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Chris Voss: How to Succeed at Hard Conversations | Huberman Lab Podcast

Mar 11, 2024
Welcome to the Huberman Lab

podcast

where we discuss science and science-based tools for everyday life. I'm Andrew Huberman and I'm a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford Medical School. My guest today is Chris Voss. Chris Foss spent more than two decades as an FBI or Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, where he was a senior crisis negotiator and a member of the joint terrorist task force. Chris is also the author of a phenomenal best-selling book titled Never Split the Difference, and has taught negotiation courses at Harvard at Georgetown and the University of Southern California as a world expert in all forms of negotiation today.
chris voss how to succeed at hard conversations huberman lab podcast
Chris teaches us how to have difficult

conversations

when we are seeking particular outcomes or perhaps when we don't know what is optimal. The result might be that he talks about this in the context of business, in the context of relationships, including romantic ones, but also family and work relationships, and he talks about how we should think about ourselves in the context of negotiations to that we can all reach the In fact, during today's episode you will learn to pay attention to emotions, not only those of other people, but also your own, so that you can determine whether or not you are processing the information you are hearing with precision and equally important whether you are or not. be heard accurately when in a discussion of any kind, but especially in heated discussions.
chris voss how to succeed at hard conversations huberman lab podcast

More Interesting Facts About,

chris voss how to succeed at hard conversations huberman lab podcast...

Additionally, we discuss the role of physical and mental stamina in the context of difficult

conversations

, negotiations, and decision making because in the context of the real world many times those may not take place. only in a single conversation, but over the course of several days or even several weeks, months or years, Chris also teaches us about deception, that is, how to determine if someone is lying by asking particular types of probing questions thanks to the breadth and depth from Chris Voss. experience in the negotiation process that he gained during his more than two decades of service in the FBI, as well as his generosity in sharing that information, by the end of today's episode you will have an excellent understanding of what the negotiation process is really about and how to best conduct those negotiations so they can best serve you and others before you begin.
chris voss how to succeed at hard conversations huberman lab podcast
I would like to emphasize that this

podcast

is independent of my teaching and research duties at Stanford; however, it is part of my desire and effort to achieve zero cost. and consumer information about science and science-related tools for the general public consistent with that theme. I would like to thank the sponsors of today's podcast. Our first sponsor is Plunge diving makes what I believe is the most versatile self-cooling home cooler. Plunging Through Deliberate Cold Exposure I spoke numerous times on this podcast about the many benefits of deliberate cold exposure. Deliberate cold exposure, especially deliberate cold exposure performed up to the neck in water, can be used to achieve a number of important endpoints related to mental health, physical health, and performance immersion uses a powerful unit of cooling filtration and sanitation to give you access to deliberate cold exposure in clean water whenever you want.
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for 150 off In today's episode it is also brought to us by Roca r Roku makes eyeglasses and sunglasses that are of the highest quality.
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Cyborg style glasses, but they also have a number of styles that you would feel perfectly comfortable wearing to dinner or to work. I wear reading glasses at night or when driving and I wear sunglasses during the day if I'm driving somewhere with bright light or outside and it's overwhelmingly bright. I don't wear sunglasses when I see the morning sunlight to set my circadian rhythm and I suggest you do the same if you want to try Roca glasses or sunglasses you can visit Roka roka.com and enter the code huberman to save 20 off your first order again that's Roca roka.com and enter the code huberman at checkout and now for my conversation with Chris Voss Chris Voss, welcome Andrew, pleasure man, I've been wanting to talk to you on the record for a while you're pretty much what we call n signs of one when someone has an actual sample size of one.
I realized that yes, you are because you have this incredible skill set from your time in the FBI, but you also have an incredible understanding and knowledge of how to communicate that skill set so that people can get useful information from them. You're also the guy I text or call from time to time and I've gotten myself into a jam or when I think I might be in a jam and I won't reveal details, but you tell me if things are okay or No. Unfortunately, the last two times I reached out, you said you were good, so thank you, always willing to help.
Thank you, well I have a There are a lot of questions today, but I would like to start talking about that negotiations take many forms, but if we could break them down into their broad categories that would be helpful, but before we do that I want to know what the mindset is that they have. When you go into a negotiation and whether or not there is some kind of practice, I realize that you have been in this profession for a long time and maybe at some point it became reflexive for you, but all of us at some point are going to go in the negotiations business negotiations relationship negotiations Etc., is there a process to get one's mind and body right for a negotiation, moving from listening more and talking less?
As we expand into the different categories of negotiations and ways of approaching those negotiations, there may be a couple of different things, first of all just trying to figure out what the real problem is and then how can I get an approach where I have more chances of getting the best possible outcome, so there is always more than meets the eye and there are certain clichés, but the real problem is that there is always a better deal or there is no deal at all, so first The first thing I try to do is know whether or not there is a deal or whether it is a bad deal and then I will leave very quickly because it will be a complete waste of time. um, it's not a sin to not get the deal, let's just ship, taking a long time to not get the deal, what's the sin, taking a long time to get a bad deal?
So, you know, I want to know, I'm going to try it. to find out very quickly whether or not there is Cutthroat on the other side of the table. Is this someone I can trust? I'm leaning a little more toward dealing with difficult people now, as long as I don't. give in so I have to diagnose from the beginning what the possibilities are now if I'm curious if I'm really interested now another aspect of the mindset is if I'm in a good mood like I'm just going to be frisky a couple of really big wins in personal negotiations recently It was when I was just trying to be playful, I mean, I was just in a really good mood and I'm joking and a big negotiation is not exciting, it's surprising, um, I'm coming.
We're in talks right now with a possible unscripted TV show, so I was telling the producers that you know these aren't going to be Real Housewives. To do this program correctly there will be no shouting. It will be Bar Rescue, where we will yell at people. We're not going to be Hell's Kitchen, where we're yelling at people. It will never be exciting, but it will be surprising. You will get results that you suddenly find. Are you in a place like what the hell how did that happen? The other day I lost a suitcase in an airport and I went into the lost luggage area and I'm in a very good mood because I'm home and I'm happy to be home and I'm going to sleep well at night and even though it's late I'm happy and Are you ready to enter this lost luggage store where these people are better as children? they expect you to know that you expect them to wave a magic wand and prove that your luggage will be there, so for some reason, that's what I say when I walk through the doors, the young lady says how can I help you?
First of all, how? Could you help me it's obvious because I'm in lost luggage there's only one reason I'm here so it's a bit of a silly question and I say, I need you to wave a magic wand and she just laughs and looks at me she ends up walking me to the carousel getting on the carousel and going down a ramp where the luggage comes out and I guarantee you that you shouldn't do that and he sticks his head out and looks around and comes back out and I've never seen any of these people leave the office and a lot less return to the carousel and she says wait here and disappears into the bowels of the airport, which looks like a super highway down there, like God knows what.
It seems like it's under the airport and pretty soon the carousel starts up again and my bag and another bag come out, this other Porsche Mark is sitting there waiting and I think like I've never seen anyone do this, as they usually say, here There is a number that I will call you in 24 hours, I may show up at your house and I look around, there is another young woman there and I say to her, you know, please tell her, thank you from me, I have to go because she is not coming back. go out. for almost 10 minutes and on the way out, she walks out the door and high fives me and she tells me how she does that by waving a magic wand and that was the magic phrase and she would never have said it to him if she had been.
He's not playful at one point and I have a couple of others like when he was just playful and teasing people almost at my expense. It's amazing, amazing, where you can get people to do it if you hit them right. It's very interesting, I wonder what she took advantage of, but it seems like she might have taken advantage of her feeling that everyone always asks me for some kind of wand skill, but finally someone said it directly and it would be fun to play. that role because they're usually restricted to their keyboard and their phone, yeah, you know, I love that on the opposite side of that spectrum, if you're ever feeling tense, stressed, jet-lagged, angry, you know, I can think of negotiations in the ones where people are trying to keep their egos in check they want to be right, you know, breakup negotiations, there's not necessarily romantic breakups that might include that, but also professional breakups, you know, the dissolution of a contract or something like that.
Do you ever have to do it? check it like okay, I need it. I mean, I imagine being calm is better than not being calm for most things. um uh, do you have a process for doing that? You seem like a pretty stable guy. I've never seen you, uh, in general. I'm pretty stable, well, the voice of the late night FM DJ which, um, I'm not sure I coined the phrase, but I'm kind of famous for calming you down, it calms me down too, so if I get out of shape, I do. I will do. If a conversation gets heated, I will switch to that voice with the intention of calming you down because you know that's the hostage negotiator's voice, but it will also calm me down, as if intentionally going to that voice will squash any negative emotions I have.
I'm convinced that making me dumber right now interferes with my ability to process information. I have reasons for it. Simple reasons. There are no academically rigorous scientific studies that have appeared in any journal. Long after you're done, I'll tell you something that might be You might be surprised why there's real neuroscience behind that late-night FM DJ voice having an impact on other people's brains, but yeah, and I will do it because it calms me down now, if I can, if I can make this change, the

hard

part is Changing to a positive mindset if I can make that change, but I can only do it with a calm voice.
I also believe that emotions are a kind of rock, paper, scissors sequence. I don't think you can go from sadness to euphoria directly sad. um depressed, I think there isThere's something about getting angry that brings you out of sadness and I think if you're angry you have to go calm then and so on, but if I can get out of anger and get to calm then I can tell myself something like reality Is it that this is a luxury problem or that I was in a negotiation with a counterpart who I knew was deceiving me by lying to me and I remember telling myself you know I'm lucky to be in this negotiation, I mean, they wouldn't be trying to pressure me if we weren't really Well, if we didn't have a product that was phenomenal, I wouldn't be the goal at all, so I'm really lucky to be in this conversation, so if I can make the next emotional shift, then I'm good.
The

hard

part is converting those chefs. I'm going to share with you what I recently learned about sound and emotion. I'm researching an episode about music in the brain, fascinating topic. Believe it or not, a lot is known and the auditory system has this property where, of course, there are neurons, nerve cells that respond to different frequencies of sound, low, low frequency, You know, deeper tones and high frequency screeches and that kind of thing, right, okay, that's pretty simple, just like we have neurons that respond to different colors or different, you know, angles of light in the room, but what I learned and confirmed with a good friend of mine who is an auditory neuroscientist. and neurosurgeons named zetty Chang, who were guests on this podcast previously, is that neurons respond in the brain to low-frequency sounds like your voice, that nighttime fmdj voice, not surprising, but the frequency with which What those neurons fire is also low frequency, in other words, when you speak softly, the other person's brain hears that and starts firing in a low frequency tone, in other words, it adapts to your voice not only time, but it's actually like you're playing. an emotional piano in the low keys of your mind now when you go up to the high frequencies the neurons can't follow that high frequency so there's something special about low frequency sound that really changes people's emotional tone.
Hearing that low frequency sound is crazy, right? I mean, of course, the content of the words matters too, but there is still real neuroscience behind the voice that you were gifted with and that you used well for your work. so and then also the point is that it is not that the other party is not making a decision, it is an involuntary reaction, that's right, this is not something one can override, except maybe by properly covering their ears if they hear their mind going. It's getting changed into a low frequency oscillation state which is a calmer one, yeah, so yeah, that's a real thing and if you had a high, squeaky Chipmunk voice, you might not have been The Negotiator, you had all that. , who knows, maybe there.
There would be another tactic there, I mean, I think back to what I guess it was during one of the Gulf War campaigns where they weren't trying to squeeze Saddam and some of the people out of him playing like Milli Vanilli. at high volume for hours and hours is that tactic actually used um so that was uh Panama when they were trying to catch Noriega well, I'm only a few, I'm only a few countries, although you know, it had an ocean or I got the trivia, You know, what I was telling you before and the crazy, yes, fascinating and useless information about terrorism and things like that.
I tried it in Panama and for whatever the military was playing music and sounds and then also among the many stupid ones. things that the FBI did in Waco and then late at night they tried that at the Waco compound as well and it was just, that was one of the things that the hostage negotiators were adamantly opposed to, but they were overruled at the respond to the command among the many stupid ones. things that were done in Waco that were also done in Waco was stupid, it's counterproductive, the hostage negotiators were always against it, so for those who don't remember Waco, Waco is a branch of Davidians, uh, David Koresh, right, Yes, there was a Netflix series that came out. about that recently, that's fair, um, about how it happened, yeah, sad ending, he finally set the building on fire, he committed suicide and everyone else and the people inside set the building on fire, yeah, including a lot of kids.
Parish, including some children, some, there are some, uh FBI agents who still haven't gotten over the luck of talking about different types of negotiations. I often think that because you're a former negotiator for the FBI, a terrorist task force, these types of things, we tend to focus on the negative negotiations. hostages away and we'll talk about those things um breakups business deals that have gone wrong um people lying cheating what about negotiations that are benevolent let's say two people want to reach true mutual benefit you know what each one sees? be your best interests in, say, friendship two friends traveling together on vacation who's going to pay what who's going to pay in advance are the people who are going to pay each other back um or a romantic relationship two people are considering, you know , merge finances to some extent or move forward together, what kind of questions should people be asking themselves before those particular negotiations?
Is it very important that people know exactly what they want when starting a negotiation? Or I can remember many times where I've gone through life circumstances knowing that I wanted a certain set of feelings or outcomes, but without being extremely specific, you know, I want this salary, I want to live in, you know, in a west-facing house in this particular place, you know, an exploration of potentials, I think it can also take shape. of negotiation, so how should people think about approaching benevolent negotiations, like when we're not talking about something tragic happening, if it doesn't happen, it might hurt, it might be a little bit.
High friction, but let's talk about how to get to win-win, yeah, well, there's a couple of interesting things there, first of all, you know the phrase win-win, because win-win is just a great collaboration. I mean, an important fact, it should be a win-win, which now might just be an emotional win-win. win-win phraseology I know that if someone opens a negotiation with me and says right off the bat look, I want to make a win-win deal with you that correlates extremely highly with someone who is trying to pick my pocket, so if you use that sentence in the first five minutes.
I know where you come from. You're trying to get me to take off my guards when I lose. And this appeared in our Instagram post that I posted recently, which is essentially care. for the person who says win-win now I didn't say win-win is bad. I said be careful who says it. You should also be careful if you have a win-win mentality, then people notice They prepare to be slaughtered by the person who expresses a desire to win-win and seeks to pick your pocket as if in my heart I feel that everyone wins, wow , let's make a win-win deal if I don't look at it.
I'm like, "Okay, what do you want?", and then I find myself giving away the store, so there's a lot of things behind win-win phraseology that you have to have a full understanding of, and in fact, both Parties must feel good about the result and they do. That's not the definition of win-win, but it's how they feel about it rather than what they got in a benevolent negotiation between friends. Where are we going to go to eat? Where are we going on vacation? What route? Are we going to accept? People really want to be heard more than anything else, which operationally seems to be that I don't understand how it's going to make any difference, it makes all the difference in the world and what's the best way for someone to do it. feel heard well.
I'm going to start by telling you, describing, not telling you, but describing to you what my best guess is from your perspective because it's really sizing me up, actually, figuring out where you stand and the only way I can do it. find out where your position really is I'm going to augment you by telling me if I start to guess first because you're going to immediately tell me if I'm right or if I'm wrong, you're going to correct me, correction is a satisfying thing and you're going to be much more honest with me if you correct me than if you correct me.
I ask you, so I will do it and you. I'll feel good about correcting myself, so there will be all these fantastic emotional lubricants for me, making you correct me, so I'll start by saying, "This is what I think you're thinking, this is how I think you're approaching it." This is what I think you're expecting from this, not what you should be, but what you probably are from your perspective and that will speed up the conversation exponentially, like it's ridiculous how much faster things are going to go and then it becomes a information gathering and reporting process simultaneously rather than separately, making this approach faster even though it seems more indirect, so if we're getting ready to say you're not going to take a road trip to California . to San Francisco from here and I'll tell you okay, so I'm guessing you want to take the most direct route because you hate wasting time and you're probably going to tell me no, no, I want to go across the Pacific.
Coast Highway because it's this beautiful stretch of country. I realize it will be a waste of time if we go up the Pacific coast because we have to jump out of there at some point, but I really want to see the scenery you would have. You've already guessed what you want and you'll come back real quick and correct me and then maybe I'm thinking about the travel time, but I've forgotten how beautiful it is to roll along the coast and so when you throw that away and I'll be like, "Oh yeah , it's a beautiful trip and we may not get another chance," like who knows what's going to happen, so yeah, now that we're having a conversation, I'd rather run across the Pacific.
Coast Highway before we go inland and make the trip and that's how we got to um we collaborated to get a little bit better outcome maybe a better idea than what you had in mind in the first place. I love it because what you just described is hypothesis testing, yes, it's the way scientists are trained. You know, a lot of people don't know this, but in science we're taught not to ask questions, but to start with a question like, do you know how the brain develops or something? and then you say. a hypothesis and you test them and you find out if they are right or wrong and that takes you through a set of decision trees and you finally get what you hope is a fundamental truth and then hopefully others get there too and you get a consensus, so I love the idea of ​​testing hypotheses, in fact, when you said, take the most direct route from where we are now in Los Angeles to San Francisco, I like to take one at a time, not all five, five is faster , so I immediately think about it, but I like it 101.
First of all, there are a couple of good taco and burger places along the way that I used to stop at with my bulldog and yes, you can also see the coast and that makes Those two extra hours are worth it. so you're absolutely right that working on the decision tree doesn't necessarily mean assuming that the hypothesis is correct, it sounds like you would be equally okay with the hypothesis being incorrect because really what you're doing is just learning. and, by learning, establish this collaboration. I love a couple of things, first of all, when you talk about hypotheticals and when my son Brandon was involved in a company that he's in, now he's on his own, but he used to. to always say hypothesis testing your hypothesis you always use that term and then even now, like if we were talking about it and you just said you knew some hot dog and hamburger places, I would be like a holy cow, I didn't even know, Yes Yes.
I want to check those places out so that's how you discover new things in conversation. I love it, and I'm also sure people realize not to say the words win-win. When approaching any type of negotiation, what do you think? it's about those little phrases that indicate a lack of authenticity or trustworthiness because you can imagine someone you know coming to you and saying you know, hey Chris, like, come on, I don't know, let's do something collaborative for social media for podcast. . and um, this is going to be beneficial for both of us now. I know I should never say that with you, but you can imagine that someone really means that, yes, but to you it sounds like it's a flag they're trying to throw. one on top, it's, uh, it correlates very strongly with people who are definitely trying to slit your throat and I've had him admit that to me it's frankly unbelievable, like it's um, I've experienced it like someone throws me a beneficial solution. for everyone from the beginning.
I'll say okay, I think I know where this is going, but let me explore it and you'll say yeah, you know this great opportunity for you, that's another token and we're going to put you in a room with all these billionaires and there's going to be this whole opportunity to you if you just come in and talk and you know we don't have a budget, well, I already got that one before, yeah, the famous one, the famous one, uh, the. the worldit's just going to work in your favor because magic because it's going to work in my favor right, yeah, exactly right, I mean, I've been on the receiving end of those offers many times, um, fascinating, conversely, what kind of openers do you make? ?
I think it established the best relationship and, you know, a benevolent discovery of a topic. Well, what I'm saying correlates very strongly with the people I want to do business with, if they discovered something that they know is valuable to me and they just did it. and they just offered it from the beginning, without conditions, they found a way to leave me something that is valuable and they didn't reach out to me. They reached out to me and reached out to me with some kind of generosity. I think a friend of mine, Joe Polish, runs this organization called genius Network Joe.
I think he says that life is given to the giver. Yo Joe did me a lot of favors before I joined and he was trying to help me and sell my book and he asked me to come and talk and he had highlighted my book on his podcast and in different conversations and, you know, I finally paid the fee to join because he had done so much for me like there's not much Joe could ask of me right now because he's done so much for me he gets a blanket pretty much yes right away whatever you want whatever you need because he's just generous and the generosity approach universally.
I'm seeing a lot of really successful people who lead with generosity, so if you start, you know if you give me a five-star review of the book on Amazon, no strings attached or anything like that. a long way for someone who wants to establish a long term relationship a collaboration when I first opened my lab in 2011 I had a technician at the time who had been a technician for many years and there is this culture and science of people borrowing things from the labs and not returning them or breaking them, these may be small things, like a small instrument or a pair of tweezers, um, but you know, as a student or a postdoc, these are the things that you covet, like a really nice pair of tweezers.
It's cool, you know, you drop them once they're no longer good, by the way, it's like they treat them with respect. Surgical tools should be treated with respect. These are very fine instruments and people. He used to come to our lab all the time and ask us to borrow things and he always lent them and I was like what are you doing? But every time I went to borrow something he said, Don't borrow anything from anyone else because then we're going to owe them now everyone owes us everything and I was like you're draining our budget by giving away these instruments they come back with dented forceps. and those things and he said just trust me this is the way to do it and I don't remember ever, quote unquote, profiting from any of it, but he was absolutely right when I finally decided to move the institutions that we had given so much to and We had asked for so little, maybe nothing, that you know, it was when you leave a place there can normally be a bit of resentment and all we had was sorry to see you leave, that kind of thing if it had been me, I would have been in some kind of exchange of oh, we ask for things, we give things, you know?
It's kind of a neighborhood. I grew up in a neighborhood where you would borrow eggs or milk from your neighbor. Remember those days. I don't know if people do that anymore. But I think it fits well with what you're describing. which you know when when you just do things for people, um out of kindness, then you know you have a story that you could go back to that that you're owed, but there's also something good about just doing things out of kindness and also not asking as much and waiting for people to provide it, so I love that and I actually love giving good reviews on things that I like, you know on the phone, when you know the airline, we don't do this anymore, we book our own flights, but every time I get help on the phone and you know if it's really helpful, I'll say how can I help and they'll say, Oh, it would mean a lot if you sent an email to my company just saying I did a great job or something and I really enjoy it a lot. so I love the points you're making because they're very practical, as many of you know I've been taking ag1 daily since 2012.
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I reply ag1 if you want to try ag1 go to bebarag1. com huberman to claim a special offer, they will give you five free travel packages plus a year's supply of vitamin D3 K2 again, that's drink ag1.com huberman is shifting slightly towards let's call them high friction negotiations or the types of negotiations where there is the potential for a really bad outcome right, um, I know you've been asked this before, but some of our listeners will be learning about you for the first time. Do you remember the many negotiations you did while you were in the FBI? particular negotiation that I felt like if this doesn't work this is really catastrophic and would you be willing to share that with us?
Well, I learned that they tried to teach this from the beginning that not everything is going to work out and the second negotiation. I had in the Philippines, the first one, a young man named Jeff Schilling was captured by a terrorist group, Abu Sayef, and he ended up walking away because we still rob the bad guys long enough that sometimes, you know, if you can. you slow down, you wait for something good to fall from the sky and it will happen and that ended up happening in that case and a bad guy ends up calling the negotiator that I trained on the phone after he was done to basically tell him that he still had a good relationship, it was a crazy, why would a bad guy call the negotiator who was responsible for him losing everything and say, you know you did a good job, which is exactly what happened, so we get into a case, and I hadn't made?
If something had gone wrong at that point, the next case, Burnham said, a Barrel case, uh, by a different faction of the terrorist group, 13 months later ends with, um, two or three remaining hostages shot to death by friendly fire , uh, on the way, hostages. America was executed from the beginning and it was a train wreck and a lot of people died along the way and really ridiculous, bad things happened and that was bad all the way through, um, so we learned, you know, we learned. A lot of it, um, I went back and reviewed everything we did and we didn't do anything wrong that we thought, according to our strategy, we didn't miss anything and that's why I ended up collaborating with the Harvard guys. because my reaction was if we did everything we know how to do and it was not enough, that means we are not smart enough, we have to improve and that case taught me a lot about the dynamics that really happened on the other side and the difference between you They know if the people are really on their side or not, the US government was not very collaborative, the Philippine government was not very collaborative, everyone wanted to get their pound of flesh from the other, the other side.
I mean as bad as you can imagine when grandma sabo was murdered by Abu sayif it was a national holiday in the Philippines and the bad guys had a history of killing people on national holidays and we weren't from the Philippines. and we had no idea that that day was a national holiday and we showed up at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Manila and it was closed now we understood. I have a hostage case going on with bad guys threatening to kill the hostages and we show up. at the doors and the doors are closed and we thought what the hell is happening here it was the national holiday, no one is working today.
First of all, no one told us that. Secondly, I don't think the bad guys really care about that. It's a national holiday and no one is working, our negotiators are nowhere to be found, we have a guy there who, um, the previous negotiator we worked with with the Philippine National Police was not so happy that they didn't have him under total control, so they give him We're a guy who won't tell us anything until I've told him, so he's having conversations with the bad guys and we're actually hearing about him secondhand. He didn't show up that day and then, and of course, that day the bad guys. announced that they are going to kill a hostage and give him as a gift to the country of the Philippines because it is a holiday and then by the way they like to do this on holidays and Grandma Sombrero ended up getting her head cut off because all the factions in war on our side of the table they weren't telling each other what the hell is going on, so I assumed at the time that people would tell us the things we need to know that we didn't know.
I need to ask and after that I thought, look, there's nothing here that I don't need to know. Don't know. If it's a holiday, it's coming up, then you assume I know you have to tell us, so I really learned a There's a lot about collaboration on our side of the table and also the lack of collaboration on the other side of the table. Just because we're a mess doesn't mean they got their act together and the bad guys didn't get their act together and Ultimately, the hostages were one of the reasons someone didn't get out because internally they had betrayed each other, so they learned a lot about nature. really fundamental human.
The dynamic is in teams and your team does not act together and the other team does. Neither, so what can you do as a communicator to compensate for that? I really learned a lot about that. In that case, I had cases after the one involving Al Qaeda when Al Qaeda was killing people on a regular basis, but we saw them coming and did everything we could to stop the train from crashing into the US. You see a train coming down down the tracks, you know it's coming down the tracks and you do your best to derail it and sometimes you can't.
I've heard it said. that when people take someone captive they want their money, their body or their life or some combination of that, yes it's probably one of those three, yes that's very true and as the negotiator trying to rescue the hostage, it's important identify from the beginning which of those three or which of those three um from then on like how serious they are, are they willing to kill the hostage, are they? Know? Will they go for any amount of money over X amount of dollars? They cross their threshold, I mean, because the person on the other side is betting, right, they're betting his freedom, they're betting his reputation with whoever cares about his reputation.
Is it important to get into the mentality of the person you love? We're negotiating quickly um using the hypothesis generation method um and if so, could you give an example of how that played out in your previous job? Yes, the indicators are really there, I mean, once you lose your mind. Illusions about how you think things should develop, then the patterns of behavior are usually pretty quick and clear, and just because you don't like the patterns like with Al Qaeda, we recognize the patterns and knowing what they are doesn't mean you can change what which they are and Al Qaeda in the 2004 period was very clear about killing people on deadline and we had to recognize that, then it becomes a pattern of behavior and it's usually specificity in what they say and this is it.
This is all human nature, like if you're in a business negotiation and they say you know we're going to do something horrible here, you know we're going to leave, you know that's pretty nonspecific and if they say, look if you don't get this before this specific deadline if we don't get these specific things done at this specific time that's pretty specific that's specificity what you're looking for I learned to look ahead in kidnapping negotiations we're working on a case again in the Philippines and some bad guy says , you know if, if we don't get a ransom for the sun, a 17-year-old boy at that time gets kidnapped, you know, you tell his father that he's going to lose an egg and that's what you get.
I have a euphemism for losing a child and at first when that threat came from our side of the table, everyone was like, "Oh my God, they're going to kill him," you know, this is really bad, we have to make sure that the family can pay the ransom. I say no, no, no, no, they didn't say when it was going to happen, they didn't say how it was going to happen, they didn't say who was going to do it, you know the basic specificity of who. what when and where they went and out here very clear and we never said we were going to do it we never said when it was going to happen we never said what kid you know what they are just trying to scare you they are throwing something away I said we have a lot of time to play with this we have to carry this through the process to the end now later in that case when the family triedransom and got screwed by God knows who the bad guys came back on the phone and said if we don't get paid tomorrow your son dies and I was like okay that's specific and these guys sound like they mean it so that we We will have to make sure that this is fixed tomorrow or that will be the end of this kit and at that time we allowed the family that we were in a position to allow or not, we were in a position to offer thoughts and our thoughts.
Were they serious now and you need to do something now or something bad is probably going to happen and now they are so serious why do you always have to worry about what we used to call a double? Do they take the money and then come back and say no, they It was an initial payment, which was not the ransom, which was just an initial payment? You have to make sure they don't bend you if you let the family pay. and you have to give me your honest opinion on whether or not they're going to let the hostage go if you pay now and our thoughts were you Pam tomorrow your son is going out and he got a double bath, it's kind of scary I hear about um on a much more level low, which means more lower level um, people sometimes get shaken online, you know, like their password is taken away, there are people everywhere who click on this link, you know, you get a text message, you know, we.
You have identified that your account has changed, verify that you click on the link and it takes you somewhere where you enter your username and password and boom, it disappears and then they try to sell it to you again, usually through cryptocurrency because it is not traceable by Likewise, those negotiations can be a lot of fun if you let them. I hope our discussion about this now saves some people the trouble of having their accounts hacked. I have known people who have had their accounts hacked. hacked accounts and these are some smart people, but what's interesting is that I've also observed those situations where someone gets to the point where they say, you know I'm going to give them what they want and I remember that in this particular case. saying no, no, don't give them the money because then they're just going to say they want more.
There is no guarantee that they will give you back what you want. Why would they be right? If you think about it, why? Would the money be funneled and would you like them to just be able to pivot and go to the next thing? So how can you gain confidence that you are likely to double dip or not? Well, first of all, I have to find out if you know if they are in a position to carry out the threat or if they are in some kind of legitimate position to begin with, you know, for lack of a better term, it is Proof of Life and there are many people who are trying to scam you, but they really don't have the ability to scam you, so you have to find out.
You know, do some confirmation. Do they have access to your account? Do they have your data? Do they have your money? Do they have it in a position? They are just trying to make you believe that they have that position of influence over you. There are a lot of bad guys out there who are just rolling a dice for dollars, so to speak, and if they don't rip you off. when they have no influence over you, they will find someone else who will give in, so there is a bit of authenticity or they are in a position to do so and the same rule applies in any negotiation, the other party is they are going to give in when they feel they have achieved everything they can, kidnappers, an ambassador will ask me, an FBI commander will ask me when it will end when the bad guys feel they have achieved everything they couldn't. when they did it, but when they felt like they did it, our job is just to make them feel it before, so you know how hard you make it innocently, on the other side, everyone wants to feel like they did it, and they got a good day of pay. a good day at work, so if you let them feel like they are in charge and make them work by innocently asking them how and what questions that are very difficult and tiring to answer, then you will get to the point where we will get a solid result where we don't We'll go down twice and they'll be happy it's over because they felt like they got everything they could.
It could be your details, it could be your bank account, um, it could be anything. The other party will be satisfied with the result when he feels that he worked for it and in business negotiations you sell your car and some put a price tag on it and a guy comes up to you and says: give you the total amount right now what is it? your reaction should ask for more um maybe I won't sell my car you know every human interaction the other party wants to feel like they earned what they got and that's why the idea of ​​empathy and hostage negotiations It's really just to make them feel like we'll soon be back to the empathy because it's a very big and important topic, but I've heard it said before that if someone you don't know, but maybe also someone you know, puts a real sense of urgency, you know, I need the money now or um, I need you to do something right away or else it's not a threat of physical violence, but any request to rush something is a red flag, yeah, it's probably a scam, you know? very rarely is it necessary to click on the link within 24 hours.
I mean, how could it be true? But that is one way in which people are exploited. Yes, a request comes by phone or email. text message or maybe even a person, someone says you know you need to do this right now or something bad is going to happen. Capture people's sense of urgency. Make them make a mistake and then they're left reeling because that request for something. right now or I think it hits a fundamental nerve in the U.S. Yeah, you know they want to help be a rescuer, so it's a good rule of thumb that people should keep in mind not to do that.
I think that's a great rule of thumb. I mean, me, a friend of mine, someone got his phone number not too long ago and I was getting text messages from his number, so I thought, look man, I've got some real problems, look, I need some money from you now, right? who is it? friend a friend's number and I remember when I saw him for the first time actually yes when I first saw him he was very busy and I felt bad for not having contacted him again that day and then I didn't hear from him again and so on I thought, well, whatever it was, you figured it out, so a couple of weeks later I got the message again.
You have a real problem. You have to get back to me right now, so I decide if he really is my friend. I'm going to help you right now. I have to make sure that he's really my friend and I said, hey man, you know, you didn't mention this at all the last time I saw you in Vegas because I had seen him in Vegas recently and he's like. Yeah, you know, I was busy, I couldn't mention it and something like our thing, so there's no direct confirmation or denial that we had breakfast together in Las Vegas, so I responded and said "like" and man, I have to tell you something that was It was such a crazy night and I still owe you money from them, so you know that night when we were gambling.
I still owe you money. I'm happy to help you now. It wasn't a crazy night, it was breakfast and I didn't know money. and his next response was like yeah, don't worry about it, you know, you can make up for that about me with this, so I'm fine, cool, so now I start making things up and I was like, you know, and when we were. With those strippers and that dog and the clown and the pony I'll never get over it and now guys, what are you talking about? And I said by the way and then I started telling some things about his wife and his mother and The guy got insulted and insulted me and stopped texting me and then I sent all those text messages to the real guy, including you know what I said about his mother, and he answered me.
He has a great sense of humor. He says by the way, my mom thinks you're attractive oh man, I think, but I'll start. I started everything by simply checking the source. If he was my friend, he would have helped him right away and I need to throw something at him to help him. I confirm it's him and then I'll be there for him, but I'm also going to have put a little bit of a curveball in there so that if he doesn't get it, I know it's a scam and then I'll be there. I'll have fun with it, I have an incredible knowledge that you know people will hear this and they might think, oh you know, that's never going to happen to me, but like I said, I've known family and friends who make the mistake and bite the hook. clicking on the link and now you are getting the Shakedown um actually a good friend of mine said that her parents called at some point her parents were probably in their 70s now someone had called their house and told them that their son was this woman had been kidnapped, right, and that they needed to send money properly and that if they called the police they would kill her or harm her in some way, so they started sending money and they were afraid to contact her and you can see how a predicament, a loving father you would be right, they obviously don't want their child hurt and they are obviously willing to do whatever it takes to get them back.
Turns out it was a total scam, because there was finally communication. that made me realize that her daughter was perfectly fine and she didn't even interact with the kidnappers, so those types of scams happen quite often. That happened to a friend too, yes, so the sense of urgency should have been the first sign. Great point, yes, absolutely yes, and look, look, even if they have your loved one, the secondary problem is that if you do what they want, they will let them go, which is actually a legitimate question, like are they really bad, one of the things we learned in the hostage negotiation that I applied a business negotiation there are legitimate questions that are okay to ask you are not being disrespectful you are not rejecting there are fair you know how to use the F bomb fair legitimate questions that I can ask under any circumstances, which is basically, you know, if I comply, this will work based on how you're articulating it, anything that adds communication, which gives you more information to figure out what the end result looks like, even in kidnappings.
How do you know that? How do you know that if you pay they will let them go? That's a legitimate question. There are examples somewhere in between. You know your Instagram account was hacked. Your bank account was hacked. God forbid they kidnap his son. For example, there is a whole practice within the legal profession of investigating to see if someone is going to give up their money to avoid a lawsuit, for example, right, this is a lawyer friend of mine who recently described his work very well, he said in his words. In the first person he said: I scare people for money.
The key word is to scare people. It's being an ant. he works both sides, you know, and in plaintiff or defense type situations, but you know, that made me realize that you know a lot of the legal profession is not right, the lawsuit slipped on the table, okay, This is what the lawsuit would look like. all the statutes that were potentially violated and then there's an investigation into what someone's finances are and you know how much they're willing to pay and do they have liability insurance, do they have an umbrella policy, all kinds of things that are actually not It is necessarily an illegal Shakedown, but it is an investigation into whether or not you know that diagnosing the other party's ability to pay is worth the effort.
You are right and that happens very often. Can I give a specific example where um someone had an incident at a dog park where their dog um allegedly ran into someone maybe charged at someone you know, the people at the dog park are standing around and the person moved and apparently hurt his knee, but instead of suing the dog owner what he normally does is hand over a set of documents that say you know I was hurt, your dog was responsible for this and if you don't settle with amount of dollars, they will generally sue you for an exorbitant amount above that right. true, and then there's this question that lawyers have to figure out: Is it bragging?
Right? You're saying I'm going to sue him for four million dollars? Is there any basis for that? I'm trying to scare you with a big number, but a lot of people see that number and say, "Oh my God, what do they want? You know?" I don't even know if they were hurt, if they were, that's terrible. let them take care of it if my dog ​​is responsible I would like them to take care of it but what do they need to make this go away right and that happens millions of times a day all over the country and a good portion of them probably happen. here in California because that's how the legal system is set up properly, so it's not about someone, you know, it could be someone manipulating the law, it could also be someone who is being completely honest about their experience of being injured by the action of another person. dog, so under those conditions, I mean, it seems like the same set of rules applies.
You want to know how serious they are, if they have a case, so to speak, that's the job of lawyers, but in evaluating how serious someone is, you said it's fair. You called it the f-word. I like it, I'll never forget that it just asks a fair question like how much money do you think you deserve or um, that would be a good example of a very direct question, uh, or is it? um What are the chances of you leaving if we don't give you the money like you know? WannaI mean, because I can imagine that there are all kinds of reasons why people would be dishonest about answering those questions right and then, how much money?
Do you think you might deserve it? uh you deserve it is a very good question, not necessarily what the answer is, but how they answer it, you will know how quickly they respond and whether or not they stop to think about it, how and what. questions typicallyIt is best to judge the other party's reaction and the answer is secondary because the question how or what causes what we would call deep thinking slow thinking Danny Kahneman behavioral economics fast and slow thinking slow thinking is deep thinking you ask how or What question makes the other party think first and judge your reaction on how they think about it?
Do they really think about it or do they shoot directly at you? That gives you a clearer idea of ​​who you're dealing with. where the outcome will go how much money do you think you deserve if you immediately know 10 million dollars okay so I have a Shakedown artist on the other side or they say okay if you stop and think about it. and they give you a thoughtful answer that it's a completely different person on the other side, you're asking a question to diagnose how they respond first, the answer is second and sometimes if it's a murderer on the other side, I go to start mowing them down with questions about how and what just to wear them down, that's passive aggression.
If I have a murderous bully on the other side, I'm going to fall into passive-aggressive behavior to stop him and where I am. one of my hostage negotiation heroes, a guy called Johnny Pico was John Domenico Pico, not Johnny like Johnny Rockets, the Italian Johnny John Domenico took all the Western hostages out of Beirut in the mid 80's, he wrote a book called The Man Without a weapon, he negotiated in person face to face. confront Hezbollah, the only man who ever did it, he managed to get everyone out and in his book he wrote that one of the great secrets of negotiation is learning to exhaust the other side and when you have a really dangerous adversary on the other side of the table you don't go toe-to-toe you don't argue you're not combative you wear them down you exhaust them and if you find someone really combative or murderous on the other side start peppering them with questions about how and what because even thinking about the answer tires them out and it's passive-aggressive and deferential and it really works, so if the person on the opposite side of a high-friction negotiation is aggressive, the goal is to slow things down, tire them out, yes, and catch them. just give in or reveal something that is a loophole, yeah right yeah if I have to make the deal then I'll wear them down.
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I'm interested in going a little deeper into this process of wearing them down and the passive-aggressive way of de-escalating bullies and I want to highlight it for people. You know what we're talking about here, don't you know about manipulation to extract something? Actually, we're talking about the opposite, we're talking about a bad actor being aggressive and trying to defang that bad actor, yeah, yeah, what? Is that process of wearing them down? It looks or sounds. Could you give us a couple of examples of let's say I'm the bad actor? We could play this game. I won't be very good at this.
And I'm saying: look. you want that person well, what are they going to be, how questions that are mostly how and what and they're going to be legitimate questions, what is how do I know you're going to follow through what does that look like if I do what you want, how do I know you're going to follow through? So get them talking about the alternative. Okay, if you were very good, if you turn in before then, I will definitely pass them on to you, like We're just getting short answers where the person goes back to being like a rigid Stonewall approach, yeah, well, and there's a phrase we use all the time.
The vision drives the decision, so if you are really going to deliver, yes I am. I give up and when I said how do I know you're going to follow through? I'm not talking about the threat. I'm not trying to get you to clarify the threat. I'm trying to get you to clarify. what the implementation looks like, so I need to know that based on your reaction to that, if you plan to move forward, if I follow through, you will already have it in your head or you will be open to it. The vision drives the decision you have thought through carefully.
Preview, what does it look like to let the hostages go? If you do, if you have no intention of ever releasing a hostage, if I go ahead, then you won't be able to answer the question or you'll probably throw it away. Turn on me real quick and now I know it's okay so you have no plans to comply, if I give in you're not going to comply so but you still want the money so I'll ask you well how am I doing? I'm supposed to pay you if you don't have a compliance plan and if you're willing to have a conversation about what compliance looks like.
It was a kidnapping that my unit worked on right before I was in Venezuela, where they weren't. completely sure that the bad guys were going to the FARC. I think they had held the hostage. They agreed on an exchange point to let the hostage go that was some distance away from where they had a pretty good idea the hostage was being held, so they figured it out. They're not going to drag the hostage to this River Crossing if they're not going to let them go, it's just too much effort and then it was one of the few times that there was going to be a simultaneous exchange, theoretically simultaneous, but we'll have to send the money to the other side of the river before they free the hostage, so if we're okay with this, they're not going to drag this guy to this River Crossing, they're not planning on doing that. let them go and if it's a long way to drag them and they got their money, do you want to drag them back even if they are ambivalent once they get there, if they have made all the effort to get to the meeting place? and the hostage is there, now we have significantly increased the chances of them going ahead and complying because it is a pain to get them back.
This is all a matter of human nature. Investment in human nature. How to get them to commit? in actions and behaviors and then verbal commitments that actually mean something to them when I was working kidnappings the last thing we always have is the family getting the bad guys to say it at the end, not first but at the end we would actually get a promise verbal of leaving them. they come back at the end because we've been talking to them for quite a while and so far we have a pretty good idea of ​​what they sound like when they lie and how they sound when they're told the truth if someone tells them the truth they tend to tell the truth of it way every time if they tell the truth, you talk to someone long enough to know if they ever tell the truth and if they do, what does it sound like people lie in 20 ways?
They tell the truth one way, so we've been conducting negotiations with the kidnappers long enough to know what they sound like when they tell the truth, so when they finally ask you if we pay them, you promise to let them go. That's not the answer, it's how they responded to it and that will be the last thing to seal the deal. You know how you continually stack the odds in your favor for implementation? Do you have a body sensor like a somatic for lying? The reason I ask is that years ago I had the experience of meeting someone and they turned out to be an overall good person, but from the beginning I felt like something was wrong.
I couldn't relax with that person. I just couldn't relax with her. and I couldn't tell you why, but it was like I couldn't even identify her neuroanatomy. You could say it was the vagus nerve or something, but I show their anatomy and I can't point to a pathway in the body. There was something in my autonomic response that started to speed up when I was around them like something was wrong, something was wrong, something else and I and I'm not kidding five years later, five years later I discovered a series of lies that all tied together that didn't really have any meaning in the total context of things, but I remember thinking at the time, oh my God, like if my system was like new and with all my knowledge of neuroscience I can't tell you to this day how it was in my biology but it had something to do with my bodily response it wasn't just a thought like that doesn't quite add up or I feel I'm going in circles or was this all a physical sensation, are you familiar with that experience?
Yeah, well, it's kind of what you and your colleagues are still discovering, the science behind the gut and what we're actually teaching, you know my company, we're now teaching people to learn the difference between your gut and your amygdala. for lack of a better moment your fear focuses and you know which is which and listen to your gut your gut is ridiculously accurate now where does that information come from one of your podcasts recently I was listening to who? we were talking about the Olaf Factory juice, right, the smells like I never thought about that, of course, you know, yeah, it's the, um, uh, it was a term for the, um, the molecules that you're putting off, that , oh pheromones, oh pheromones, they're going to get.
It was expelled, of course, and that's why some of the great researchers I knew would say: I can smell it, so what is feeding your gut and what are the senses that science hasn't discovered yet? Can't you can't you make me believe? I will never believe that the life force stops at the surface of our skin, that there is energy and that we can capture the energy. I mean, our gut is being fed by all of these. different inputs that we are aware of or have not yet been aware of that tonal voice doesn't match his words the tilt of the head you have a super computer in your brain your instinct is amazing if you could listen to it instead of yours Fierce centers and as soon as you start listening to your gut you can't explain it at the time but you must have a bad feeling in your gut and later you saw it all it all came together where your brain was picking up these signals your brain was probably when you're in his presence there has to be a smell that someone gives off when they are when they are intentionally deceiving right?
You didn't know that was a smile and maybe you couldn't have consciously smelled it but you're still getting it so long answer to I'm a big believer in The gut I think there is science we know and yet to discover that tells us the gut is ridiculously accurate if we listen to it instead of our fear centers. I completely agree that there are energetic exchanges that neuroscience cannot yet explain. The field of neuroscience that is beginning to explore some of these things basically there. three Apex journals, the most competitive journals to publish in science, nature and cells, and I only mentioned that because there was a series of articles written in Science magazine about the reception of Magneto in humans, you know the idea that the humans being able to detect magnetic fields sounds like quackery, right?
Turtles. They can detect magnetic fields, they actually migrate through them over long distances, but the idea is that humans can't do that and yet there are some well-controlled studies where people have to guess the orientation of a field. magnetic and they do it better than chance. Not everyone can do it, but some can do it better than chance in a way that cannot be predicted by anything other than some inherent form of magnetoreception in their nervous system, so there are abilities of the nervous system that are beginning to be revealed by the which ones we should I don't have much evidence, but there is enough evidence to suggest that these things are really happening.
The other example that you may find interesting is a little more a little less esoteric, but there is a beautiful article published in one of the cells. press magazines from a couple of years ago show that whenpeople hear the same story the distance between their heartbeats tends to be very similar now it doesn't mean that their exact heart rates are similar, but if you look at the distance between their heartbeats, they all drift to the same beat, the same song and get this, They are in completely separate rooms, these experiments are done on completely separate days, and yet if I were to line up, you know the distance between heartbeats for you.
They would line up like a set of columns, wow, for dozens of people. who hear the same story, so you know clearly that there is a passage of energy from the things we hear and see that enters our nervous system at a level that is below our conscious detection. Here's the last thing I'll say on this: We have a mental health series coming out, not about mental illness but about mental health. By the way, I think we are among the best psychiatrists in the world. Dr. Paul Conte and said, you know. everyone thinks the forebrain is the super computer, right, he said no, the subconscious is the super, yes, that's where the real knowledge processing happens, that's the iceberg beneath the surface where everything has taken place. the real heavy lifting and people learning to tap. in the subconscious you can learn to use that information in very meaningful ways and I think that's what you're describing, it's been with you before, it has to talk about the trauma in particular and it was on Lex Friedman's podcast as well as the series than us.
What we're doing with it isn't about trauma per se, it's really about the subconscious and the self. I think you will find this series really interesting, yes, and it has a number of very practical questions that one can ask themselves about their subconscious and their type. work, the Psychiatry process, we're excited to launch that series, but it's because I don't know of anything like that that's been presented to the public, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear him say, you know, We've all heard that the forebrain is the super computer, It is what drove our evolution.
He says no, no, it's the subconscious, it's where our true wisdom lies and the forebrain is just the implementation device, so, you know, how can we convince ourselves. that we're in charge, right, yeah, I mean, I can't think of a time where my gut told me A and it turned out to be B more often than not, even though I've suppressed my response, right? I override it by thinking, I think. I made the mistake of you training your negotiators to avoid it, which I thought, well, this is making me anxious and anxiety must be like me, so it must be my fault or I can't call myself in this situation, I'm not sleeping.
Well, etc. and um and therefore like that it must represent some deficiency on my part and then um and God knows, as your shirt points out, I am a very imperfect person. I have many defects. I always say that I have 3,000 things that bother me. and at least as many defects to equal that piece. I wonder when at least the relationship, but the point is that I think our bodies really know that they know, yes, yes, yes, yes, I would agree, so when you're negotiating and you're hearing someone's voice on the phone , there are a lot of signals when you are face to face, there are additional signals, there is their face and then of course, if the negotiations are done through text messages through a computer or a phone, it is a very small environment for information so maybe we could talk about each of them because we live in those landscapes if we are face to face and we are negotiating um you are listening, of course, what I want what I am insisting on, you are working on it process from your side what you are lending to attention visually is more, there are things lined up, there is data from Layman, you know the words, the way they are said and you look at people's faces and how they weigh themselves and how they develop, there is a proportion out there that varied scientific 738 55 7 words 38 delivery 55 body language people aren't going to argue about it all the time whether that's accurate or not, as a general rule we throw it out there, but I tell people the more important question is whether they align that way.
I'm not going to look for when you raise your eyebrow or when you look to the left. I'm really just going to try to get a gut feeling about whether I think these things are aligned or not. they're aligned if they're out of line and then I'm going to be very careful about the meaning that I assigned to it, you know, affective cues, changes in your tone of voice, changes in your movement and that's one of the reasons why Don't teach to read people's body language because it's completely contextual to you and the moment, so if I convince myself that you know, raising an eyebrow means this is out of context.
I was once in a negotiation where I threw a figure for Someone and I looked to the side and looked back and accepted my offer and I made the mistake of not telling them what was appropriate for me at that moment. It seems that something crossed your mind because only completely true observation if you look to the side and look back something crossed your mind now I read it at the time of saying that they had more money abroad they were stretched to the limit the look of hesitation didn't mean they were holding in They were holding back things, but I read it wrong and didn't bother to check the affective signal that I saw one of my babbling about what I'm babbling about is whether we're in a negotiation and me or not.
I'm listening to your tone of voice or watching your body language or your words, if I see you change at all. I need to pay attention that there was a change in your affected behavior, but I need to find out what is behind it instead of doing it. a guess about what it means, so yeah, I'm going to observe, I'm going to have my intuition and I'm going to say it sounds like there's some hesitation or it sounds like something just crossed your mind or even if I can't attribute it to you. to a specific emotional movement.
I could say that it feels like there's something in the way here that's me listening to my instincts through an entire observation about any of those things, only to get back on the ground a little bit and double-check. because the other thing about negotiating in person is that you're going to give me more information physically than I can actually process and if you say something that makes me think, I'm going to stop and think about it and as I stop and think about what you just said that I'm missing all your signs, so all the skills we teach, the labels, the mirrors, the open questions that seem like we're going back and plowing the land again, we are because I didn't learn all the the first time there is more information about the one I can get, so I need to go over it a couple of times with you to understand it well without making you feel interrogated, you really feel heard and can go over it again. again, so it becomes what appears to be an inefficient process, but in reality I'm the one just double-checking my information, so if we're face to face I'll ask you to repeat, but I won't say, could you please?
I repeat that I am going to make you repeat without asking you to repeat. It's the same in online or text communications. The same is true. The problem with online and text communications is that people try to lump everything into one communication. The best analogy. What occurs to me is that if you are playing chess by text, would you put seven moves in your text? No, you would just put in a movement, so just try to get a point across in a text. Don't explain, don't throw away. a lot of things in text messages or emails, they're almost always too long and will feel cold, so do what you can to soften them, soften them.
There's a documentary that was made about my company called Tactical Empathy Nicknanton, uh. 122 23 Emmys the filmmaker dnf DNA films was completed last year it has not yet been released for various reasons we have not prepared it to screen in Las Vegas last year I see it, I love it, I am not a good judge of a film about myself He's going to love it no matter what it is, but I tell Nick that night, oh man I love it, this is great, two days later I find out and realize I've already solved a big problem. I told them it's okay, so I have to look for it.
I have to text him and then I'll call him and we have to fix it. Now it's a Sunday text message. I sent him a two-line text message. Now is a bad time to talk I understand something you don't want to hear two lines now what were my other options? I could have called him Nick and I have a great relationship. I call him if he is in a position to answer the phone, no matter what it is. doing, he goes to answer the phone, he was in the middle of a zoom call, if I had called, he would have answered during the zoom call and both conversations would have been bad, he immediately answers me, I'm in the middle of a zoom call I'll call you in half an hour, he already knows he's not going to like what he's going to hear, I'm preparing him for bad news, call him on the phone, look, I know what I said, we have a problem, we have to put Derek in front of the camera.
Derek is a guy on my team and I'm surprised he wasn't part of the documentary. This will be incomplete without daring, we have to put Derek. In the movie we can't show this to anyone else until we have it in the movie and do part of it immediately. You are in problem solving mode. It is going well. I have to get Derek a team or get Derek on a team. I need to know. when we can do that, I need it, we have another screening of the movie scheduled in Los Angeles in less than a month, he says, I have to put Derek in front of the camera and we have to edit it, it will take three weeks of editing, I said I'll give you access to Derek's camera, he's done or there's a schedule, he says done, done, we went through this whole conversation in less than 10 minutes.
Now think about normal negotiation. Hi Nick, how are you? What is happening today? Are you in a good mood hey hey hey how are the kids doing all this time losing the conversation if he had prepared it with that normality he could have legitimately said it too are you crazy? We've been working on this for a year. You haven't mentioned this in a year, not only that you already told me two days ago at the show in Las Vegas that you loved it and now, a year and a half into this project, you're mentioning everything. These new problems would have been normal negotiation, but since we have a highly collaborative relationship, I send a two-line text, we are done in 10 minutes, since Nick is a very generous guy when he finishes and says, by the way, you understand.
How much is this going to cost me? It's only three weeks of editing. It's three hours of filming and three weeks of editing. I'm going, yes, I'm going, but I'm happy to do it. He calls me the next day. He has a favorite he asks me about. you got it, it doesn't matter what it is because we went through what would have been a very complicated negotiation that started with taxes and I sent him a two line text message on a Sunday and we had to figure it out quickly, so if you understand correctly by setting the context of in a very direct and succinct way, he goes into a problem-solving mode with you, whereas if you take the tour of all the things that are going right in life, yeah, yeah, the kind of um, we'll keep this uh PG, ya you know, the mud sandwich approach, you know, you know, you're taught that when you get a lab, you know most scientists don't have the ability to run a business, right, you get a lab as much as you can.
What I've done is experiments and suddenly you're in charge of the people who manage the budgets and all that. I mean, most scientists. 99% of scientists are not fully qualified to do the work they do at the level of running a laboratory when they start learning. at work and eventually you end up having to let someone go and they will, so the typical thing that they teach you in this online training is that you tell someone something nice, then you give them the bad news, and then you tell them something. something nice on the way out, right, that's kind of a mud, so to speak, sandwich, right, okay, um, this is not what you're talking about is saying, hey, this is the problem, you're not doing to like the problem or there is a problem.
You're not going to like that they come up with the context of solving a problem instead of giving you a tour of all the things that are going well and then the problem really contrasts with that and then it's like uh You know, what I love about it. What you're describing is that it's direct, it's honest, you're not doing the garden tour before taking them to the septic tank, that's what I would do. makes the difference between being frank and being frank a frank frank person tells you the truth they just say it in a way that lands Gently let's talk about breakups business breakups romantic breakups right, you're breaking up with me no no no um but thanks for the hypothesis test No , in fact, I'm actually enjoying this conversation as much as ever.
I'm learning a lot from you. If anything, I would like to expand and deepen our relationship. Chris, you have a lot of knowledge there. from me um platonic and professional but expansive um what is the process of ending a relationship and again this could be a romantic relationship it could be a business relationship it could bean employee of the employer could be individuals they could be telling an entire group or an entire group telling an individual, you know, the reason I raise this as a particular example is that I assume that both parties do not want the same thing, one of The parties want to continue and the other party wants to finish well.
Umm, I'll avoid using the word. win-win or the words win-win, excuse me and just ask if there is a way to have that conversation in any of the contexts that I just mentioned, as you described so beautifully as a direct, direct, honest but grounded way. soft because what we're talking about here is feelings of rejection and no one likes to feel rejected. I know someone who likes getting fired even from jobs they don't like. People's egos suffer, right? So is there maybe a more specific way to ask the question? Is there a way to encourage the person receiving the bad news to get the ego out of them? the path and see that if both parties do not want it, it is best for everyone involved.
I almost want to say no, but first, what are the caveats? Most of the time, when people struggle with this, they are not trying to save the other. On the side they are trying to save themselves, so who are you really trying to save by postponing their softening? You know, trying to act like um uh, it's something that's not like them. I don't know if anyone has ever been fired. He didn't have the feeling that it was going to happen, the person who was preparing to be fired opens up by saying how are you and they know how the other person is and a person who is preparing to be fired has an instinct that things are going wrong as you said, instinct is very powerful so you have to lower the boom as fast as you can but also as gently as possible.
I was involved in a non-profit several years ago, affiliated with the church and we are struggling with whether or not to let the CEO go. I go to the minister of the Church, Norman Vincent Peels. He protects a guy named Arthur Calliandro, one of the best human beings I've ever met in my life. Phenomenal guy and I'm fighting. I thought firing and letting this woman go was going to be bad and I thought Arthur was going to advise me on a way out and he looked at me and said you know there's no gentle way to cut someone's head off and I thought there was.
The humane thing here is how you can bring it to a conclusion as quickly as possible because there is no humane way to cut someone's head off. There is no humane way to end the relationship now. What are the warnings? Maybe there's a first warning if you're going to fire someone never fire someone on a Friday fry them on a Monday find them on a Monday they have a work week to get out of this you find them on a Friday they have a weekend to be miserable and feel horrible and they can't do nothing about it.
It caught them off guard or not on a Monday. You can get up. They can start looking for a new job. No matter who is. They get fired on a Friday. They can't start looking for a new job on a Saturday. It's two days of misery, so yes, if you're going to fire someone, fire them on a Monday, not a Friday, if you have bad news to give someone, warn them you're coming. People are ridiculously resistant to pain if you use it and then turn it down. boom you're not going to like what I have to say it's going to be heartbreaking you're going to hate me don't hesitate for more than three seconds they put their guard up let them have the bad news that's the human way of cutting someone's life off head, don't do it, Don't delay, don't make them think about how the kids are, how you are, I care about you, you're a great human being, none of the things from the beginning, warning that bad news is coming and hit it. with the bad news rip the band aid off the pain isn't if you try to rip the band aid off slowly that's unbearable you're trying to save yourself so if you have to end a relationship no matter what the faster you do it , the less painless it will be.
The sooner people can move on, stop trying to save yourself and realize how human beings handle pain, if anything, human beings are incredibly resilient if given the chance to prepare first. I agree, thanks for that. concept that a lot of people haven't heard of and I'm sure I say that because I hadn't heard of it until recently despite spending a lot of time in the literature on dopamine and motivation and it's a psychology term that is being used. using a little bit more now um and it's ego depletion yeah it's an interesting concept and I've wanted to tell you this for a while but I saved it for our discussion today.
It turns out that ego depletion is a lot like decision fatigue. um you know we've all heard about Steve Jobs you know he wore a black turtleneck every day because you know he didn't have to make that decision so I had more energy to make other decisions that I've been accused of making. . Same for my black long sleeve shirts, but there's another reason for that that some people might know, but it's not important right now anyway, but ego depletion is a little different than decision fatigue or ego fatigue. decision budget. The idea with the depletion of the ego.
It's pretty simple, it's that the dopamine molecule does a lot of things in the brain, but one of the things it absolutely does is keep us goal-directed. Behavior that is associated with a sense of self like I want to achieve this, I want to get to that. and the whole notion of ego depletion involves the idea and this has been a data-supported observation that when people have to fight to be right or defend their position over a period of time, eventually that depletes and it seems to be at least partly. mediated by dopamine because defending one's position requires work, earlier you talked about running someone over, you know, wearing them down and I'm wondering, as I throw this concept at you, whether or not that reminds you of any examples of your work. where you felt good, like this person could really hold on, but if you kept pushing they would eventually lean to the right, you know, and it's different from the kind of fatigue that comes from a conversation that starts at three in the afternoon and ends at 2:30 in the afternoon.
In the morning, we've all been there. I've been in those conversations, they're usually not very pleasant and at three in the morning everyone is falling apart. I have learned it over the years. You know, you cut it off at 9:30 and you try to shift to the right, you know, one of the worst pieces of advice I've ever heard is that you would never go to sleep angry, it's like no, actually, you really sleep, you wake up and then you review the problem if the situation allows it. my uh that's my uh yeah um trying to stay up all night trying to figure something out it's just contrabiology so ego depletion um I get the feeling that a lot of what you did in your profession was um depleting your dopamine to the point in that then they're operating from a different place where they're not defending the ego, they're actually thinking more practically about the whole situation, does it have some kind of texture of meaning to you?
But. I would agree and make the distinction. uh, first of all, in hostage negotiation there are two types of hostage taking, if there is a demand, and it will be contained and uncontained, which is a literal definition contained like bad guys at a bank like Chase Bank in Brooklyn. a long time ago. you have them surrounded, they can't escape and without containment like a kidnapping you don't know where they are without containment in an unknown place we are going to try to get our way in a contained situation, probably due to ego depletion, exhausting them, get them to the point where the one that they're just going to give in because they're tired because they're going out we're going to put handcuffs on them um which means if the ego gets recharged they're going to go back there think they're going to rethink the deal so wearing someone down in A commercial negotiation is basically unstoppable because even if you reach an agreement, there is a whole implementation phase, they are going to ask you, did you do it? get the deal because you get hot because they get tired because he just gave in at some point they will reload and reload while you're on implementation, so either they won't follow the terms of the deal or it's the slightest chance, they're going to go off track and yeah, I think Eagle burnout is a real thing and it's a bad way to get a trade deal that's going to stick because they rest and then they come back, yeah, a different person, yeah, yeah, they're going to reload, their ego is going to recharge and if you get the deal based on ego depletion, that battery will recharge again.
Whether it's a business deal, whether it's a personal negotiation, you know you have a disagreement with your partner and you follow that bad advice. Don't go to bed angry and stay up until three in the morning and think you've reached a resolution: everyone. They sleep well the next day and feel completely different about what they said the night before. Yes, you may have heard of that once or twice. It's not in a movie. Yes. I saw it in a movie, as a friend explained to me. that situation for me um earlier you mentioned approaching a conversation in a fun way right okay you know this could even be life or death but let's play this like a game because you can see more opportunities now we know when we're relaxed you see the big picture when we are tense everything narrows there is tunnel vision tunnel of thought everything we lose access to the full tool kit so obviously you take good care of yourself you are fit you are fit you always seem calm me I'm sure you have your moments like anyone someone else, but what are some of the things that good negotiators do all the time so that when the bell rings and they have to respond they are ready?
The reason I ask this is because you already know. We've been talking about negotiations in a kind of vacuum, like it's happening and then how it's handled, but like any athlete, like any teacher, like any parent, like any child, everyone has to be prepared for real-life circumstances. and we don't always do it. We get the warning, we don't get the memo that it's happening in two weeks, and sometimes the conversations about the courtroom drama or the big day, you know, imply that we get the warning, but most of the time it's a phone call or a text message and it comes and boom it just hits us and suddenly we're in negotiations and we didn't have time to prepare well so maybe we could talk about preparation and then we could talk again, maybe this sounds trivial to you but to me me I would be very curious to know if you have any practices to calm yourself, what they look like, what you have seen other people use to be able to reach the moment of being able to show their best self, yes.
Well, um, practice in small spaces for high-risk results, like I'll occasionally find myself in the middle of a negotiation that I wasn't expecting if I've been regularly knocking things into my path throughout the day. Verbal observations. I refer to labels because the label seems like something has crossed your mind. It's a label in the middle of a negotiation. When I see you doubt or look to the side. How do I prepare for that? You know I am. I'm on my way. I walk here for this interview, um, I'm both talking to my Lyft driver the whole way so they can talk and I'm also careful not to empty the gas tank completely so I get tired when I get here while I'm talking, I'm talking about the Lyft drivers.
Lyft on a regular basis, um, interactions with the TSA guys at the airport, I'll throw a tag at them, it looks like a tough day, tough day, it looks like you're in a good mood and whether it's right or wrong, I'm going in. I'm trying to stay relaxed. I'm trying to keep my mental muscles agile and it becomes a habit on a regular basis. Every once in a while I throw something out. Now I'm talking about Lyft drivers like I'm in a bad mood. I got on an elevator a couple of weeks ago on the way home.
The Lyft driver doesn't help me. I mean, I'm leaving the airport. I'm struggling with my suitcases, I don't lift a finger, the back won't open. I have to open the back of the vehicle myself. I have to load the bags with everything I'm carrying and now it's boiling with unhappiness. I know that if I say what you like about what you do for a living, I immediately trigger what Tony Robbins would call a state change and I'm mad at this guy and you know our pheromones are combative but I'm thinking I just don't need this and then I say: what do you like about driving?
On the left, this guy proceeds to download. about me in all his personal struggles that I feel like a complete asshole for being mad at him for everything he's going through and I'm just trying to get out of bed because of my bad mood and avoid texting him really negative vibes all the way so that I don't drive 45 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour lane and, you know, impose a longer and more expensive trip on me because I am very annoying as a customer, but I have a habit of practicing on small bets to get results in high stakes and who can I practice with Lyft drivers on a regular basis?
The guy behind the counter at thehotel. The TSA guy. I'm going through TSA. The grocery store clerk. The Starbucks. person, the only way I'm at my best in my negotiations is by simply trying to keep my negotiating muscles agile by interacting with people throughout the day and then, ideally, you know, leaving them better than I found them, ya You know, try and try not to. leave negative karma in my wake try to leave as much positive karma in my wake as possible. I love that and I'm very familiar with the feeling of having to conserve my voice for podcasting or energy for things and yet I'm someone who I think I'm very curious about what people's experiences are so I like the question. "You know, how's your day going?
It's pretty open. I guess if someone was really upset, that would be maybe the worst question I could ask them. I just described it, but I don't put a fine point on it because I've manipulated it. What is it? What do you like? Because there you see it change in the moment to immediately change to this concept of love, which is more than What do you like about driving a forklift? What do you like about driving on the left? I can trigger a state. it changes in you instantly no matter what kind of mood you're in because this guy was in a really bad mood and plus, the discharge of that is usually so fast that I'm going to get a very clear picture of who you really are, very quickly.
I was talking to the CEO of a company a couple of months ago and he told me that, for lack of a better term, they are delivering clean water to the world and I told him that it was a cool mission, as do I. I understand this as an entrepreneur, an entrepreneur wants to do dent in the universe. I understand that as him trying to make a difference in the world, so I say, what do you like about what you do for a living? I immediately respond. I love leading teams. I love leading teams and I love giving shareholders a great return on their investment.
It's very important to me to give shareholders a great return and then yeah, you know, we delivered water and then he said a fourth thing and I thought this. the guy could be making toilet paper, he doesn't care at all about the company's mission, he's a great CEO, probably because you want a CEO to lead teams, you want a CEO to deliver a corporate CEO who generates a return of investment for shareholders, but that's why he's a great corporate CEO and not a great corporate CEO, so giving me that very quick dump that was blatantly honest, I think this is a great guy, yeah, our values Fundamentals align, my mission is more important to me than your mission is or your mission is to make money now.
I like making money, but it's not number one, it's a strong number two, but that question instead of how are you today, what do you love, you immediately put them in a better place and also get some ridiculously honest answers that you They say who they are very quickly what is the best way to approach our response to someone who asks to be heard maybe they have complaints maybe about us maybe about someone else you know people are letting off steam the right people seem to vary in propensity to let off steam Spectrum some people you just know they vent all the time this thing happened that happened and you know it and they want to complain you know the way it's sometimes described they love taking inventories of other people they love taking inventories of everyone else's mistakes, they did this, they did that, you know, sometimes it's a lot easier than making our own inventories of what we could focus on and do better.
That's a universal truth in my opinion, but you know, people get close to other people. who they trust and want to vent to, presumably to get over whatever is bothering them, but too often it just seems to amplify feelings of frustration. What do you do when someone you care about and who cares about you comes to you for help? Is it just that you let them, let them vent, or do you try to let them negotiate with themselves a little bit in a way that might help them more than if you just let them vent? I'm really wary of letting people vent because a lot of times it just never seems to be a spiral that just spirals out of control um so why would anyone vent?
They don't feel hurt, they feel ignored, they feel like they've been wasting their As they talk, they're frustrated, that's the feedback. I'll give you feedback on what I'm guessing is why it's causing you to vent with just one observation. It seems like this is driving you crazy because no one is listening to you. It sounds like you've been fighting with us for a long time. It sounds like this is very frustrating for you. What is the emotion? The negative emotion in particular. Frustration is about someone being denied a goal in the future. Anger is about someone who is upset about something that happened in the past. type of negative emotion starts to focus you on where it is: forward or backward thinking, and frustration and anger can be two very different versions of the same negative emotion, but they focus on different points in time, so " I'm going to try to do it intuitively if I don't know, if I don't know, from what you've told me, I'm going to start making educated guesses to make an observation about what drives you if you need to vent. you've been talking and people been ignoring you or you've been taking action and people have been ignoring you it's that you need to get it off your chest because your communication reactions have been ignored, there are some clues here and the sooner you get to the heart of what's bothering you the sooner you can let it go go, so I'm going to encourage you to vent without trying to correct yourself without giving you advice, um, without getting frustrated by not listening to you by trying to Verbally recognize what are some of the motivators that will defuse anger much more quickly.
For starters, it's the basis of a crisis hotline. and the rant introduces toxins into your system where they become poisoned. I believe negative emotions put toxins in our system. Do you know how I turn that off as quickly as possible so you don't get hurt as much and feel heard? relieved, you feel heard so I'll do it and if it involves me, if it's a close friend venting to you, you're involved in a situation to some extent and I might even say boy, it feels like you're probably frustrated because I'm not I've listened to you so far, you know I'm going to talk, start making some emotionally informed guesses about what I think is driving you and I'll put it in the form of a label that's just an observation, they sound like sounds.
It seems that if I'm wrong and you say it's not like that at all, I can say that's how it seems. It seems like this puts you in a position to let someone know that you see them and that you. I'm doing my best to understand. I'm not a fan of venting. If you rant at me personally, I always feel worse, so I want to deactivate that negativity so I can receive my comments emotionally, very useful insights. you just shared with us, do you meditate in small fragments? I mean, and I try to make my day more effective.
I have a gratitude exercise that I do almost every morning. Um. other ways to make me effective. In fact, I'm looking at not sleeping. practice of deep rest during the because you know I like to make use of my time and you know I am spiritual so I am talking to the almighty on a regular basis, you pray that I do, yes, in the morning and at night. when you need both, yeah, both, I mean, I think you know whether or not you believe in a God or the universe or whatever. I believe that spiritual spirituality is an important component of health, whatever your spirituality is, you should recognize it and you should.
I'll be better off if you engage in some kind of spiritual practice, it doesn't have to be any of the three major religions that you know, but spirituality is a component of who we are, so yes, I practice it regularly, so in a sense of higher power or um for the better Defining higher power could be, like you said, aligned with conventional religion or simply aligned with the idea that there are things outside of us that are important to pay attention to and that we can all improve by being in recognition or service a or both, yeah, kind of like, yeah, sort of like that and then leave it as open as possible because I think there's a spiritual nature to us, period, I agree, what about your physical training?
I must say You know you are in excellent shape. I imagine that was along with the FBI thing. I mean, I saw The Silence of the Lambs at the beginning, she's running around with other agents, yeah, shooting targets, running, lifting and doing her thing. abs and you know it was an '80s movie so it was a little dated now, they're probably doing other things now too, um, but you know, nothing, nothing works like the basics. So was the FBI the first time you got serious about fitness or before that? Were you an athlete and did you like fitness?
What are you doing these days to maintain your downright impressive shape? Well, thanks for the praise. It was always part of my life. I liked sports, but I wasn't particularly good at them, uh, football, basketball. So you know, I'm a guy from the last century, long before conditioning was involved, as evolved as it is now with interval training and the rest. of these things, which are phenomenal, you know, weightlifting was introduced at my high school my senior year, you know, I lifted weight, some of it continued in college, a little time in martial arts, I blew my knee out in college in martial arts, but yeah, fitness has It's always been a part of my life so much for the joy of being in condition and you know the spiritual regeneration of it, whether I knew what it was or not, um these days you know. that I'm looking for every trick that exists, I know I don't I don't like the term hacking, we don't like mechanisms, scientists like mechanisms, yes, hacking implies that we are using one thing to achieve something different.
I like mechanisms, but at the end of the day, if people want to call something a hack because it gives them the result they want or they are more attractive to apply the tool, that's what matters to me. You know, tools in a box don't do anything, so people use them, so I'm fine with the term. Yeah, yeah, so what's up with the cold sauna these days? I'm mainly struggling with problems in a couple of joints and I know that science will eventually help me regenerate, so in the meantime, a good diet, you know the basic pillars of diet, is not a perfect diet. but overall my diet is pretty good, and then you know, the little spiritual things keep me physically fit, hitting a cold, dipping in, it's a psychological and physical challenge, and the change of state you sure don't need. science to know that 30 seconds or a minute in that cold water will change your chemistry for a long time after and for the better, I think so, once you get out, people forget this, they say I hate, they call it all the The point is not how you feel while you're in it, you can be proud of how you navigate that part, but the point is how you feel afterwards.
Well, sorry about the old saying about why you hit your hand with a hammer. because it feels so good when you stop like that I like that smoke like if someone had worked in New York City for a long time here we would probably say something different um you know, it's like crystals and lava lamps or something, although there's no more there are many lava lamps. I think the idea that California is all hippie dippy is no longer true. I think it has been invaded by others. A different spirit in any case. Thank you for sharing that because I think we can't separate the physical.
From a psychological point of view, I mean we've been talking about the mental state and fatigue of the people you're negotiating with many times during this conversation, but then of course there's the way you show up for work, that is, if you are exhausted by three. days and you've been fighting with your spouse and that's still in the back of your mind and you're um and you're hungry, you're tired, you're sick, what you know, um, it's not connected to your higher power, all those things that there aren't way you can can be just as effective in any job, so it's great to hear and it's not surprising to hear that you have Bedrock practices that you implement, especially yes, it's an interesting point, almost everyone knew that I was really good at whatever I did. they did to earn a living.
They probably took care of themselves pretty well, yeah, I agree, you know, there's a problem that the language around self-care I think gets distorted a lot. I'm going to editorialize for a second here, I think so, but I'm going to editorialize online. With what you just said, you know, I think self-care sounds like a naval gaze where people think it's about yourself, but it's really about taking care of yourself so that we can show up better for others. More energy. More capacity. More staying power. having those difficult conversations withpeople that we care about and that move our lives forward, so in my mind it's really filling the gas tank rather than, um, the kind of self-centered, narcissistic, you know, stance that a lot of people take toward that. and I understand why you know, people scroll through Instagram and they see people you know taking selfies with every muscle and likes and all this stuff and listen, I'm not putting down what people want to do, but at the end of the day.
Self-care is about being more prepared to do better for the world if you are or are mission-oriented. Agree completely agree Do you think there has been a change in the FBI in the last 30 or 40 years? Know? I have this image in my mind of Agents sitting in cars for 20 hours eating hoagie sandwiches and, you know, looking through binoculars and running to the ground with this kind of bulldog persistence to solve the puzzle, I mean. Put another way, I imagine there were some negotiations that were very long and exhausting, so do you remember one of the longest negotiations you had and how you sleep at night?
In the middle of a hostage crisis, then the longest one I was in, I was directly involved almost day by day and hour by hour as approximately three days passed in Washington D.C. 2003, start of the second Iraq war, a guy named Dwight Watson rolled the tractor into downtown DC and claimed he had four bombs and left four bombs scattered around the city if he had really done that or was he just told he was lying, he was lying, he had done neither and it began on St. Patrick's Day. something interesting a couple, you know, like that, like what you said in um uh, it was in the Philippines, it's like a national holiday, yeah, a holiday, right, interesting, uh, for a lot of reasons, now me and I had to go home and go to sleep uh when one night and when we were in the middle of it and then it was I don't remember having any trouble sleeping because I felt like I did a good job um and that we turned it over, I turned it over to another negotiator. hostage guy for the office was effectively Vince Stefanzo's team leader and Vince was bringing in a negotiator, so the team he was with, you know, they were all in good hands, in fact, Vince almost kicked me out of the scene because I didn't want to go and he kept saying go home, get some sleep, go home, get some sleep and finally, the fifth time he told me, I went home, so I felt like I was leaving things in very good hands. and we.
We're working on kidnappings, we expected them to last long periods of time and you just have to do it, if you have faith in the process and you feel like you're doing the best you can, then I think you could. sleeping at night um I guess to answer that question you have to be careful if you're working on a Siege case or um anything in the office so you don't crash into the ground and there were a few cases that I worked on. In the '90s, I mean, we knocked ourselves out like we would, we worked harder than anyone we've ever seen, but we also occasionally took time off.
You know, I worked with guys who realized that sometimes you have to go out and grow a relaxed beard. and let off steam, so I think everyone I worked with occasionally was cautious enough to recharge their batteries and then depending on the nature of the challenge that was in front of you, it was a siege in the parish of Saint Martin and it lasted six days. I don't think those guys slept much, but the nature of those sieges in that particular type of sea usually lasts five or six days, anyway, you just have to figure out if there were ever cases where you're just trying to keep the standing person. the line so they can attack, you know, I know I've never had to do that personally, you had to be prepared to do it from the beginning of any siege, you might have to get something, you might have to orchestrate an assault from some guy.
I was lucky that at the beginning of my training there is a kind of famous siege, if you know the history of hostage negotiation in London, called the Princess Gate Siege, where a legendary British hostage negotiator David Van Ness had the bad guys talking on the phone while the SAS were in Hide hitting the building and I remember they showed us that look there may come a time when you have to keep someone on the phone when SWAT comes in who goes with the territory so expect it to be a possibility from the beginning and it was great.
He harasses the bad guy, Saleem, the photos of him after he was shot, the phone is within reach of him, David kept him on the phone. I listened to the tapes of the explosions that were happening and um, Slim says, I gotta go, I gotta go, there's a suspect. noises and David Van Ness with his classic British accent said Salim, there are no suspicious noises, now let's get back to talking about how many people are on the bus to the airport bam and they came in and I caught up with David a number of years later I had a president of the FBI.
He had a presidential intern from the White House with me in the office. We're drinking in a bar with David Van Ness. I got a lot of stories where I'm drinking at a bar with someone. and the intern walked around everyone and tapped David on the shoulder and said, uh, Chris says you kept the terrorist on the phone until the moment the SAS came through the door and David says yes and I already kept him on the phone for more time. If the SAS hadn't arrived so soon, why am I telling that story? If you're going to get into that line of business, you have to accept all the things that come with it and realize that it wasn't you who made the decision, someone else had to implement the strategy.
You remember a case in Sacramento where I think it was a youth gang that took over as an electronics store, good guy, Siege, yeah, I remember this when I was a kid, there's two things that stay in my mind since I was a kid one was um Good Guys was the name of the electronics store, right , the good guys with the electronics store and uh, the bad guys, uh, so to speak, came in and took them hostage and um, I must have been a kid, this must have been late, it was the late '80s, '80s or something like that um, I remember that case, um 89 or 90.
I met one of the negotiators who was 15 years old. So I was born in '75, so um and, as I remember, they ended up opening fire on a group of hostages that were lying on the ground, it's true, they knew that they were preparing to execute the hostages because they put bags in their head and that every time the bad guys do something to dehumanize As a hostage, it's easier to shoot someone with a bag over the head than not to because you can't see their face, so the bad guys had started that process and they knew that they had to attack.
God forbid anyone be taken hostage. I realize the circumstances differ, but you just mentioned putting bags on their heads. There's this notion of sheep that you know people will describe post-hoc after something about how you know someone walks into a building and tells people to put zip ties on their ankles. or going to a back room that no one resists and that, in retrospect, if someone had caused a commotion, they might have caused enough of a commotion to run away or get fired, um and yet, of course, there's a part Very logical from everyone's brain, I hope. that's what he thinks listen this person is an attacker there's a gun in my face don't be an idiot right because we've also heard about the case in New York City that I read about in the newspaper so presumably it's true where someone was assaulted at point of view gun and one of the women in the group that was assaulted said what are you going to do, shoot us and the person shot them well, so that happens too, so you know, I don't know if there is a fair and safe answer to give. people in this, but if someone tells you to do something and it all happens in real time, I mean, you have to ask if they want my money in my body, my life, or some combination of the three in real time while presumably significant coercion, um , but for the hostages, if they disobey, it causes a commotion, it is either extending their life or shortening it.
I guess it depends a lot on the context, right? um the only thing you could without knowing the context, anything you could do to humanize yourself and comply with what the bad guys want increases your chances of survival, so let's say you were ordered to a back room, you could look at the kidnapper and say : I will do what you say. I'm Chris, you know? your name on them in such a way that you go from being a faceless person to someone with a name that increases the chances of your survival humanizing everything you can do to simultaneously fulfill becoming a more human being because it is the opposite of what I was talking before if you are easier to kill if you have been dehumanized you are more difficult to kill if you have been humanized you are more difficult to harm like maybe they are not going to kill you, they are just going to kill you They are only going to hurt you, it is less likely that they will hurt you if they know your name, how do you get them as hostage negotiators?
If they talk about a hostage, I'll tell you, you know, you mean Sheila. You mean Rex, you know, I'll find a way to get the person's name into the conversation, so as soon as you can humanize yourself, just letting them know your name, you'll increase your chances of survival, you'll increase your chances of being treated better. and I will comply. I will do anything. I will do what you say. I'm Chris. It's going to start moving the odds in your favor. You know what you just described extends to science. You know I have spoken. before about my stance on animal research and why I choose not to do it anymore.
I think it has its place in making important discoveries that can't be made in humans but that eventually extend to oh, you don't want to do it. I don't want to do it personally. I don't want to do it and I don't want to do work with primates or with large carnivores or with small carnivores, but the point I was going to make is that when you do work with primates. um, they strongly discourage you almost they forbid you from giving them names, right, they give them numbers, right, right, right, so everything matches what you were, what you were talking about, because the moment something has a name, let of being a research animal. to a kind of pet and that makes it such an interesting relationship how a name turns something from you know, elevates something to a relationship no matter how insignificant it may be, it is a higher level, a whole circuit of empathy, yes, yes, yes, which is perhaps the appropriate transition. to talk about empathy, this is a topic that you go through a lot, you mentioned tactical empathy, by the way, the right documentary, when is it coming out or do we have any feeling?
I guess we'll finish jumping. all the hoops and we'll probably be out early next year. I'm currently working with William Morris Endeavor on a couple of different projects, they've been hugely supportive and we've asked them for guidance on how to do it. like what was the best time to release the documentary and I'm really happy with the people I'm dealing with there and actually a stroke of the universe was taking care of me from a funny set of circumstances and I really enjoy the people I'm with working. The first part of next year will probably be fantastic, what's your opinion on empathy?
I think of empathy in the pop culture sense, where you know someone is in pain and we feel their pain, but of course empathy extends far beyond that, yeah, yeah, yeah, and that was um uh. Rob Malenka, yeah, my colleague at Stanford, yeah, he was really fascinated by the conversation you had with him recently and he said that a lot of people use empathy in a lot of different ways for their own meanings, so um. my opinion on empathy, tactical empathy, also keep coming up with names because people give me thoughts and I want to identify them.
I'm very close to Stephen Cutler's perspective on this and Stephen would say that empathy is about the transmission of information, compassion is the reaction. I like that about the broadcast and by the way I'm a fan of Steven's work, I think he's quite clever and he's a very hard-working guy, he writes like a beast, I think he gets up at like four in the morning, he also has like 50 chihuahuas or something like that, he's weighing the dogs, yeah, yeah, well, you can fit more chihuahuas in a room than anyone else, I got you, Steven, but yeah, um, and that was when I was in the FBI and we started collaborating with Harvard. because Harvard definition, um, empathy was not liking the other side, you were just demonstrating an understanding of their perspective.
Bob Manukin's book, beyond the profits chapter, the tension between empathy and assertiveness. He says that empathy is disagreeing, not agreeing with, or even liking the other side, which sort of falls into what Stephen talked about, you know, is about the transmission of information. Now empathy is a very compassionate thing, but it doesn't necessarily equate to compassion itself. If I do, if I do, if I let you know if I make you feel heard by me. telling you what your perspective on something is you're going to feel cared for you're going to feel understood it's going to fit you very well I don't necessarily have to feel compassion for you I know it's a precursor to compassion so I would clearly separate it from sympathy and even would separate from thecompassion, although I know it is a very compassionate thing.
This is tactical empathy. It's about me actively verbally showing you that I understand where the tactic is coming from. The experience with hostage negotiators supported by neuroscience is that people largely react negatively, so the smartest move for me, instead of trying to reinforce something positive, is to first defuse the negative by simply calling it out, calling the elephant into a room, don't deny the elephant. don't ignore the elephant, call the elephant to a room outside, say it will probably sound like I'm being greedy if I expect you'll think I'm overreaching. I'm not going to say that I don't love you.
If I think I'm greedy, I'm going to say I probably look greedy, so simply well-educated emotional intelligence influences instinct influences what the other side thinks and feels. If I can define it that way, then it becomes an unlimited ability if it requires me to have compassion for you when I don't have it, then that limits my ability to use empathy and I'm not interested in that ability being limited. I want it to be an unlimited ability, so if you just define it strictly in terms of information transmission, then it's not sympathy, compassion, liking or green, it has a very powerful effect, at least it feels like compassion for the other side, it reacts with the emotional circuits, the neurochemicals that everyone has to use. to some extent, if they're alive, even if they're on this spectrum, they have some of that going on inside them, and from what I've read, even about mental illness, in my training last century I saw people who were paranoid schizophrenics.
Is it effectively more of a wiring problem than a chemical problem? Layman's description and much of what I've read says that empathy is even effective with paranoid schizophrenic people, regardless of how messed up the circuits in their head are, it helps them in some level to feeling understood, so empathy is simply about letting someone feel understood. For example, when I work on terrorism, many Muslim Arabs testified in an open civil court against a legitimate Muslim cleric who was also a criminal who also committed crimes and I would sit with them and tell him from the beginning bat because I know where they are coming from, Do you think there's been a succession of American governments over the last 200 years that have been anti-Islamic and they looked at me and said, yeah, I never said that was true.
I never said I agreed I never said I disagreed simply by articulating what his perspective on the interaction was. They were so surprised by the empathy and we were so good at that empathy frequently that in that period of time they would say are you? You're a Muslim and I would say no, I respect the religion, you know, if you need to know, you know I'm a Christian, but I respect your religion and I have no problem telling you where you come from, that's empathy on my part. definition and then becomes an unlimited skill. I don't have to feel it.
I don't necessarily have to want to do anything about it. You know, Goldman says there is cognitive empathy. I simply recognize where your emotions come from. There is emotional empathy. your emotions and there is an empathic concern for my desire to do something about your distress, my version of tactical empathy probably puts them into play in sequence in a sort of Continuum, but none of them are precursors, they are just me showing you that I understand where you are. . comes from and has a phenomenally favorable impact on interaction tell me about mirroring as a tool, yes, mirroring is one of the simplest, easiest and most effective skills that requires the least amount of brain power, it only repeats one to three. words of what someone just said uh it can be one, it should never be normally more than five hostage negotiators learn it by repeating the last word or three that someone just said, it doesn't have to be the last word or three and the reflection doesn't it's the mirror of body language, it's not imitating anyone physically and it's not imitating their tone of voice or their affect or anything about them, it's just repeating one to three words that we find that access whatever part of the brain you have to having the energy to do it is a different part of the brain than tagging people are generally good, very good at tagging, like I tag almost everyone on my team, tag a lot sounds like this is bothering you sounds like you just don't You were I'm sure where this is going and the mirror.
I must consciously make a point about reflecting and what a mirror is used for instead of what you meant by that or you could continue or I don't understand. Could you repeat that? again, so I'll listen to the things that I don't understand or that I need you to talk about more and instead of saying, could you say something more about that? I'll just mirror the words now for whatever reason I connect the thoughts in your head the message the way it comes is I heard what you said the words I got the words because I repeated them and I still don't understand so I need a deeper explanation without using the same words words you just used because if you say um, I think I suppress actualism, it's useless and I could say what you mean by that and you say isopractism is useless, you repeat the same words only louder, you imagine that saying a ladder will do let it penetrate my skull that it doesn't It doesn't work, I need you to read to explain, to go deeper, to expand using different words and, for some reason, we find like hostage negotiators that I find in business, that if I reflect you, you will expand and you you'll connect, so it's I use it in that context.
I could use it to make you hear yourself out loud, for example, if what you just said doesn't make sense, I'll repeat it backwards for words one to three and inflect it up. say that doesn't make sense you know use use my tone make it land with my tone so you can hear yourself out loud someone else just pointed out to me the other day that if you're talking to someone and they're mid-thought and their voice goes turns off because they kind of lost their train of thought, if you reflect them there, that helps them regain their train of thought and expand, so it's a ridiculously effective communication tool for making people expand and feel.
I hear simplicity puts some people off, there are some people who say yes, it sounds stupid. I don't see what good that will do. I always find that if someone really wants to know how to reflect my description, they are both high IQ and high IQ. and why does that work? A guy with a high IQ will want to know something that's really simple and doesn't require any effort for him to do and that's what a mirror does. It is really very effective. It requires almost no effort on your part. Interesting. I must Let's say that neuroscience has an unfortunate dearth of knowledge about how brains interact.
This is starting to change, but most of what we know about how brains work comes from putting people in a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine, called an MRI, and exposing them to movies or games. that they have to play, etc. and then looking at the brain state activation, there are some labs that are starting to look at how people interact in real time with both people on separate MRI machines that will hopefully be able to look at some of this and I'm sure anyone listening this will use this knowledge to do the experiment, if not I'll take the flagpole to some highly qualified people at Stanford who could do this because it would be fun to see what's going on, but I have a feeling that what's happening is that there is a real fusion of cognition when you hear your own words returned and, well, you know that now you have two brains processing the same information and that has to lead to new things. places, so I don't have any idea where exactly it's happening, but something is certainly happening there, as evidenced by the real world results you're getting, we don't need experiments to tell us that. but it would be interesting to see and learn a little about what is happening if there is a fusion, for example, of a coactivation of the emotional centers.
There is something about hearing our own voice that is very different from hearing other people's voices. people cringe when they hear their own voice on the recording right um most not all um some people are in love with their own voice um we know these people but we know that our auditory system cancels out hearing our own voice did you know that how we are speaking now, our auditory system is suppressing our own voice, we don't really hear ourselves speak in the same way as when you speak, I hear you speak, yeah, so, it's an active neurochemical inhibition of the response and it's also surprising because as Al growing up, our voice changes, puberty, etc., and also in other ways that the vocal cords change thickness, etc., and our voice changes, but we always differentiate ourselves from others in terms of voice and cancel out our auditory perception our own, which is fascinating, and the breathing and the heartbeat we actively turn off our response to ourselves within the brain, that's fascinating, so maybe hearing some of what we just said allows us to actually hear what We just said, yes, it's true, and that's why sometimes all someone needs is a sounding board. so they can, they can, someone else can listen, listen, they can listen to themselves and have it repeated to them and then they say: wait a minute, I just said that, yes, interesting, interesting, useful, in fact, proactive listening, tell us about proactive listening, we are all They told me we had to be better listeners, you know?
The other day someone said we had two ears in one mouth, like that was supposed to remind us, most people have two ears in one mouth, but I understand they were saying, hey, there's value. when listening and most of the time we transmit by default but there is no reception, we mostly transmit less reception, right, hence the call to nasal breathing, it is useful in many circumstances, because it keeps us, it keeps our mouth closed, does that? It is proactive listening, how do we do it? What is it for? I'm really trying to get people out of the notion of active listening just because active listening has been used so much that people have lost track of it and most of it is taught poorly and it's interactive versus proactive and that's why we learned how hostage negotiators first just label the emotion that was presented and we just assumed that and the emotion that was presented was always anger in some way annoying anger in certain rare cases the guy was under control but there were almost always negative emotions, so We assumed that it was defined as what was limited to what drove the hostage takers, it was negativity now, if I may, because now I feel like an imposter talking about neuroscience.
For you, your knowledge of neuroscience is spot on. Voss, I will say that you've asked me many times about neuroscience stuff and you've never been wrong, so yeah, you've clearly done your homework too, so we're still trying to learn about it, but, um, Layman's terminology. The survival brain is largely negative. I would say 75 negative, your reactions are going to be negative, so number one, I think it's mainly supported by the neuroscience experiments that the fmri have alluded to and then in the hostage negotiation, they taught us to basically etiquette the emotion that is presented and then I have seen experimentation or reports of experiments.
I think the first time I read about this was in a book called The Ascending Spiral and that book is a good 10 years old I think, which means you know neuroscience. is evolving, but mainly the experiment there which I remember reading about and reading elsewhere that if people were experiencing a negative emotion in my paraphrase of Layman's experiment, they were shown an image that induced the negative emotion in their heads and then They asked people to simply say what the emotion was and when they labeled themselves, then the emotion decreased. Now the degree of decrease varies, but the percentage of time it decreases simply by calling it is almost all the time. largely 75 percent negative and we can deactivate the negativity by calling it out.
Well, let's be proactive, if you are a human being and we are involved in a negotiation, there will be some very predictable negativity that will be there and I should be. proactive in reporting it, anticipating that the negativity will be there based on highly predictable circumstances and your instinct before referring to when you want to say look, I don't want him to think I'm being greedy. Telling you that it's very predictable is going to seem greedy so let me be proactive and tell you that it will probably seem like I'm being greedy and that is to mark what is eminently predictable in the interaction and simply be proactive in defusing the negative emotions that are taking place or that our experiences found, then I have notseen any science that has had a chance to back this up.
Inoculate. I can create a barrier if I mention something negative that isn't there. It doesn't plant it, it actually inoculates you, yes, and I have done it in practice. They gave me a lecture a couple of years ago. someone asked a question. I try to find the value of the question no matter what. Bad, the question is that this poor guy asked me a question and I simply cannot find a single component in his question that demonstrates that he was listening or paying attention. There was nothing about it that I could congratulate him on, so I said, This is going to sound harsh because I know that the answer I'm preparing to give him will make the group look like I think he's stupid.
I just can't think of a way to answer this without actually saying what they are like. If you think about it, it has nothing to do with what we're talking about, so I say this is going to sound harsh and I answer the question and he just says okay and I start answering someone else's question and he says no. It was hard. Now, if I hadn't said this is going to sound harsh and answered the question, I guarantee my answer would have embarrassed you and embarrassment is one of the worst negative emotions you can inflict on someone and he would hate me to this day. for embarrassing me. him, so I get a moment that is predictably negative and I can let that train run over me or I can say it ahead of time and get a reaction where the guy says it wasn't that bad and that's what being proactive with is all about. the emotions.
I love it and I'm remembering a case during graduate school where my graduate advisor, who sadly passed away but who was such a phenomenal scientist, I mean, so pure, insisted on getting the answers, was able to emotionally detach from the emotions. He answers and she simply said that he was a ninja. She used to come to the lab when we were working on a paper and she would sit there and say, "You're going to hate me" for what I'm about to ask of you. do and I think, oh no, I'm going to have to redo the whole analysis or I'm going to like something that you already know, Monumental, and then she would say you have to change the similar fonts in figure two like, oh my God, what are you doing?
I mean, I want to hate you, but it was a relief, but I wanted nothing more than to make her happy with my job because I so respected the standard she had. I mean, she could have asked me to stand on my head and do the experiments 50 times. She probably would have done it if she had thought about it. they would improve the project and as a consequence she would have been happy because she was the standard for me in many ways and she still is, but I wonder if she read your book because she is depressed by these requests as if they were you. she was going to hate me and then ask me something like oh, I hate you like that was nothing, but now I wonder if I would have been surprised if she had said uh, you know, um, hey, by the way, figure two needs to be redone.
That may have bothered him a little, so maybe he read your book, Chris, these are great tools for proactive reflection and listening and thanks for sharing them, of course, have you ever employed family members of kidnappers, friends of kidnappers, as a means to um, tap into a different aspect of their psyche, you know, because I think we all, as human beings, are very context-driven, so I can imagine that the person who kidnapped someone or who is trying of stealing someone's resources is in a person's particular rhythm and I believe that there are people in the world who are simply evil, but I also know because I have read about it and I trust the sources, that there are people who have done things horrendous people who love their dog and really love their dog and wouldn't harm any animals, but I'm not trying to give these people a pass, but I could imagine that those other facets for someone represent really good entry points to allow them to see the kind of incongruity in their behavior, um or Is it the case that when it comes to high stress situations where you basically have to attack and disarm the aggressor and you just focus on the person as the bad actor without considering the other contexts of their lives?
Okay, so let's make a distinction between hostage takers in a contained situation and uncontained kidnappers in an unknown location, so you're probably asking about someone in a contained situation, bad guys in a bank. Dwight Watson on his tractor in Washington DC, so very Counterintuitively, if you are in a contained situation, there is a saying that goes: A system you are employing is perfectly designed to give you the result you have. The bad guy Dwight Watson is on his tractor in DC, part of the family system to put them there, the stark, harsh reality of that is now in that siege that lasted long enough and was so high profile that some of his relatives They appeared now that we can, were able to and tried to use them.
I'm walking I'm walking from one place to another from the negotiation operation uh cellular component on my way to the command post the hostage negotiator stops me a couple of people with them it's Watson's family and they see that I'm in a hurry and not interested in what they stopped him and they had to say something to me to stop me and get my attention and they went to look at our brother it just hurts his heart, it just hurts, you know, things have gone bad for our whole family and he's just hurt in his heart , don't kill him for that and I looked at the negotiator and said let's record it and we'll play it back for him because if we can record it exactly how they said it, that will land, but if you get them on the phone with them, they'll try to reason with them and tell them things that They didn't help and they don't mean very well, but it will be contradictory and probably will need to be highly orchestrated because you know how it's going to happen. land and unfortunately, if you make it, a direct conversation will probably renew an old wound, you know, family members have hurt each other in ways they have no idea even happened, so the other, you know a family member, my son to this day remembers when I told him that Santa Claus was Not real and I have no memory of that conversation.
Sorry I ruined it, man, wait, we have, oh my god, family members have heard each other over the years and have no idea what's coming up. in these live conversations and you don't know what wounds you don't even know what wounds there are that you caused and then in a contained situation, a family member can be of great help, but they have to be, it's a surgical injection. You have to be very, very, very careful with that, otherwise it can go in another direction because the wounds and people don't even know if there is a psychologically astute way of looking at it because I'm a big fan of the so-called family. systems model of psychology, I mean, you cannot look at the psychology of any human being, that is, adaptive or maladaptive psychology, and not look at the family system that evolved, which is not to say that some perfectly healthy families occasionally do not have problems with a child who has a mental illness and I want to say that happens, but I'm told that 99.9 of the time you can identify an organization of the family system or a lineage, a genetic link, etc., that makes that things start to make sense when someone is really struggling and As you sadly pointed out, many times that involves pains from the past.
Wow, well, thanks for sharing that because I think, in my mind, the movie version is, you know, they bring in the mother and it's like Billy didn't do it. you know, and then like you said, Billy might like, that might be the moment where Billy actually lets his mom know that you know his childhood was shit for Billy, right? and that's not what you want, yes, my God, what a complex job, what complex risks. High consequences. work, what did you do to relieve some of the heaviness? No, I'm not just talking about getting a good night's sleep or having a beer with your coworkers afterwards, although those things you know are important roles for um, for people.
I realize that, you know? Do you think we can throw the difficult things out of our heads and into our hearts in a way that, you know, allows us to be functional? Because you know people in your line of work and I think anyone in the world If you live long enough, you're going to experience loss, yeah, you're going to get a kick in the gut, yeah, and you're going to see people you care about get a kick in the gut. . There's so much beauty in life like Well, but that's reality, so do you have tool processes that you use to get rid of the baggage so you can lean into your relationships and your relationship with yourself with a restored sense of optimism?
The people I've always worked with have reinforced each other a lot, um, comedically, emotionally, friendship-wise, you know, being able to laugh with each other, taking things easy with each other, making things happen. people you know laugh and genuinely understand each other with, uh, without um. You know, someone is trying to tell you what you did wrong. I've been lucky enough to find myself in those groups most of the time or we just evolved that's how we were, we were attracted to each other emotionally psychologically because that's probably it. I mean, I've tried to parse some of these emotions recently as if I wasn't particularly proud of anything I'd done, but I always felt like it was a privilege you should be proud of. your achievements, I don't know if it's Pride, but there is another satisfaction that I get from it and, for that reason, I think about what motivates me, now you know that I am running a company and I have people who are also entrepreneurs. who are trying to do the best for their employees, you know, what do we encourage each other so that whatever we do, people feel good and I try to learn a lot of that from what I learned as an agent of the FBI and as a hostage negotiator and the people I was with and you know, we joke around a lot and we play pranks on each other, you know, good humor and good humor, avoid the people who are running you over, but be able to uh.
I know, take in some good-natured banter from time to time and I think humor is, in one way or another, combined with hard work and appreciation for what you're doing. It's probably been the most mental health thing along the way. Occasional bourbon. I love it um we did a whole episode on alcohol so people are going to hear me say I love it and think oh wait I'm rooting here listen to the facts as long as you're not an alcoholic as long as you're of age , probably two drinks a week is or less is safe, uh, make them, make them good quality drinks if you're going to get them to consume them in the right context or not consume them at all, but that's what I said, I love it.
I support your love of bourbon. I'm not a bourbon drinker, but tell me a little more about what you're up to lately. You mentioned a moment ago that you're leading teams that are doing a lot. I'm in charge of a lot of people now helping people helping people um providing many services in the world through many different channels um first of all I want to say your book never made a difference one of my favorite books thank you . you um, I don't say this lightly, I don't endorse books very often, but the books that I do endorse, I love, I love, I also have to say it's a toss-up between your book, you never split the difference of the disc and the body is maintained. the score for the award for the best titles of any book, those are incredible titles, amazing, incredible titles, Paul Ross or the co-writer invented the title, yes, it is a phenomenal title that in the body keeps this keeps the score because there is there a lot of content in the title and then the book exceeds expectations, so it's a really amazing book, people should listen to it, read it if they haven't already, but now you're doing so much more than just writing, although I want to want to hear about your other book projects too, but before I list the number of things you're doing, tell me about Fireside first because it sounds like a really interesting Endeavor that, frankly, I hadn't heard of before.
What is Fireside? social media platform is essentially an interactive podcast is a subscription service founded by Fallon Fatimi and Mark Cuban, they follow me and I have been friends for several years, she was the youngest employee at Google, she is an entrepreneur, a dynamic, intelligent person and tough, and it kind of came out of what's inadequate in some of the social media apps out there trying to combine the best ideas of some different things and I found that she suggested it to me and I thought I'd participate because she's a visionary and I What it turned out to be is it's effectively a weekly interactive group workout and you get the app on your iPhone or Android, whatever platform your phone is on, and then you log in.
We do an hour once a week and you get group training and then they ask you questions. and it has a video component, so if you want to ask a question, we'll take it to the quote stage and I'll be able to watch itand talk directly to you and you will be able to see me and talk directly to me. or and I interviewed Mark Cuban a couple of weeks ago and people came and asked Mark questions or asked me questions and what it turned out to be is just kind of uh uh, the next level of how to get better. in negotiations after you've read the book and probably attended the Master Class, do you know where you're going next?
One of the people who appeared on the podcast the other day on the Fireside episode said, "Well, I still don't have enough money to go to your in-person training events because they're expensive and that's how I'm going to get better in the meantime and work in that direction and therefore the monthly training if you were to sign up for group training from us on a regular and monthly basis it would probably easily cost you what we provide twenty five thirty thousand dollars a month and this is a thousand a year so at scale it's an opportunity to interact directly with me and the members. on my team once a week and I get group training and it's fun, we're enjoying it and the people who really care about interacting well with people, the guy shows up in the first episode I did and he also said the fact that you helped me make a lot more money you helped me save my marriage and he just needed to know how to talk more genuinely and honestly with his wife in a way that made her feel heard and he I didn't really have a good way to do it beforehand and I thought it's a lot, no, no, I don't know, I don't know how to respond to that other than being grateful that people can tell us things like that, so the Fireside thing is it's cool, we're still experimenting with it, it's an interactive group training podcast, it's fun, cool, I mean I would say you're changing lives there.
I mean, saving a marriage is no small feat and I think the ability to communicate. Directly with people, I also imagine it gives them the opportunity to implement the tools that you're giving them in real time and that's hearing about something and trying it out, but then you can give feedback in real time. Are you in these? Fireside talks directly or members of your team, no, I do, we do one every week and once a month, and the other thing also is that I can explain something in one way and if for some reason it doesn't fit into your context, you can No I totally get it, so that's what we find about the interactive nature.
Someone comes and asks a question in context and then I'll answer it and then they'll say oh oh oh oh, okay, that helped so you can hear from people like you who are struggling with this the way you are. but I haven't put it in context yet and that's the other great thing about q a live q a we had a guest here who told me that there is amazing data that supports the fact that people follow the medical and health advice of doctors who They may identify with much more than following the medical and health advice of doctors they feel is not like them, and many times this can include the doctor or healthcare provider being someone they would aspire to be like, but many times it's just some common relationship like they both like baseball or they both like cooking or gardening and that establishes a bridge right where the patient is willing to do all these things that they would normally resist and there is data really good for I support this and that really stuck with me because it says it's not just about the information or the delivery path or the information, but the context and the relationships even across something is like oh you, you're Uh, by the way.
I'm not a big sports fan on most things, but you know if you're a Bills fan or something like me too. That can be the difference between someone doing all the things to lower their blood pressure or day. changing your diet all those things versus not making any changes at all Relationship is the magic, yeah, it's kind of a magical component that changes, changes everything right. Fireside sounds like a great opportunity for people to not only ask questions but to build a relationship with you and your team members, so I'm going to check it out. Lord knows I need help improving my communications and certain domains of life, trust me, I get the memos, fact, what other writing projects are you involved in, if any?
We've been playing around with this companion operations manual for tactical empathy, which getting it right is important, so it's kind of a never-spit-the-difference companion book that's probably at least a year and a half away from being finished. In the meantime, we just do a lot of online training, you know, we have a newsletter that we put out weekly so people get our latest ideas on cutting-edge applications as much as possible. We charge a lot and we post a lot of stuff for free, you know, I'm throwing out ideas on Instagram, but we're constantly trying to put out information so people can collaborate better, so specifically that I just finished a book for residential real estate agents, a friend of mine, Steve Shull, we posted this last November, that's kind of specific, but it's mostly the Black Swan method for real estate agents because every conversation they're in is a difficult emotional conversation.
A home is one of the most stressful times in the life of anyone selling or buying, so we posted it in the meantime. You know, we're spreading the gospel as much as possible. We will certainly point out the various places people can find you. the different places to learn more I mean, numerous times throughout the conversation today, you've thrown out words that sound like openers and I have to say, I have this kind of crazy idea in the back of my mind, you know, I think Those simple field-tested tools are immensely powerful in not only resolving negotiations but also changing the way people interact with each other and themselves and you know, if I have a wish for the world, based on our conversation, how wonderful that would be.
It would be if children learned early on to talk to each other from that perspective because I think that would naturally guide them to listen correctly or at least offer a hypothesis about what they heard and how poorly they might be listening and then adopt a defensive posture. stance response that tells them about the accuracy or lack of accuracy um and so on I feel like the question sounds like um it sounds like you feel blank or it sounds like you think blank it just seems to me like the um like one of the most tools powerful things in the universe and I certainly wish that all adults would implement them, but that children would also learn about them, yes, that's it, yes, that's a great idea, you know how we teach them at a younger age that listening is actually something Effective, it's actually a way of thinking about things too, so yes, I agree.
I mean wave the magic wand exactly right, Chris. I want to thank you very much for your time today. I mean, you joined us on this tour. of so many different facets of your past and present work and you have also given us a glimpse into the portal to your future work, which I am eagerly awaiting. I also want to thank you for everything you do. He's always seemed like a giver of knowledge to me and, you know, you can't value that. You are constantly putting knowledge into the world on Instagram, your book, Fireside and courses, and so on, and you learn from your experience. in very, very intense circumstances, but really with a view to people making the most of that in their daily lives, which hopefully doesn't involve hostage negotiations unless there's a hostage negotiator, so I just want to say, thank you very much for what you do and for being such a phenomenal communicator and also thank you for doing that late night FM DJ voice, yeah, you know, I've been.
I wanted to be sitting here with you being interviewed on your podcast from the first time. I discovered it, thank you, several years ago and it is a privilege to be here. I really, really, and I love what they're doing to bring practical, usable tools to the world so people can navigate more effectively. Thanks again. Come back again. right, thank you thank you for joining me in today's discussion with Chris Voss. I hope you found it as interesting and useful as I did to find links to Chris's website and his excellent book, Never Split the Difference, as well as his social media. ids, check out the links in the subtitles of the show notes, if you're learning or enjoying this podcast, please subscribe to our YouTube channel which is a great free way to support us, also, subscribe to the podcast on both Spotify and Apple and on Both Spotify and Apple, you can leave us a review of up to five stars if you have questions for me or comments about the podcast or topics or guests you would like me to cover on the Huberman Lab podcast, put them in the comments section . on YouTube I read all the comments, also check out the sponsors mentioned at the beginning and throughout today's episode.
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