345 – Chris & Brandon Voss: Owner / Operators of Black Swan Group

Chris Voss is the CEO & Founder of the Black Swan Group Ltd and author of Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It.

He has used his many years of experience in international crisis and high-stakes negotiations to develop a unique program and team that applies these globally proven techniques to the business world.

Prior to 2008, Chris was the lead international kidnapping negotiator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the FBI’s hostage negotiation representative for the National Security Council’s Hostage Working Group. During his government career, he also represented the U.S. Government at two (2) international conferences sponsored by the G-8 as an expert in kidnapping. Prior to becoming the FBI lead international kidnapping negotiator, Christopher served as the lead Crisis Negotiator for the New York City Division of the FBI. Christopher was a member of the New York City Joint Terrorist Task Force for 14 years.  He was the case agent on such cases as TERRSTOP (the Blind Sheikh Case – Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman), the TWA Flight 800 catastrophe and negotiated the surrender of the first hostage taker to give up in the Chase Manhattan bank robbery hostage taking.

During Chris’s 24 year tenure in the Bureau, he was trained in the art of negotiation by not only the FBI but Scotland Yard and Harvard Law School. He is also a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement and the FBI Agents Association Award for Distinguished and Exemplary Service.

Chris has taught business negotiation in the MBA program as an adjunct professor at University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.  He has taught business negotiation at Harvard University, guest lectured at The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, The IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland and The Goethe School of Business in Frankfurt, Germany. Since 2009 Christopher has also worked with Insite Security as their Managing Director of the Kidnapping Resolution Practice.

 

Brandon Voss is the Director of Training & Operations

Since Black Swan’s inception in 2008, Brandon has established assessment procedures for new clients that take their needs, situations, and corporate culture into account so Black Swan’s approach can be customized to each client.

Brandon is the thought leader at Black Swan regarding negotiator types. He has made it his to mission teach clients how to identify the basic types of negotiators and has developed a methodology for dealing with each type in the most successful way.

Brandon’s background is in sales. He has done retail sales for Macy’s and business-to-business sales for Verizon. Based on his extensive experience with various selling approaches he has been instrumental in adapting the FBI hostage negotiation techniques to the business world. Realizing that the timetable is different in the business world than in high-stakes hostage situations, he created the “Short Game” – a needs assessment procedure that helps in the critical discovery process phase of negotiation.

In addition to training clients, Brandon has guest lectured at USC Marshall School of Business, Georgetown McDonough School of Business and organizations like Policy Innovators in Education.

 

Never Split The Difference:

Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Everything we’ve previously been taught about negotiation is wrong: you are not rational; there is no such thing as ‘fair’; compromise is the worst thing you can do; the real art of negotiation lies in mastering the intricacies of No, not Yes. These surprising tactics—which radically diverge from conventional negotiating strategy—weren’t cooked up in a classroom, but are the field-tested tools FBI agents used to talk criminals and hostage-takers around the world into (or out of) just about any scenario you can imagine. In NEVER SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It former FBI lead international kidnapping negotiator Chris Voss and co-author Tahl Raz break down these strategies so that anyone can use them in the workplace, in business, or at home.

Throughout the book, Voss draws on his experiences in truly life-or-death situations to illustrate these techniques, and offers scores of examples of how they translate into our working lives. We spend most of our days at work negotiating for something. Knowing the most successful, crisis-tested approaches to the process will ensure the conversation more frequently goes your way. What sets these strategies apart from other negotiation paradigms—i.e., the standard thinking in negotiations is to approach them as logical and sequential problems to be solved—is the injection of emotional intelligence and empathy into the negotiation process. This was the game-changer for the FBI, Voss writes, and these are the unique skills emphasized in NEVER SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE.

Voss explains how simple these tools can be, such as your tone of voice, the types of questions you ask the other party, or even how you enter the conversation in the first place. Successfully asking for a raise, a new position, a client concession, or a change to the terms of a contract can all be influenced by the techniques outlined in the book. Voss was part of the generation that revolutionized and refined the FBI’s approach to the process of negotiation. And now he can help readers do the same in their own lives.

Leave a Reply