Former FBI Chief International Hostage Negotiator
Author of "Never Split the Difference"
CEO of the Black Swan Group
Expertise: hostage negotiations, building rapport, information elicitation
- The Behavioral Change Stairway Model
- Finding Black Swans
- Late-Night FM DJ Voice
- Profiling negotiator types
Chris Voss is an expert hostage negotiator, having worked on over 150 international hostage crises.
He got his start providing support on a suicide assistance hotline. Then in 1992, he received hostage negotiator training at the FBI's school. Since then, he's held posts as a Crisis Negotiator for the New York City Division of the FBI, a member of the New York City Joint Terrorist Task Force, and the FBI lead international kidnapping negotiator.
Behavioral Change Stairway Model
Voss teaches that the key to influencing others is to first develop rapport and trust, even with hostage takers. Kidnappers too have emotional triggers and a need to be heard. Tools like active listening and empathy have been critical for navigating hostage negotiations with some of the most "dangerous" criminals.
According to Voss, Black Swans are pieces of information that you as a negotiator don't know that you don't know. Even the most thorough preliminary research will not surface this intelligence - information such as your counterpart's greatest motivation right now or business challenges. Black Swans can be revealed through conversation, and once extracted, can change the entire strategy or approach of the situation.