Keep Calm & Get What You Want with FBI Hostage Negotiator Chris Voss | Wide Open with Tony GonzalezMay 10, 2020
what's up? Welcome back to another episode of
openthe podcast. I'm your presenter, Tony González, and today's guests. I met them before. Chris you,
negotiator, book writer. A friend of mine in San Francisco is a great tech guy and he calls me one day and he knows I like to read and he says hey I got this book man but you can't tell anyone about this book it's some kind of secret weapon it's kind of a secret deep down inside and you know it will help you with your relationships it will help you with business and he mentioned your book and i got it out i got the book i read it amazing book thank you but i think it might be too good
chrisbecause the People say you don't
wantto spread this book because you don't
wantpeople to know the tactics that go into it when it comes to negotiations, that it's a secret weapon, but everyone knows that. i want to talk about you like always and i'm doing
openly i think everyone's story of how they came about explains why they are who they are now in life and we were talking before the show started that you're from iowa a small town small town , Iowa, you have four. brothers and sisters three sisters four of us in total uh-huh four of us in total one older one two younger sisters and growing up a little big that's a big family I mean yeah so negotiation you were always a good
negotiatoris this something you learned since childhood no, I don't think so, so I think I think that
whatI learned that helped me in a negotiation was really resolved. attitude to your own business you know a small business guy you have a problem you have to figure out how to solve it you have to so we'll figure it out attitude you know attitude can do and then at some point I really like to be proactive you know get or But dealing with problems, a lot of the stuff in the book is really about dealing with emotional problems before they happen, which is a crazy idea, but he's very proactive, so I think he was open to learning by doing. hard and being proactive you went to school for this kind of thing I mean, what did you like when you were a kid?
Yeah, you know I wanted to be a cop. mine and I went to see the same movie at the same time, cops about a couple of new york city cops who were wildly creative. I didn't realize it at the time, but they were very good at ignoring what management wanted them to do. and the community loved them they did a lot of good a lot a lot of good they were creative and the community loved them and that amazed me we both ended up becoming cops the other guy wasn't cut out for him because they know he's a can be tough uh-huh you know what you see a few more things and if you're not, if you're not built to resist that and you know it's not for you, but that's what sent me in the direction of law enforcement and you went to law enforcement just when you dropped out of school i graduated college i went to state university i got a business degree because while i was in school i realized i might change my mind so i thought i would get a degree that would be flexible but i stuck with it way to become a police officer and so i think you know business career everything has to run business like even in government you have to understand business concepts so i think you know that helped me or in my whole life uh-huh so when you decided to become a police officer whose?
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keep calm get what you want with fbi hostage negotiator chris voss wide open with tony gonzalez...
Was there someone influential in your life? That kind of mentor you could brainstorm to help you get through this or was it yeah figure it out yeah you know. I like the idea of being really creative and doing something that you kn Now it might sound like a cliché, but I was doing it right, I wanted to do it right, uh-huh, I want to have a good time at the same time. No, so no one was helping you. law enforcement influences him oh I love it yeah look that's what I love about this show because people are always like you have to get a mentor you have to get someone you look up to and it's not like that for everyone, I mean.
You can still have a successful life if you don't have anyone to let you out you just don't need to be held by the hand ok this is my take on the mentor trick because I get asked a lot of mentor questions. I know there's a phrase and the point is to get unofficial mentors hmm-hmm so there's a phrase out there I really like to never take advice from anyone you wouldn't trade places with because I was introduced to an FBI agent in Kansas City I said I wanted to be an FBI agent while I was a cop there, what should I do? and he gave me some advice now what happens when you take advice from someone like that they become your own official mentors and they take care of you mm-hmm and they are generally in a position to take care of this guy who was a Kansas City agent and he he says ok so i'll tell him what to do and i'm usually on interview panels but because i've given him advice i'm probably not going to be on his panel and he laid out some really basic stuff to me something is stupid i was so into being a cop at the time i wasn't reading newspapers all i wanted to do was fight crime uh-huh you know and me and i were completely dedicated to it but in the process i'm not reading the newspaper He says that you know that we are going to want you to be aware of current events.
He says that you read the newspaper and I say that he didn't. e current events says it turns out the guys on my panel are there to wait i responsible i heard what you said i did or just did i messed up your advice i have been reading the paper those people will almost always be in a position to check whether you followed or not the advice in the same way that I became a
hostagenegotiator. I went to the person in charge. What should I do? I did it. The good thing about taking that advice.
Nobody takes that advice unless you succeed. you probably had mentors and i bet money you listened to it yeah yeah that's the hard part and you did what you were told to do when i got back to the woman who was actually critical and i became a hostage negotiator i put shop on the book could tell the story without putting his name on it and he had to ask for permission sometime to use his name i said i said amy im going to put this whether you like it or not well you did something really amazing for me i just need to put your name because i like to give credit and she told me Tell a thousand people to do what I told you to do and out of those thousand two did it, yes it's a long story, take the advice of the people you should switch places with or you would and you would, yeah, you know, do it, these guys have read the paper read the damn paper, yeah, because then if I do that interview and I haven't read the paper, he writes me off.
I get the lowest scores I could have, yes, but because I did, I actually got ashamed of the scores I got. on the interview panel so when that happens even though you talk about listening I think it's HUGE because I think the recipe for success is all around us really yes I mean you can go to a book the way I like to read books and that's where I get a lot of my mentoring, but I'll also talk to someone like you during these interviews that I'm doing here every week I get to talk to someone who has done extraordinary things I think it's kind of a waste of time if I I'm going to sit here and not really apply w What does somebody say to me especially if they've been there so I love that advice but you're a cop the first three years three years and then you're like hey it's time to level up and i want to be an FBI agent now and exactly something that falls from the sky ok so my dad pays for college degree mm-hmm and i'll get a job that requires a high school diploma now that it's not a bad job being a police officer is a great job but if i sent my son to college and then he didn't use that title.
I want my money back so he can finally come to terms with the fact that I'm staying in law enforcement. He's got a guy you know as a Secret Service agent. right now I know I know I don't know one federal law enforcement agency from another you know they call it the federal alphabet not DEA from the FBI from the CIA out of the blue yeah so I talked to the guy from the Secret Service because my dad. he thinks it's okay for you to know how to use your college degree getting each other requires one and S The Secret Service guy says I traveled the world with the Secret Service now at that time I think you know I grew up in Iowa I think I probably had seen Canada from a distance I mean travel around the world someone is going to pay my bills to travel around the world.
I will do it. the office and I walk in, yeah, so you know the right way again, yeah, you don't know, you don't know what can happen in the past, I know, yeah, that's fun too, at least the way I like it, huh? TRUE? set your goals but at the same time you never know what might happen, yeah sure i know you don't want to be a male model and a football player. you're in the FBI and out of it though hostage negotiation how did that happen because you go to the FBI and I don't know from Mattamy they're FBI.
Originally I was on a SWAT team okay I wanted to be SWAT but one thing I thought about for most of my life was smash you know I'm a little bit medium sized get it right you know it's actually a very bad size because the little ones want to kick your ass and the big ones realize you have a fight because you are a medium size so you have to take everyone it's a bad size so i studied the notes. I started studying martial arts. in college i ended up tearing my knee having the sky put back together get on a SWAT team every field division has a SWAT team and a negotiating team is fine and they do it as an extra duty and all field divisions and then there's always a town that runs all out of quantico you know the mystical quantico that's on every tv show mystikal quantico quantico virginia oh you just know it's i mean this is actually it's one of the special places on a planet because the people should go there and change their lives like you walk you walk in the door just another person on the street you walk past the Academy an FBI agent comes out that's that's a transformation so I'm in I'm on a SWAT team in Pittsburgh I get transferred to New York I decide the office SWAT terrorist team is a hostage rescue team.
They are based out of Quantico. They are a national level one anti-terrorism asset. They are the equivalent of stamps. for HRT I really enjoy my name. I'm going to a doctor in New York to get it fixed. He puts Humpty Dumpty back together mm-hmm, but as you know, you can only hurt joints so many times, so I decided it was okay. I don't know how many more knee surgeries I got but um it's like a cat you're going to run out of lives if I decide to become a hostage negotiator because they respond with SWAT teams uh-huh I could talk I could talk to people how hard could I I mean, I literally remember thinking to myself that I could talk to terrorists how hard could that be and initially I get rejected by the woman I told you about and she gives me advice I follow it I join the team I joined I'll talk you're your first real negotiation where they're like me Chris you're up today so how do you get picked and what was your first experience? it is a direct initiative.
I am sitting in the FBI office in New York. and friend mine is coming I am preparing to do an interview and it has charlie beaudoin good friend of this day this is a bank robber in brooklyn with hostages we are going initiative now we are not called to go we are going and and at the moment I am actually taking care of a bad right knee Charlie is nursing a bad left knee we drive up we approach the inside perimeter jump out of the car we are crawling towards the command post you know between the two of us we were like a three legged race we have you know four legs but only until morning and we get in there FBI NYPD assembles the teams and you know I just finished my training.
I have a great team leader. The PD commander says it's okay. We are going to integrate the teams because a bank robbery will be FBI and NYPD and us. we all knew each other we have been training together and the lieutenant points to one of the PD guys this is you are going to be the first to get any point for me he says you are going to be the coach we throw a team around the guys I start talking with the bad guys and in about five hours they decided to make a change and the commander makes the first negotiation and points his finger at me says you're awake this is what I want you to do hmm and I feel like I feel like I was ready for you, you, get up to your level of readiness you don't you don't rise he actually knows how to rise the time you drop to your level of readiness it's ok and i was prepared i had the advice i had been given to get on the negotiating team was to be Volunteer at a suicide hotline.
He had been a volunteer at a suicide hotline for about two years. I had attended the training when I went to the training and they werebike. On motorcycle I figure it out but in business I drive people on my team crazy because I want to add everything to them and they want to know where we're going or how we're going to get there so getting better at organized activity is my fight hmm Chris thanks for being there open friend thank you
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