In 2016 I asked a mentor of mine what books he revisits annually. “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss was on his shortlist.
I bought the audio and kindle versions and read through them in a couple of days. I was on the phone a lot for work then, so I got to put the principles into practice, but I never revisited the book until last month.
As I wrote about here, I’m committing my audio time to two books I’m trying to get into my subconscious through repetition & deliberate practice.
Just last week I was able to put the techniques to the test in a low-stakes negotiation.
I rented a bassinet for my newborn son in October, which I just returned. I got a notice that the bassinet was inspected and that I would get my $99 back to the credit card it was purchased under.
Here’s the rub: my card was compromised in October and I had a new one issued. The bassinet company told me to contact my bank, but my bank told me they couldn’t do anything.
When I called the bassinet company back I applied these strategies:
- Gentle “no”
- Labelling // summary
- Calibrated questions
More on each of these:
- Instead of giving them an outright “NO”, you can apply the gentle but firm “no”. Something like “I’m sorry, that’s not going to work for me.”
- Labeling / Summarizing is a way to build empathy by showing you understand what your counterpart is saying. You can summarize the situation and then put a label on what emotion they must be feeling. In my situation, it looked like this, “There is a policy that is preventing you from sending a security deposit. It sounds like your hands are tied there.”
- Calibrated questions are open-ended questions that keep the conversation going. Instead of “is there anything you can do for me?”, you would ask, “How can we find a solution that will work for both of us?”
Well, it was only $99, but I guess the book paid for itself already 🙂
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