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Mock Negotiation: Salary

Chris Voss

Lesson time 11:15 min

Chris demonstrates how to negotiate effectively for a pay increase. Learn why he doesn’t focus the conversation on money.

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] - All right, Pam, in this exercise, you're gonna be my employee. You're the director of business development for the Black Swan Group. You handle business development, and you're making about $120,000 a year. And you've decided that you want to make more money, OK? So you walk in, sit down, open it up. - Hey, thanks for taking the time to meet with me. - You're welcome. - You know, what I'm coming to do is to ask you for an increase in salary. And I really would like to change my title from director of business development to a VP, I think. It's kind of the natural progression. - How much of a raise would you like to get? - Well, right now, I'm making $120,000. I'd like to be at $160,000. - $160,000, OK. So I'll take a step back as a teacher. Most employers look at employees as selfish people. - OK. - Because when they walk in the boss's office, you never come walking in the boss's office unless you want something for you. So I'm gonna know, going in, if you made an appointment for me. You didn't come in here to make my life better. You came in here to ask me for something. - Right. - So how do I know that giving you a raise is gonna help me? - You don't. - You just think if you get an agreement on a price, everything else would be lovely. - Right. - Which is a normal reaction from most people. And that's how most people sink themselves in job negotiations. They don't walk into the boss and say, hey, how can I be more valuable to you? Because when you say, how could I be more valuable to you, suddenly that changes my perspective. You didn't come in here to get something for yourself. You actually came in here to make my life better. That's a game-changing moment, initially. Just by asking that kind of a question or taking that kind of an approach-- - Right. - --then it's immediately a different conversation. Immediately, you're no longer a selfish employee who came in here with her hand out, OK? You put one hand, you put two hands out, and willing to have one handful, you're gonna put two hands out because you've been told to ask for more than what you want, right? - Right. - Aim high is the big lie that's out there. Aim high. Now, how much do you know about my ability to pay you? - I don't. - You presume it's there. - Right. - But you don't know. - Right. - And you don't know how to make yourself more valuable. - Oh, right. - So how do you do that in a job negotiation? You got to come in, first of all, and find out am I living up to expectations? How have I done? How do I negotiate my success for the future? Then you start talking about what that success is worth. But terms make the deal in any negotiation, especially in a job. You know in advance that a lot of employers might look at employees as selfish. That in order to disarm that you might say, look, I don't want you to think I'm selfish. But instead of denying it, you...

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.

I read Chris' book a couple of years ago and thought he was brilliant. I was so excited to experience his Master Class- hope I can meet him one day!

Very well taught and drives concepts home that are counter-intuitive and therefore very thought provoking.

Very compelling content and delivery through concepts, stories, and role playing. Loved it and learned a lot.

Very good tip and tricks even for a seasoned businessman. But those demo session is just embarrassing.


Doron P.

there is no way this will play out like this in a real negotiation, there will come a point that the boss will let you go


She is an actor, he is a negotiator. There is no way She will come even close to answer any of his questions or demands properly. real world its different Chris, its like when we do mock service in a restaurant, we prepare real food, real clients and the only mock part its that all checks are comps. Try to talk to a real former recruiter not to an actor you will manipulate easely.


This would be much stronger if he used a person from his company trained in negotiating tactics, or another business person skilled in negotiating. I don't think this video is particularly helpful.


Wow, this is amazing. It has been one of my best lesson so far, really eye-opening. I need to practice that one a lot to avoid the kind of disappointments I had in the past. Thanks

Be A.

You start to talk about the project margin with a reasonably knowledgable business owner and he would probably argue to the point that you are already making too much :) BUT I love the tools used there, I mean the concept is Great

Bernardo F.

It's good to see Chris acting both sides, however it's said in the video that Pam lacks the knowledge of a business and that makes the scenario a bit difficult to represent properly. In this particular case, I'd have prefered a businessman who knows how this negotiation can be directed.

Fabritzio C.

There is some good criteria there. but Im not fully convinced on the craft i think Chris can do better or show more strategic roles on the mock of negotiation.

A fellow student

The mock negotiation didn't convince me much. The fact that Chris has so much more knowledge in business than the actress might give a feeling that the employee was trying to dominate his boss. It doesn't seem to be so practical and realistic.

A fellow student

Great. But think it could be better if these mock negotiations are more real. Having an actress act like a teenager or like a exec doesn't convince me... Besides this is exhibit A of what's called demand characteristics in social psychology: if someone is able to guess (or knows) the objective of the point being made, the experiment turns in to a staged production.

Juvent H.

I think that Chriss has the capability to get anyone that he wants to involve them in a mock negotiation. If you want a child, hire a real child, If you want a boss, find a boss at another company, and so on...No Mrs. Pam in all roles.