Hi – this is Julie Masters and you’re listening to The Next Right Thing – a mini-series from The Inside Influence Team. Designed to provide some actionable certainty in uncertain times. Specifically – and the situation we’re all facing right now – the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lock down.

The idea behind this series is to go out to some of the most popular guests from past episodes of Inside Influence – and ask them one question: ‘What are the most important things you’re focusing on right now (tools, ideas, strategies) – or advising your clients to focus on – that you know for sure work in uncertain times?’

The intention being that somewhere in there, from these incredible minds, you might be able to find inspiration for your next right thing – a point of certainty amidst the uncertainty.

In this episode I speak with… Chris Voss – previously the FBI’s lead kidnapping negotiator. During his 24 year tenure in the FBI, he was trained in the art of negotiation at Scotland Yard and Harvard Law School. He is also a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement – as well as teaching business negotiation at a number of prestigious universities. He’s also the author of the EXCELLENT book: Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It.

In this conversation we drill down into something very specific… How to deal with everything being renegotiated. Most of us have had to deal with either making – or taking – those ‘renegotiation’ phone calls more than we could have ever imagined over the last few weeks. Either with suppliers, team members, landlords or customers. They can be deeply uncomfortable, emotionally intense and hard to navigate. As a blue print to work from – Chris walks through a four point system for handling renegotiation phone calls. As well as how to deal with two of the biggest derailers in phone negotiations – what to do when the other party goes silent – and what to do when they won’t stop talking.

What I want you to listen for in this conversation… is that these tools apply whether you are making – or taking the phone call. Managing your state i.e. tone of voice to set the tone. Creating engagement – through emotionally intelligent guesses as to what the other party might be facing. Reflecting back – and naming the elephant in the room – by labelling what you have heard them say. And then asking thought shaping, collaborative questions that usually begin with ‘How do we…’. Emphasis on the WE.

I’ve said it a hundred times – and it’s never more true than now – influence isn’t something you either have or do not have. It’s not a power bestowed from on high by a divine force to some and not others. It’s a set of tools you can claim and choose to master at any point. But first, like any mastery – you have to decide to claim it and commit to the practice.

If you want to hear more tools from Chris Voss and his experiences in the FBI… you can hunt down our previous conversation – which believe it or not was actually episode No.1. WOW – how far we’ve come. In particular his insights on ‘why ‘yes’ should be the last thing you want to hear in a negotiation’ is a TOTAL game changer.

Chris also has an amazing newsletter… blackswanltd.com – actionable and brief. Also a masterclass for $90 – insane. 10 videos.

So… other than staying well and looking after each other – I hope somewhere in here you find the fuel you need for your next right thing.