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Chris Voss

Lesson time 10:22 min

Mirroring is one of the most simple yet effective techniques in any negotiator’s repertoire. Through simple repetition, Chris demonstrates how you can gather vital information in a negotiation and put your counterpart at ease.

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.


- So the common misconception about negotiation is that you have to make your case. You have to make your argument. You need to come prepared with the reasons why the other side should make the deal, your value proposition. If you will, and need to lay all that out. That is not the case. You need to find out what's possible, and you need to engage the other side in what their thoughts are so that they feel involved in the process, and consequently they want the deal to happen. So what I'm going to teach you with mirrors and a section on mirroring is how to use mirrors to get the other side engaged, to get them to feel like they're involved, and also to tease out the information that you might not have had otherwise, pieces of information that are going to make all the difference in the world. And one of the sayings about negotiation is negotiation is the art of letting the other side have your way. So mirroring gets them talking and creates the opportunity for them actually to present you with your deal, only they thought it was their idea. So mirroring is critical in information gathering and in the art of letting the other side have your way. [MUSIC PLAYING] Mirroring. The hostage negotiator's mirroring. It's just the simple repetition of one to three words, one two three-ish words. Typically it's the last one to three words of what somebody said. But when you get good at mirroring, you could pick one to three words from anywhere in the conversation. The other person feels listened to. It tends to connect their thoughts in their head. Part of the message it sends to the other person is I heard every word you said word for word, and I'm proving it because I just repeated it back to you. But it's not enough. I still don't get it. And when people go on with a further explanation, they're going to add more words. They're going to change their terms. One of the things that's in the book "Never Split the Difference" was one time when my son mirrored me. We were getting ready for some training, and I asked him if the notebooks were ready. Now he sensed from the way I was asking it that the picture in his head of what a notebook was and the picture in my head of a notebook were two different things. And he said to me, what do you mean by notebooks? And all I did was say notebooks, louder. Same words exactly, only louder, which is what people often do because they think the words that they've selected are perfect. So how could you not understand? You know, I wasn't loud enough. And he asked me a couple times, what do you mean by notebooks? And I just said, notebooks. And finally he looked at me he said, notebooks? And I said yeah, three ring binders. He's like, ah, because he had a completely different picture in his head. And to this day, he will stand up and hold up a folder and say, this is a notebook, and this is a three ring binder, and they're not the same thing. But that's what happens. People go on. People ela...

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.


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

This class is masterful. I find the strategies useful for useful daily life, such as salary negotiation. Most importantly, it taught me the mindset in a negotiation, which is eye-opening.

Absolutely wonderful lessons that can be applied to everyday situations to cool down a situation or to close the deal on a great day. I highly recommend this to anyone who has interactions with any amount of people!

Fantastic. I learned a lot. I would write more, but would rather soak it in and go over my notes at the moment. Thank you Chris Voss.

An overall excellent class for enhancing social skills. I under estimated my negotiation skills. This was more of a refresher course for me.


Ayaz R.

I can't be the only one who has had their mind blown - something so simple yet so effective. If you're ever in a room where you know nobody, just find one person and mirror them. What's more awkward? Standing alone, or mirroring someone.


My wife would ask me to take out the trash or something and I'd just be replying with 'the thrash?' consistantly until she says something weird or wrong xD

CSM Video T.

"Awkwardness is an indicator of learning," might be one of the most profound things I've ever heard.

A fellow student

I'm the lead pastor of a multi-cultural church in the Twin Cities. Right now, race relations are creating very "high pressure" situations and conversations right now. There is a lot of need for "empathy" within the whole conversation. But in trying to influence my "spiritual family" to be collaborative in problem-solving both within our church as well as within our community, I am hoping that Voss's "tactical empathy" will help create scenarios in which everyone feels like they "win." I read through the first couple of sections in the "downloadable workbook," and I found the passage on various "voices" to be particularly interesting. I would love a little more on how "your voice [inspires] your counterpart to feel the same kinds of emotions that you are expressing by activating an empathetic response from their brain's mirror neurons." (pg. 5)

Branwen R.

Staying open-minded but as someone with PTSD, I can tell you this kind of stuff is a huge trigger to me and will not get you the results you desire. Quite the opposite. I'm sure he speaks more to that kind of scenario in later sessions. Very insightful instructor.


This and the labeling chapter were two of the best chapters in my opinion. I found it was not only great for negotiating but for conversation too. I took his advice to practice on people to New Hampshire when I went to visit a friend's family. I had never met any of them before and have social anxiety, especially around lots of new people. I found that simply mirroring someone made them more interested in me and trust me. It also was a good way to fill a conversation if I didn't know what to say. I still haven't told my roommate that I have been mirroring and labeling her for the last 2 weeks and she has no clue.

Bernardo F.

Will I get past the awkwardness? Haha. Ok, back to serious, I was really skeptic when listening to this technique, mostly because I'm the kind of people who prefers to answer with arguments, having my own time to make me hear. I'll try this, why not? Anyway, what happens if the other person doesn't elaborate? Or why if they star to mirror me too?


Résumé en français L'effet miroir est une attitude qu'on adopte, régulièrement dans la vie, simplement, il s'agit de reformuler la phrase de notre interlocuteur en choisisant certains mots qu'il a employé, mais cette fois-çi sous forme de question. Au-delà de l'employé dans la vie quotidienne, se procéder est assez utile quand il s'agit de négociation. En effet il est inutile d'aller dans une négociation avec des arguments prédéfinies en pensant que l'objectif est d'écraser l'autre avec nos arguments, l'effet miroir peut servir à désamorcer une situation de conflit où bien permettre de faire parler l'autre et le laisser se dévoiler petit à petit, il s'agit de transformer un adversaire de boxe en partenaire de danse. Petit ajout important à faire de temps en temps après un effet miroir « un silence dynamique », c'est-à-dire se taire volontairement pendant quelques secondes pour laisser l'autre cogiter sur ce qu'on vient de lui dire et permettre à ce que nos arguments aient plus d'impact dans sa réflexion. En essayant d'appliquer cette méthode elle peut être gênante au premier abord, mais il est nécessaire de le pratiquer régulièrement afin d'être à l'aise avec la pratique de celle-çi. Prochain résumé à la vidéo suivante ;)


I didn't believe that it would work as well as it did. I thought "they're just going to get annoyed at me parroting them" but not even 5 minutes after watching this lesson I tried it out and was shocked at how well it works. It was hard keeping a straight face during the conversation when I realized it was working. I'm definitely going to be using this in the future!


Mirroring is just literally listening to what people have to say seems easy enough.