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Advice from a Hostage Negotiator (VIDEO)

Have you ever been in the situation where someone you negotiating with suddenly changes their position? Chris Voss has and here I provide you with two tactics to use when you are confronted with this.


I was listening to a podcast today where Chris Voss was being interviewed. Chris is a former FBI hostage lead negotiator. I can't say he's a tough guy; I never met him but he has certainly stepped into some interesting situations.

He was talking about situations where people wind up dealing with someone who suddenly changes their positions. It is obviously talking about hostage negotiation, but it could be interesting if your job hunter or an employer who changes their position on something. Your employer and a job hunter comes back with something that is a new demand or request. The third circumstance occurs when your business and your selling something; a person who you are selling something to suddenly change their minds or position about it. You're trying to recapture the situation.

Voss came up with a great response to that. Actually, there are two of them that I really liked. The first one requires that you are imagining that your job hunter or an employer who is suddenly talking with you about different money or your employer and now they're countering with more money. Here's is a response:

"Sounds like you trying to teach me that I can't rely on what you're saying." BOING!!! How. Do you respond to that if your employer who is being told that by a job hunter , because your issuing or about to issue a lower job offer after leading them to believe that you are going to get a higher number? If her employer dealing with the job hunter, can you imagine throwing that one into the mix when a job hunters trying to up the offer?

"Sounds like you trying to teach me that I can't rely on what you're saying." WOW!

Then, of course, let's say were talking from the employer perspective, you have a job hunter who is suddenly issuing a counter demand and, before you hit the first response, you can always try this one… Ready?

"How am I supposed to do that?" You say it in a kind of flat neutral slow FM radio kind of voice and, lo and behold, it's kind of a shocking moment for them that kind of takes it out of their equilibrium because most of them have summoned up their courage in order to make this demand and what you're trying to do is the equivalent of a pattern interrupt.

The first one I really love – – "Sounds like you trying to teach me that I can't rely on what you're saying." You say in a very neutral way with a flat affect, no pressure, a very simple statement. I think that hit themselves in the head with the impact of that message that you're sending to them.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio” and “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” both available through iTunes and Stitcher.

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