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Learning Journey II, How to succeed at Hard conversations

Kirjoittanut: Veikko Airas - tiimistä FLIP Solutions.

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Never split the difference
Chris Voss
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 3 minuuttia.

In our learning journey. We were having a innovation week with Swiss innovation students. We were teamed up with them and we took on a challenge together. I on the challenge decided to take smaller role because I tend to take quite strong role on challenges like this. It was a mistake. What I didn’t know was that the people we were going to work with had way different style to work and had way different sense of team work. In the middle of the week we had to act on this. There was zero communication in the team. Half of the team talked in language that two of us had no idea and there was no clear distribution in the tasks. Me and Jemina knew that the most important thing was to sell the product. As we already had a good idea. The team then thought that the report was the most important thing in the world. I tried to negotiate but the people just continued to stare a laptop man I was frustrated. I had never faced situation like this. I noticed that I had no tools to negotiate.


So here we are. I decided to read the book Never Split the difference by Chris Voss a former FBI hostage negotiator. Chris Voss has a career in hostage nogotiations for over twenty years. And now he is showing the tools he learned in FBI. Now days Chris a business man and uses the tactics he learned in the federal bureau of investigation. Amazing book and amazing podcast were used to write this essay. Big recommendation.


The start Chris has enrolled on Harvard negotiations Course. He is the only one in the some 140 student group that is outsider. Everybody else was highly intelligent intelligent top students. The were shared in groups and they had to negotiate price. Chris destroyed the competition he had two days in row. The theory based tools the smart students had were no mach to the tools Chris had learned in the field at FBI. Why was this?

Many of us at Proakatemia know the book thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman the negotiating at FBI focuses on affecting the fast thinking to change the slow thinking using open ended questions like how am I supposed to do that? I could have asked my team that we all want to get a good grade from the innovation and win right? How do you see we are going to get there? This way I could have figured their perception of the situation and find common ground with them. Instead in the situation both sides didn’t understand each other and got frustrated.


There is many things when it comes to negotiating, being calm is essential. There’s different moods and attitudes to follow with each people even the way you talk is important. But the most important things are to how do you bring the person you are negotiating having the sense of a situation the are respected, they are not cheapshotted and the single most important thing they are listened. Agent Voss highlights the listening the most in he’s book of course like he said the things build up on one another but listening was the most important form of putting up a good base for a good negotiation. In an interview with Andrew Huberman professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology Voss states that when you approach the person you are going to negotiate with most of the times ends up being very effective way to negotiate. It calms the air the person can relax and they know they are safe. Additionally one good way to speed up a normal negotiation about for example distribution of costs on a holiday with friends is making an assumption what they are thinking then you give them space to correct you and boom the negotiation is opened both sides feeling like the are heard.

Voss advices to use the methods learned in this book in lighter easy going situations and then moving into more intensive situations like salary negotiations. I’m definitely looking for my next team assignment where I’m able to put the different methods I learned from the book to use.

I was in interview for Porsche and as I was in a artificial customer situation that the interviewees made I took a lot of attention into listening and mirroring. The “customer” I was dealing with was in a big hurry a calmed my tone down and continued my presenting of the car. Then just calmly went over the things a bit faster I would normally do. In the end I got positive feedback of my calmness. Apparently they wanted to dig a reaction out of me but I didn’t´t flinch I continued to use my 4am radio dj voice like Voss calls it and it worked!


The book and the Podcast that I read for this were both amazing and I think everybody in Proakatemia should read it Voss is amazing persona and I will definitely follow he’s stuff more in the future

Thanks for reading.



A, Huberman. How to succeed at hard conversations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8CHXefn7B4&t=3107s

C, Voss. Never split the difference.