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Mastering Delivery

Chris Voss

Lesson time 10:49 min

The way you say something during a negotiation is as important as the words you choose. Chris explores how you can use tone and inflection to your advantage and shares his top tips for online communication.

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.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] - So why is how you say something so important to a negotiation? Well, the reality is, your inner voice betrays your outer voice. I might say to you, that was a good question, and my voice says that I thought your question was stupid. Or I could say, that was a good question. Or even with how am I supposed to do that? I could say, how am I supposed to do that? You know, my tone of voice is saying, you idiot. But I can say, how am I supposed to do that? My tone of voice is saying, look, I'm trying. I want to help. I just can't do that. I'm not fighting you. I'll do whatever I can do. I can't do that. Your voice, your deliveries, speaks volumes. It conveys deference. Everybody loves deference. It conveys genuine curiosity. It conveys collaboration. I mean, your voice alone can be such an art. When I was teaching hostage negotiation, I knew a hostage negotiator might not even say the right things. If they had a great voice, we were probably going to be all right. Flip side, they could have all the techniques down. If they sounded like a robot, they were going to be horrible. You can say the perfect words, and if you say them like you think the other person is stupid, or a robot, and you're tone of voice you're going to destroy your word selection. [MUSIC PLAYING] If you can see me, or if you can hear me, I can hit the mirror neurons in your brain. To find angry, I'm going to hit your mirror neurons you're going to get angry to. It's an involuntary response. If I'm talking with you, and I use the late night, FM, DJ voice, I've hit your mirror neurons, and I've slowed your brain down. That was the default voice for hostage negotiators. We were taught to use a late night, FM, DJ voice with every bank robber, or kidnapper, or terrorist. We knew to calm them down. We didn't know why. We didn't care. We knew that was a law of gravity, calm the other side down. It tamped down their emotions. So if I need you to calm down, I can't say calm down. It's an order. You're going to hate that. But I hit you with a late night, FM, DJ voice, I might even smile while I'm at it. Smile when you talk to people. Trigger their mirror neurons in a positive way. Make them smarter. Make yourself smart at the same time. Don't allow yourself to be held hostage over whether or not they like you, and you'll increase your ability to make deals by hitting their mirror neurons, calming them down, soothing them, and then making them feel like you're worthy of collaboration simply by smiling at them. [MUSIC PLAYING] So, there's basically three different tones of voice combined with two inflections. The fight guy, the assertive that's my natural born type. You know we think of ourselves as direct and honest. You know, we're blunt. Let's say, for example, that my price for a given product was $35,000. And I'd say, the price for our product is $35,000. That's the assertive's tone of voice. I mean, I'm just saying it to you. I'm being direc...

Take control of the outcome

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.


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

Wonderful presentation. I didn't realize that asking why makes the other defensive. I liked the reframing of how and what. Great examples. Thank you!

This class was excellent. It reinforced things I had been doing and shed light on new negotiating strategies I'd never thought of. The role playing was super helpful. I'm excited to try these new tactics.

I can possible negotiate w/ my son who is great at it

Excellent. I had listened to Voss's audiobook Never Split the Difference which as excellent, however being able to hear from him directly and see the role plays during the masterclass was an even better experience.


Sean S.

It is very interesting what Chris says about not trying to too much in a digital communication, make only one good move per communication. I have often overloaded emails in fear of sending too many emails so i send one email that addresses 6 things and inevitably when I get a reply some are addressed and other are forgotten or ignored. So my questions is, is it better to send one email about 6 different things or is it better to send 6 different emails each about only one thing? Based on this lesson I would say the latter but I am always so worried about bombarding a counterpart with emails.

Max T.

Chris is amazing. Have gone through the class several times and learning something new each time.

A fellow student

how do you deal with someone who has no cognative empathic responce ("mirror neurons")?


Maîtriser l'élocution Dans l'art de la négociation, il est d'une importance capitale de maîtriser son élocution, car il est possible qu'on puisse dire à notre interlocuteur une phrase, alors qu'on pense l'inverse à cause de notre élocution. En maîtrisant son élocution, on a la possibilité d'adopter plusieurs comportements au travers du ton de sa voix ce qui peut nous permettre d'imposer le respect et permet d'établir une atmosphère de confiance et une meilleure volonté de collaboration, ainsi, il faudra essayer d'éviter le ton de voix assertive qui communique une certaine nervosité, car il est absolument contre-productif. Il y a aussi le ton de voix espiègle s'approche d'une voix souriante qu'on peut adopter celui-ci sous-entend qu'on souhaite dire la vérité même si cette vérité est difficile mais qu'on est aussi préoccupé de l'impact de notre proposition sur notre interlocuteur il est conseillé de l'utiliser à 80% du temps. Le ton de voix de l'analyste lui est un ton déclaratif qui sert lui à asséner un terme catégorique que l'on considère inchangeable de préférence à ne pas utiliser souvent mais seulement à des occasions de nécessité, car l'objectif reste de ne pas mettre dans l'embarras l'interlocuteur de sorte à ce qu'il penche de notre côté. La voix du DJ en fin de soirée se rapproche elle de la voix de l'analyste cependant contrairement à cette dernière l'intention est plus chaleureuse, car elle est à utiliser à certaines occasions entre 15 % et 20 % du temps plus en particulier pour désamorcer une situation tendue ou une personne anxieuse. La capacité à prendre une inflexion différente, est l'astuce qui peut faire la différence et nous permettre de s'imposer dans la négociation cela fait comprendre à notre interlocuteur que l'on a une certaine aisance dans la discussion et que l'on suit son discours de près. Concernant la communication digitale comme les e-mails mieux vaut communiquer à travers des textes courts et concis de sorte à ne pas saturer l'e-mail d'information, PS : je pense que cette question de voix et de ton ne peut pas avoir le même genre d'impact selon la culture, la langue et le genre de la personne qui veut employer cette technique.

Bernardo F.

Through the video I was wondering, what happens when there's not a face to face interaction? I think the last bit of the video is vital, how to communicate effectively, showing intentions in order to obtain the best result. Amazing!

Juvent H.

I totally agree with your notion of Late Night DJ FM, emotionally strong and integral people use that technique when an agitated one is quarrelling a lot, but they do not know that it has a formula.

Lucia A.

I believe everything Mr. Voss is imparting because his experience speaks for itself. I also believe his experience as a man informs his advice to "soften" tone, to never use the "assertive" voice because it is counterproductive, and to sometimes come across as unsure or afraid. That's because men need to tone it down from thousands of years of alpha chest beating. But we women have taken an equal amount of time to learn to be MORE assertive, to NOT act as though we are unsure or vulnerable so that we can be taken seriously in business and negotiation. So, I think this lesson has layers of complexity for the woman negotiator.

Sebastian G.

This is such an important lesson to take notes of, all of the communication types are useful but the hardest part is to determine when to use them.

Sisira T.

This works very, very well but I am generally not the kind of her to listen to people so when I tried this on my brother it failed. So for people like me try transitioning into it slowly or only use it with people you just met.

Abigail A.

I loved this lesson a lot because I learned so many useful negotiation skills that would probably help me in real life. I also can't wait to test them in a important negotiation or situation with my friends. Also, Chris Voss is a great teacher.