A little over a year ago, I was standing in the courtyard after we finished a wonderful morning at Calvary Fellowship in Ottawa. One of my friends there is a young man who is being groomed for work in the ambassador corps. He’s incredibly intelligent, well read, and one of the most polite people that I’ve ever met.
In our conversation it became obvious that in his formal education, on the job training and mentoring there had never been one course, or one workshop, or even a session on negotiating. Doesn’t it seem obvious that if you’re a diplomat, this would be a necessary skill, one that the government would recognize as crucial? Apparently not.
Fast forward several months, I had a long drive in front of me and had caught up on my usual podcasts, and so scanned the archive of the Jordan B. Peterson podcast to see if anything caught my interest. I stumbled upon an interview from a couple of years ago with Chris Voss the FBI Hostage Negotiator. It was amazing. Super informative. I found a copy of his book at the local library and waited several more weeks till it was available.
It didn’t disappoint. Every chapter opens up with a story of a tense negotiating situation in his career in law enforcement. From there, he breaks down the situation, the factors at play and introduces the next concept of negotiation. Each chapter closes with at least one more example of that concept in a more everyday situation. It’s brilliant.
Negotiation, like most things in life, it isn’t what you think. And, like most things in life, it requires you to get a hold of your emotions and be others focused. It’s fascinating to be reminded of those truths from a completely different approach.
I wish I owned the book. There was one chapter that I read twice. I may need to read it again. My teenaged son is now reading it. I’ve recommended it to several people, hopefully, this review makes it’s way to my friend.
Let me ask you, have you had any training in negotiation? Do you have any books to recommend? Do you have any experiences using Chris Voss’s material?