Listen in as we talk a little bit about Chris Voss’ book Never Split the Difference and his Holy Sh!t Moment.
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss is a real-life guide to negotiation. He was an FBI Hostage negotiator and describes real life situations he was in. In the book, he is wrestling with needing to change the way the FBI questions hostage takers. He gets called in to a case his buddy is on and listens to the tapes they have so far. One drug dealer kidnapped another drug dealer’s wife-funny they called the FBI. So, Voss is listening to the tapes and needing proof of life of the girlfriend. Usually, the negotiators would coach the boyfriend to ask a specific directed question. Voss gives the example of “What was the name of the girlfriend’s teddy bear when she was little?” The problem with that question in my eyes is that it sounds coached. That doesn’t sound like a question a drug dealer would ask. Because the victim drug dealer had not been coached, he pops of with, “Hey dog, how do I know she’s all right?” The hostage drug dealer was quiet for a moment and then put the girlfriend on the phone. Boom, holy shit moment. But, not because of what I think it is.
See I think the this is awesome because it’s exactly the way the victim drug dealer would talk to the hostage drug dealer. It’s common sense. Voss liked that it was an open-ended how question, asking the hostage taker for help. As Voss says, “how engages and how asks for help.”
When you find yourself in a negotiation, of any sort, that seems to get heated or is maybe not going the way you want, ask a how question. I mentioned last week that we negotiate with ourselves daily and used baseball as an example for our family. A simple question to ask would be, “How can I make the schedule benefit us all?”
When your kid is having a fit, when your spouse is mad at you, when the car negotiation isn’t going well, start with How.