The Accusations Audit

Chris Voss

Lesson time 8:04 min

There are often a lot of feelings in the room when a negotiation starts. Chris teaches you how to use an accusations audit as a means of identifying these feelings and turning negatives into positives.

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Topics include: Framing an Accusations Audit • Getting Ahead of Negatives • Be Exhaustive and Fearless • Low-Stakes Practice


[MUSIC PLAYING] - I've got a technique that I absolutely love, and I want you to come to love it as well. It's called the accusations audit. An accusations audit is taking a step back, and taking an inventory, doing an audit of all the possible negatives, names, accusations, slanderous things that the other side might be thinking about me based on the circumstances, or the environment, or their own paranoia. All the things, that if I had the chance, I would say, I don't want you to feel. What happens when you do this is you start digging out all the negatives that the other side may be harboring based on past experiences, maybe based on past lives. Who knows? You know, it's the old phrase about the elephant in the room. First of all, the elephant in the room doesn't go away by pretending it's not there. The elephant in the room doesn't go away by you saying, there's not an elephant a room. The elephant in the room is diminished, and eventually goes away, by you saying, hey, there's an elephant in the room. And then people go, yeah, that's not that bad. So conduct an inventory, do an audit of all the possible negative names, negative feelings, slanderous accusations that the other side might have. Make a list, and go after them early on and quickly, fearlessly. Unexpressed negative emotions never die. They fester like an infection, and they become cancerous. And this is an approach to go after these, and even get out in front of them, and trigger the working collaborative relationship from the very beginning. [MUSIC PLAYING] So you can frame the accusations audits a couple of different ways. If you've been in the relationship for a while, just the straight label. Now, it seems like you're not getting all the information out of us that you want. It probably feels like we're holding back on you. It probably feels like we're wasting your time. It feels like that we're not being honest with you. At the very beginning, you can be a little more speculative, a little more tentative with it, a little more just recognizing what might probably happened. So at the beginning, you might say, you're probably going to ask yourself why you're taking this meeting. It probably feels like it might seem like everybody else is in this line of work and that there is no difference between me and anybody else. You may even think like that the people on your side of the table are going to think you're getting pushed around. You can be a little more speculative in those observations because you're conveying to the other side that you're being attentive, and you're being speculative, but you're being careful about it the entire time, and they're going to appreciate your approach. This gets back to being a straight shooter. You're telling the truth. You're calling things out. You're recognizing things. But you've taken responsibility for how the statements you make land. [MUSIC PLAYING] So is this tactic applicable to everyday negotiations? We...

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.

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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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