Chris Voss

Lesson time 11:27 min

Learn how you can use labels—verbal observations of feelings—to neutralize negative emotions in a negotiation or reinforce positive ones to create a better deal.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Label It! • How NOT to Label • Label More Than Once • Reinforce Positive Emotions • Mirroring and Labeling in Tandem


[MUSIC PLAYING] - The amygdala is this little organ in the middle of your head, and it is the nerve center of all the emotions. There were neuroscience experiments that were done where they put people in fMRIs, functional magnetic resonance imaging equipment, so they could watch the electrical activity in people's brains. Then they induced the negative emotion by showing a photo to them. The photo might make them feel sad, angry, lonely, hurt, upset. They knew the photo would trigger some sort of a negative emotion. They showed the people the photo, and they simply said, what are you feeling? They told them to identify it or label it. And every time that the person self-labeled, they saw the electrical activity in the negative part of the amygdala decrease, every time. Now, when we first started on labels in a hostage negotiation, we called them emotion labels, and we used it as a very self-defining skill. You labeled emotions. You heard an emotion, put a label on it. If somebody sounded angry, you said, you sound angry. And if that negative emotion is there, that label will reduce that negative emotion. So in this session, I'm going to teach you about labels. Labels are just verbal observations. When I first came out of hostage negotiation into business negotiation, I actually thought this was the least important skill on our list. Having been involved in business negotiation for quite a while and coaching a lot of people, we found out that labels might be the most important skill, the most innocuous skill, and the most MacGyver skill, the most useful tool with the most different applications to unwind and solve some of the trickiest problems. Don't be fooled by their simplicity. Their simplicity gives them elegance. You'll enjoy learning labels. [MUSIC PLAYING] The steps to labeling. The first step is you simply being aware of the emotion or the dynamic from the other side. Now, this is a lot easier than it sounds because you've got a great gut instinct. Becoming aware of what your gut instinct is picking up is the first step. Then the second step after that is to simply label it. That starts out with it seems like, it sounds like, it looks like, it feels like. Those are the first few words of a label, and then just fill in the blank. If your gut instinct is to say, look, I don't want you to be upset about this, your gut instinct is picking up that they are upset or they will be upset. So take it and make it a label. It seems like you're upset about this. What happens in your brain is you say to yourself, am I upset? It triggers that contemplation. And the mere act of triggering that contemplation deactivates the negative. So my labels are going to do several things simultaneously. They're going to build the relationship, and they're going to help me gather information. And since both of those things are happening, then my influence with you is going to increase. And the great thing about this type of influence, ...

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.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Chris Voss

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

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