practice. I was given a lecture a couple of years ago anybody asked a question. I try to find the value in the question no matter how bad the question is

This poor guy asked me a question that I just cannot find a single component in his question that demonstrates that he was listening or paying attention.

There was nothing about it that I could congratulate him on and so I said 'this is going to sound harsh' because I know the answer I'm getting ready to give him is going to make it sound like to the group that I think he's stupid.

I just can't think of a way to respond to this without saying effectively like what are you thinking about that's got nothing to do what we're talking about so I go this is going to sound harsh and I answer the question and he just kind of goes okay and I start answering somebody else question and he goes that wasn't harsh.

Now if I hadn't said this is going to sound harsh and answered the question I guarantee you my answer would have embarrassed them and embarrassment is one of the worst negative emotions you can inflict on anybody and he would hate me to this day for embarrassing him.

so I got a moment coming at me that is predictably negative and I can let that train run me down or I can call that out in advance and get a reaction where the guy says it wasn't that bad and that's what being proactive about the emotions is about.

did you ever employ the family members of kidnappers friends of kidnappers as a family Members & Negotiations means to kind of tap into a different aspect of their psyche you know because I think that we are all as human beings very context driven so I can imagine that the person who kidnapped somebody or who's trying to steal somebody's resources is in a particular groove of the person and I do think there are people in the world who are just evil but I also know because I've read about it and I trust the sources that there are people who have done horrendous things who love their dog um and genuinely love their dog and wouldn't harm an animal but I'm not trying to give these people a pass but I could imagine that um those other facets to somebody represent really good entry points for allowing them to see the kind of incongruence in their behavior or is it the case that when these are

high stress situations that you just have to basically you know you have to attack the you know disarm the aggressor and you're just focusing on the person as the bad actor not considering the other contexts of their lives

all right so let's draw a distinction between hostage takers in a contained situation and kidnappers uncontained unknown location so you're probably asking about somebody in a contained situation bad guys in a bank Dwight Watson in his tractor in Washington DC so very counterintuitively if they're in

a contained situation there's a saying out there that says A system that you're employing is perfectly designed to give you the outcome that you have so bad guy Dwight Watson is on his tractor in DC the family's part of the system to put them there the blunt harsh reality of that is now at that siege that went on long

enough and it was so high profile some of his family members showed up now we can we could and and did try to use them I'm walking I'm walking from one place to another from the negotiation operation cell component on the way to command post hostage negotiator stops me a couple of people with them it's Watson's family and they see I'm in a hurry and that I'm not interested in being stopped and they got to say to me

something to stop me and get my um attention and they go look our brother's just hurting in his heart

he's just hurting, things have gone bad for our whole family and he's just hurt in his heart don't kill him over that and I looked at the negotiator and I said get that on tape and we'll play that for him because if we can get that on tape exactly the way they said it that'll land but if we put them on the phone with them they're going to try to reason with them and they're going to say stuff to them

they didn't help which they don't very well intention but it's going to be counter-intuitive and it's probably going to make it worse so you have to understand family can be extremely important if you can get them to say exactly the right thing and it's probably going to need to be highly orchestrated because you know how it's going to land and unfortunately if you get them in a direct conversation it'll probably renew an old wound you know family members have hurt each other in ways that they have no idea even happened and so the other you know a family member my son to this day remembers when I told him Santa Claus wasn't real and I have no what I have no memory of that conversation I'm sorry I blew it for you right man wait we got oh my goodness the family members have heard each other over the years that they have no idea which comes up in these live conversations and you don't know what what wounds you don't even know what wounds are there that you caused and so in in a contained situation a family member can be extremely helpful but it has to be it's it's a surgical shot that you have to be really really

really careful with otherwise it can go the other way because the wounds and people don't even know are there such a psychologically astute way of viewing it because I'm a big fan of the so-called family systems model of psychology I mean you can't look at any human being psychology positive meaning adaptive or maladaptive psychology and not look at the family system which that evolved which is not to say that some perfectly healthy

families occasionally don't have issues with a child having mental illness and and I mean that happens but I'm told

that 99.9 of the time you can identify a family system organization or a lineage a genetic tie Etc that that makes things start to make sense when somebody's really struggling right right and and as you pointed out sadly oftentimes that that involves Pains of past.

what did you do to unload some of the heaviness I don't I'm not just talking about getting a good night's sleep or having a a beer with your co-workers afterward although those things sort of you know important roles for um for people I realize um you know do you think we can dump the hard stuff in our head in our hearts in a way that allows us to be functional because people in your line of work and I think just anyone in the world you live long enough you're gonna experience loss yeah you're gonna get kicked in the gut and you're gonna see people you care about get kicked in the gut there's so much Beauty to life as well but that's the reality so did you do you have

tools processes that you use to kind of dump the baggage so you can lean into your relationships and your relationship to yourself with restored sense of optimism, I think mostly most of the people that I've always worked around

we've been very reinforcing of one another comedically emotionally friendship wise, being able to laugh with each other, taking it easy on each other getting people, laughter and genuine understanding without somebody trying to tell you that you did wrong.

I've been lucky enough to either find myself in those groups most of the time or we just evolved it that's just the way that we were we were attracted to one another emotionally psychologically because of that's probably it mostly I mean I've tried to parse some of these emotions out recently like I'm not particularly proud of anything I've ever done but I always felt like it was a privilege like you must be proud of your accomplishments I don't know that it's Pride but there's uh there's other satisfaction that I get out of it and so thinking about what drives me also now you know that I'm running a company and I'm and I got people also entrepreneurs that are trying to do the best for their employees you know what do we encourage in one another so that whatever we're doing people feel good about it and I try to take a lot of that from what I learned as an FBI agent and a hostage negotiator and the people that I was around and you know we did joke with each other a lot and we did play tricks on each other you know good good-natured humor avoid the people that are running you down

but be able to take some good-natured ribbing every now and then and I think humor is one way or another combined with hard work and an appreciation for what you're doing it's probably been most of the mental health along the way occasional bourbon love it we did a whole episode on alcohol and so people are going to hear me say love it and think oh wait here I'm supporting out listen the data say as long as

you're not an alcoholic as long as you are of age probably two drinks a week is or less is safe make them make them good high quality drinks if you're going to have them consume them in the right context or don't consume them at all but that's what I said love it I I support your love of bourbon.

you're in charge of a lot of people now helping people help people um providing a lot of service in the world through a lot of different channels um first of all I want to say that your

book never split the difference one of my favorite books thank you I don't say that lightly I don't endorse books very often but the books I do endorse I love love love I also have to say that it's a toss-up between your book never

split the disc difference and the body keeps the score for the award for best

titles of any book those are just like amazing titles amazing amazing titles

Paul Ross or uh co-writer came up with the title yeah it's a phenomenal title that in the body keep this keeps the score just like because there's so much contained in in the title and then the book um exceeds expectations so really amazing book people should listen to it read it if they haven't already but you're doing a lot more right now than just writing although I want to hear about your other book projects as well

Fireside a brand new social media platform it's essentially an interactive podcast it's a subscription service founded by Fallon fatimi and Mark Cuban follow and I have been friends for a number of years she was Google's youngest employee she's an entrepreneur Dynamic smart hard charging person and it's sort of grew out of what's inadequate in some of the social media apps that are out there trying to combine the best ideas of a few different things and found suggested it to me and I thought I'll jump in because she's a visionary and what has turned out to be is it's effectively weekly Interactive Group coaching and you you get the app off your iPhone or your Android whatever platform your phone is on and then you log in we do an hour once a week and it's you're getting group coaching and then you get asked questions and it's got a video component to it so if you want to ask a question we we're going to bring you up on quote stage and I get to see you and talk directly to

you and you get to see me and talk directly to me or and I interviewed Mark Cuban a couple of weeks ago and people

got to come on and ask Mark questions or ask me questions and what it has turned out to be is just one of sort of uh uh the the next level of how to get better at negotiations after you've read the book and probably taken to Master Class you know where do you go next one of the people that came on the podcast the

coaching it's fun great I mean I would say uh you're

changing lives there I mean the saving a marriage is no small deal and I think that the ability to communicate directly with people also I imagine gives them the opportunity to implement the the tools that you're providing in real time and that's one thing to hear about something and and try it but then you can give feedback in real time

are you on these Fireside Chats directly or members of your team no I do we do one every week and I'm once a month and the other thing too like I can explain something one way and if for whatever reason it doesn't land in your context you can't quite get it so that's what we found about the interactive nature of it somebody comes on and asks a question in their context and then I'll answer it and then they'll go like oh oh oh oh okay all right that helped so you get you get to hear people like you who are struggling with it the way you are but I haven't put it in your context yet and that's the other thing that's great about a q a live q a.

we had a guest on here who told me that there are amazing data supporting the fact that people follow the medical and health advice of doctors that they can relate to far more than they follow the medical and health advice of the Physicians that they feel aren't like oftentimes this can include the physician or health care provider being someone that they would aspire to be like but oftentimes it's just some common Rapport like they both like

baseball or they both like to cook or to garden and that sets a bridge right where then the patient is willing to do all these things that ordinarily they would be resistant to right and and there are really good data to support this and I that really stuck with me because it says that it's not just about the information or the delivery route or the information that the context and the rapports even along something is like oh you're by the way I'm not a major you know a major sports fan on most things but you know like oh you're a Bills fan or something like me too like that can be the

difference between somebody doing all the things to lower their blood pressure or the day in changing their diet all

the all those things versus not making the changes at all Rapport is the magic yeah it's kind of a magic component that changes changes everything well Fireside sounds like a great opportunity for people to not just ask questions but to build rapport with you and members of your team so um I'm gonna check it out Lord knows I need help improving my communications and certain domains of life believe me I get the memos fact what other writing projects are you involved in if any um we're we've been toying it with this companion operations manual for tactical empathy which getting it right is important so it's sort of a companion book to never spit the difference that's probably at least a year and a half out from being done so in the meantime we just do we do a lot of online training. We're constantly trying to put information out there so that so that people can collaborate better so specific we just finished a book for residential real estate agents a friend of mine Steve Shull we put that out last November that's sort of niched but it's mostly the Black Swan method for real estate agents because every conversation they're in is a difficult emotional conversation.

Sale of a house is one of the most stressful moments of anybody's life selling or buying so we just put that out in the meantime.

how amazing would it be if kids learned early on to talk to one another from that sounds like perspective because I think that would naturally Orient them toward listening right or at least offering a hypothesis of what they heard and how poorly they might be listening and then getting a defensive stance response that informs them about the accuracy or lack of accuracy um and on and on I feel like the the

sounds like question sounds like you feel blank or sounds like you believe blank just seems to me like the um like one of the one of the most potent tools in the universe and I sure wish that all adults would implement it but that kids would learn about it too.

how do we teach them at a younger age that that listening is actually an effective thing to do it's actually a way to think things through his excellent book never split the difference.

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