Never Split the Difference Summary – How to Negotiate Effectively?

Author: Chris Voss, Tahl Raz

Short Summary
Never Split the Difference (2016) gives us tips and tricks on how to negotiate effectively. Moreover, it also teaches us never to compromise and master the art of negotiation.
never split the difference summary

Detailed Summary

“He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.”
― Chris Voss

In the Never Split the Difference summary, the author highlights the importance of negotiation. He says that it is important for everyone to know how to negotiate effectively, whether you are at a workplace dealing with your boss, you are finalizing a deal, or even at home with your parents. We negotiate every day in our daily life.

Every time we try to convince someone, we are actually negotiating with them. Just like when your spouse wants to go to a usual restaurant for dinner, but you want to try a new eatery. And a mother who tries to convince her kid to eat eggplant before she gets dessert.

Never Split the Difference Summary – Key Points

The followings are the tips and tricks for negotiating a conversation by not committing to a promise.

Be a good listener

According to the author Chriss Voss, if you want to be good at negotiation, you should start listening effectively to the other person. When you pay attention to what the other person is saying, they start feeling like you understand them, which is how trust is built between two people.

“Hope is not a strategy”
― Chris Voss

Repeat what they say

Besides this, a good way to know someone is to repeat what they say but with the addition of a question so that you get to know them more. In this way, the person will feel like you are similar to them, and they will start trusting you.

“If you approach a negotiation thinking the other guy thinks like you, you are wrong. That’s not empathy; that’s a projection.”
― Chris Voss


One another tip shared by the author is to use a soft tone when you are negotiating with anyone. The tone of your voice plays a very important role. Sometimes we feel offended just because of the tone of a person. They don’t mean it, but how they said it makes you feel offended.

Whenever you feel like the other person is getting upset by your tone, try using a soft voice to calm down the situation. In this way, you can better negotiate with them, and they will understand you better.

Moreover, smiling while talking to someone is another secret of negotiating with someone. It makes another person feel comfortable while talking to you. You seem more empathetic.

Be empathetic

The author motivates the readers to be empathetic while negotiating. When you feel other people’s emotions, it makes them feel that you understand them and can see things from their perspectives. When you feel their emotions, you can better negotiate with them by repositioning yourself.

The author says that this formula works for him while negotiating. He shares that when he was negotiating with four fugitives. All of them believed that he had atomic weapons in his apartment. So, in order to understand them, he talked to them.

By talking to them, he got the feeling that they were scared to leave the apartment. If they leave, they will go back to prison. But after a lot of negotiations, they surrendered. It happened because of the way the author talked to them and made them feel comfortable.

You must like to read the book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry Summary.

Never compromise

“Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible.         ■”
― Chris Voss

The author in his book emphasized never compromising in negotiation but taking things slow. This is the key to finding a better solution. When you compromise, you won’t be able to reach a better solution. Moreover, the author considered it a bad idea to compromise while negotiating with someone.

Always play smart and take things slow. Take your time and find the best possible solution.

To advocate this, the author shares an example of when he was in a negotiation with a kidnapper. That kidnapper had the wife of Haitian police for a ransom of $150,000. The author realized that the kidnappers became more serious about the ransom every Friday.

This was because of the weekend, and the author guessed that they wanted money to party on the weekends. So, the author used the tactics that he negotiated and offered them a much lower price, as partying in Haiti was not that expensive.

So, this example teaches us that be smart and try to understand the person we are negotiating with.

Who would I recommend the Never Split the Difference summary to?

The Never Split the Difference summary is recommended to teenagers who should know that compromising is not a good idea when dealing with people. Moreover, a sales representative would get some tips and tricks on convincing people and negotiating effectively with the clients. Lastly, anyone wanting to understand people and their psyche should read it.

Never Split the Difference Summary - February 2022

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