These two negotiating tactics will help you win people over, according to an FBI agent.

Ever tried bargaining for something but unsuccessful? Yes, we’ve all been there. That awkward moment when you’re trying to get someone to trust you but you’re just not good at manipulating them. Hmmm! Sorry! We aren’t good, either. However, there’s a new MasterClass that applies advanced negotiating tactics to everyday situations to win people over. Dear friends, meet Chris Voss, an ex-federal agent who teaches how to apply the art of negotiation in our everyday lives.

Negotiation 101

Chris Voss served in the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for 24 years as a hostage negotiator, successfully winning negotiations with criminals like terrorists and hijackers. In his 18-episode MasterClass, he teaches how to tactically use advance negotiating skills to everyday scenarios like asking for a martini from the bartender. Kinda! He introduces two simple yet effective, proven and powerful negotiating tactics you can use in a tandem to build trust with almost anyone you meet.

“Everything in life is a negotiation,” says Chris Voss in his MasterClass trailer. “When you cross the street, is a negotiation. Getting your coffee at Starbucks, is a negotiation. You’re in probably three to seven negotiations every single day. Your life could be in a complete different place just by improving how you negotiate.“

Image: MasterClass | Chris Voss, ex-federal agent who served as a hostage negotiator for the FBI

Yes, you enter into a negotiation everyday, whether in a business meeting, or talking over who should do the dishes with bae. That’s a negotiation; and whether if you agree with “Yes” or “No,” or get them to do so, you have to convince ‘em well enough to agree with you. Sounds like a hus?  Well, every great negotiation is actually a great collaboration, according to Voss; and collaboration is achieved by mutual trust. Get people to trust you by applying these two FBI tactics, Mirroring and Labeling, he advise.

Mirroring And Labeling

Mirroring is simply repeating the key words people say when negotiating. This tactic is meant to convince the person that you’re paying attention and that you understand what they’re saying very well. You just have to repeat the last one to two, or three words of your counterpart. This is most effective in situation of anger or hostility, according to Voss.

“Everybody really deserves to have somebody hear what they have to say,” he says.

For instance, your counterpart says: “I’ve had a really hard semester, and it seems like you’re getting ahead in class since you discovered The Factionary.”

You say: The Factionary?” [you exclaim]

This tactic helps people get at ease with the situation by reducing tension, and makes your counterpart feel like you’re really listening to them.

“People love to talk to someone who is paying attention to them,” says Voss.

Labeling, on the other hand, is simply acknowledging your counterpart’s intention, feeling, or position. Its used to calm their jitters, neutralize their emotions or reinforce their positive intentions.

For instance, your counterpart says: “I want to get ahead in class like how I did last year. Do you believe The Factionary might help?”

You say: You will be a genius.” [you affirm]

This is labeling. It serves as a positive reinforcement, and its most effective for building trust or reaching agreements. The two techniques work in tandem, hand-in-hand, aforementioned.

Voss Vs A Woman

In a three-minute video, Voss gets into a conversation with a woman and demonstrates how these two tactics work in practice. He starts by asking the woman just two questions, the rest was mirroring and labeling.

Hear what their conversation went like:

Image: MasterClass | Chris Voss interrogating the woman in his MasterClass

Voss: “Tell me what you’re passionate about?”

Woman: “Well, I love escape room games.”

Voss: “What is it about escape room games that makes you passionate?”

Woman: “They’re fun to do with your friends, and they’re immersive, and it challenges your mind.”

Voss: “It challenges your mind?” [that’s mirroring]

Woman: “Yeah, you only have 60 minutes to get out. There are series of puzzles you have to solve to get out.”

Voss: “It sounds like you love mental challenges.” [that’s labeling]

Woman: “I do. It’s an immersive experience, like being part of a play… You also try to make it the best experience for others, so they enjoy it, too.”

Voss: “It also sounds like you really like to help people.” [that’s labeling]

Woman: “I guess I do. I never really thought about it like that.”

Voss: “You sound like a really loyal person, too.” [that’s labeling]

Woman: “Ah, that’s nice to say. My friends do say that about me!”

Image: MasterClass

Within just three minutes, Voss went from a stranger to a person the woman confessed, “It made me feel like he [Voss] was listening to me.” That’s a sense of trust. She never even asked him a question the whole time, and it seems she did all the talking.

Voss just demonstrated how the two tactics work in a negotiation — making her reveal a lot about herself. He calls this tactic “trust-based influence,” and if you want someone to agree with you, you better gain their trust first. Once they do, you’ll strike any deal with them. Easy does it, huh?

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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Tue, Sep 28, 2021.


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