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Mock Negotiation: “60 Seconds or She Dies”

Chris Voss

Lesson time 11:15 min

An armed bank robber is barricaded in a bank with one female hostage. He wants a car in “60 seconds or she dies.” Watch as Chris deals with this tense, high-stakes negotiation where one wrong move can lead to a deadly outcome.

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] [CLOCK TICKING] - So here's the scenario. I'm going to be a bank robber, a bad guy, bank robber trapped in a bank with hostages. You're going to be the hostage negotiator that talks me out. Now, you have four restrictions. There are four things you can't do in the negotiation, and I'll walk all the way through this. I'll summarize it. I'll give you a chance to ask questions. We won't dive in until you're ready. - OK. - So there are four things that you can't do. You cannot give me weapons. You can't give me transportation. You can't give me drugs or alcohol. And there's no sort of hostage exchange allowed. You can't, say, offer a command if I let people come out. Nobody could come in. People could only come out. When we get started, we'll simulate being over the phone. You'll say, ring, ring. I'll answer, and that will start the negotiation. All right, so if you're ready, say, ring, ring. - Ring, ring. - I need a car in 60 seconds or she dies. - OK, let's just-- I want to tell you what my name is. My name's Pam, and I'm here to help you get through this. What's your name? - I have no intention of telling you that, Pam. You have 55 seconds. Why would I tell you that? - OK, look, I'm going to try and get you what you need. - You're going to get me a car? Excellent. You've got 50 seconds to comply. - OK, I just want to slow down and-- - You can slow down all you want. You've got 45 seconds. - OK, maybe I can get you some food in there. - No. PAM: Everyone's-- - I'm going to be out of here in 35 seconds. What do I need food for? - Right, right. So I want you to just take it easy. Just relax. - I'm taking it fine. PAM: We're going to get through this together. - 35 seconds. - I want to help you get through this. INSTRUCTOR: I'm going to get out of here alone. - OK, I'm not going to be able to get you that that quickly, OK? - So you can get me a car. - We can talk about that. - No, you said you couldn't get it that quickly. - Well, I think it's impossible-- INSTRUCTOR: --which means-- - --to get it that quickly. - --you want me to kill her now. - No, I don't want you to do that. - Yes or no on the car? - Look, if you kill her, there's no way you're going to get anything. - Yes or no. - OK? There's nothing you're going to get. - 30 seconds. - There's nothing that-- listen to me, if you kill her, there's nothing that's going to help you right now. INSTRUCTOR: You said-- - I want to help you, OK? I want to help you. - Get the car. - I want to help you get through this, all right? Look-- - It's not me you're helping, it's her. - I'm going to make sure no one comes in there, OK? That's what I want to make sure-- - I already know nobody's coming in. I'm going to start throwing out bodies if they do. PAM: Well, I'll-- - You got 27 seconds left. - Look, I want...

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.

Amazing class by chris voss! learned so much!

Amazing class. Learnt so much. I'm going to read his book now.

Negotiation is a powerful tool that takes patience and skill to master. This class was super informative and there were so many nuances that were showcased and explained.

Very insightful, on theory and techniques, e.g. about "empathy", the power of no, positioning oneself. I wonder about the scope of the wisdom.


A fellow student

Absolutely Brilliant. In fact this class is the reason I joined MasterClass and rest would be the bonus.


Amazing, Chris Voss does an amazing job demonstrating everything he taught in the previous lessons.


Brilliant. Mr. Voss presented a complex subject in simple, understandable, discrete amounts. He used repetition of techniques from previous lessons, as he advanced throughout. This is a wholly worthwhile experience.

A fellow student

Everytime I watch a negotiation, I feel like Pam could have done more to give Chris a harder time. I'm sure some would agree with me on this. However, I think the major point we might be missing here is that we are just outside observers who are quite possibly immune to Chris' tactics because of our position. If Chris engaged any of us viewers in the same maner, he would probably crack us open just like what happened with Pam here. When Pam was the bad guy, Pam's gestures where giving away how she started to question her own reasons after Chris' each question which was very fun to observe.


Poor sweet Pam, what did she get herself into?? She's way too nice to be the robber. And there was no 60 sec countdown this time. I wish it could have been a 'Chris-the-robber' vs. 'Chris-the-negociator' negociation.

Bernardo F.

Well, Chris and Pam surelly showed two kinds of both negotiators and robbers. On one hand Pam is the amateur negotiator, who falls because of stress, who is prone to make mistakes while still having some hits; and she's also the desperate robber, the one that doesn't know to have the situation controlled. On the other... Chris just killed it with that sociopath acting, I don't know how I would keep calmed with a person like that at the other side of the table.


I wonder how it would have been had they not been looking at each other. She was looking in his eyes the whole time and I think that helped her see the humanity in Chris from the start, so it was easier to stay calm and go to his side.

Dustin B.

Chris is a great actor. You can tell he's probably dealt with some very crazy people before lol. Really not trying to talk negatively about his counterpart, but it would be really nice to see how different types of people interact with him instead of just one person. Hopefully the Masterclass crews will re-shoot some of these examples and one on one exercises.

Camille D.

I felt the pressure the actor was under just listening to his tonal changes and watching his body language change. Chris Voss on the wrong side is a scary thought! It would be interesting to see 2 seasoned negotiators handle salary with a similar level of intensity.

Marjorie M.

I agree, she wasn't convincing in this role. She knows he has the upper hand cause he is the negotiator. Would someone who threatens to kill someone in 60 seconds be so willing to cooperate with him? I would have loved this technique to be taught in more realistic context other than this one.