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Exercise: Mirroring and Labeling

Chris Voss

Lesson time 6:37 min

How does a conversation about escape room games lead to deep insights into someone’s character? Chris demonstrates how by using two key negotiation techniques: mirroring and labeling.

Chris Voss
Teaches The Art of Negotiation
Former FBI lead hostage negotiator Chris Voss teaches you communication skills and strategies to help you get more of what you want every day.


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So this is a really exciting thing for me to do. I've never done this before, but I'm going to bring you in to show you how to negotiate in real time with Pam joining me as my counterpart. Pam is a very talented actor who's going to join me in the mock negotiations and scenarios. So in a minute, I'm going to get you to talk about something you're passionate about. And it doesn't matter what you're passionate about. It could be New Jersey. It could be cooking. It could be travel. It could be selling mortgages, but something that resonates with you. - OK. - Now, when we get started, all I'm going to do is the two skills I'm just going to use. First it's just going to be a label, which is it sounds like, it seems like, or you sound or you seem. It's just a verbal observation. And the other's going to be a mirror. Mirror's kind of a crazy technique. I'm going to repeat the last three words of what you just said. PAM: OK. - And when I do that, if you feel like talking some more, then talk some more. If you don't, then don't. PAM: OK. - But whatever I say, just react how it makes you feel. So have you thought of something you're passionate about? - Uh huh. - What are you passionate about? - Escape room games. - What is it about escape room games that makes you passionate? - They are so fun to do with friends, and they're immersive. It's, like, such an immersive experience. And it challenges your mind. - It challenges your mind? - Yeah, yeah, because when you go in, if you know what an escape room is, you have 60 minutes to get out, right? And so there's this series of different puzzles that you have to solve in order to get out. - Sounds like you like mental challenges. - Yeah, I do. I do when it comes to that, that it's puzzles and fun and then you're kind of cooperating and doing them together. And you're also in this immersive experience. So it's as if you're in the mystery movie or if you're in the play. You're part of the play. - It sounds like you like drama. - Maybe I do like drama. I guess I like the suspense of it. I guess maybe I do like drama. - But it also sounds like you really like people. - I do, I do. I like to spend time with my friends, and I like working together with them in escape rooms. And the other thing that's kind of interesting about them is that if you have someone who's never done one before and then they come with your group, you're like, this is going to be so fun for you, and you try to make it the best experience for that person so that they enjoy them too. - You sound like you really like to help people. - I guess so. I never really thought about it like that, but I guess I do. I guess I do like to help-- - It sounds like-- - Not like I'm a terrible person who's so selfish, but-- - You sound like a really loyal person too. - Aw. That's nice to say. I think people say-- my friends do say that about m...

About the Instructor

As an FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss persuaded terrorists, bank robbers, and kidnappers to see things his way. Now he’s teaching you his field-tested strategies to help you in everyday negotiations, whether you’re aiming to improve your salary, the service you receive, or your relationships. Get stronger communication skills, game-changing insights into human nature, and more of what you want out of life.


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I learned so much from Chris that I can apply to my everyday life. A great class that I will use in almost everyday life from now on

Awesome stuff you can apply to any aspect of your life!

So this was not what I expected to find on Masterclass, but am so glad I found it. The stories were interesting and I can see these lessons applied to business and what I do on a day to day basis.

Great MasterClass on negotiation. Its well structured and with techniques I can use to change my life



the exercise works when the other person is exited about the topic, but what about when the other person is not, when you want to approach a difficult subject the person is not very exiited to talk about?

Chris P.

I liked the exercise, but it would have been better if she didn't know about "mirroring" and "labeling" before hand, and then explained it to her after to see her reaction

A fellow student

As someone who has read the book, I was a little sceptical about the usefulness of these lessons because of the price tag. Most theoretical information provided -up to this point- is also provided in the book for a cheaper price. However, this exercise was a very welcome edition. Seeing Chris, "the boss" himself in action, added value to the learning experince of the masterclass.

A fellow student

Does anyone know Pam's full name? I'm trying to figure out what I know her from.

Grace S.

I tried it and it work. it makes people that you talk to so happy that you wana know about them. Great! Help me to create relationship easily effortlessly.

Bernardo F.

I was feeling disappointed for this exercise as it didn't feel natural, i.e. Chris told what he was going to do... However I think I finally got these two skills, it's not to win an argument, rather to get information without giving anything to the other part! Mind-blown!


Exercice de l'effet miroir et du ressenti de l'interlocuteur Dans cette exercice chris demande à son interlocutrice de lui parler d'un sujet qu'elle aime tout en sachant que l'objectif est de soutirer le maximum d'information sans pour autant donner d'information lui même de ses ressentis. Ce dernier va émettre une question en effet miroir suivie par d'autre questions ayant pour objectif de faire émergé le ressenti de l'interlocutrice à chaque fois, de plus les question poser on pour le but de faire ressortir des émotions positives tel que la loyauté et le fait d'aimer venir en aide aux gens. Prochain résumé à la vidéo suivante ;)


I thought it would be better if he didn't tell her what he's gonna do, to see her reactions more naturally

Steve D.

This is great. One challenge I could see is if I'm her in this example and engaging with someone, I'm less apt to open up and continue talking if the other person isn't sharing much on their end. At that point, I'll begin to shorten up my responses and statements because it feels more like I'm on the hot seat and less about engaging in conversation. My trust lessens. Nonetheless, these techniques are very much helpful.


People enjoy talking about themselves if they feel like someone is genuinely interested in them and their opinions. Mirroring looks like a great technique that allows leveraging people's enjoyment of explaining something they are experts at: themselves. But would this work with introverts or, even, people on the "psycopath" spectrum?