Brandon Voss: Learning with an FBI Hostage Negotiation Expert

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Have you been told that you are a bad negotiator? Or perhaps negotiation is an area you have been trying to work on without much success? I have some good news. 

This episode is a part of a Negotiation Trilogy on Feisworld. 

About our guest 

Brandon Voss is the thought leader at Black Swan regarding negotiator types. He has made it his mission to teach clients how to identify the types of negotiators and has developed a methodology for dealing with each type in the most successful way.

Brandon is the son of Chris Voss, the FBI Hostage Negotiation expert who founded the company The Black Swan Group.

There is no doubt in my mind that Chris is the best negotiator I have ever seen, but Brandon is a close second. After all, he had to negator with his father since he was born. 

Brandon's upbringing was fascinating to me. How did he negotiate with his father to get his PlayStation at the age of 8? What is the dynamic of their professional life together not only as father and son, but as colleagues? 

Chris Voss was interviewed twice on Feisworld Podcast, the first one here, and the second one with Chris' client Tara Cardinal here. These episodes remain to be two of the most popular episodes we have ever produced. 

Brandon was credited in the Best-Selling book Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz. 

This book was brought to my attention by multiple guests on Feisworld. A client told me this is his #1 most gifted book he bought for family, friends and his own clients. 

To learn more about Brandon Voss and the incredible company he works for, visit https://blackswanltd.com/

Also check out the Edge blog (it's one of the few I subscribe to and read): https://blog.blackswanltd.com/the-edge

 

Show Notes (Part 1)

  • [03:00] How is it like to work with your dad?
  • [05:00] What was your participation in Never split the difference?
  • [12:00] What’s your earliest memory of you negotiating with your dad?
  • [20:00] When did you decided to join the Black Swan Group and how was that transition like?
  • [27:00] Tell us about how your take about marketing your business versus your dad’s opinion. On which aspects do you agree/disagree?

Show Notes (Part 2)

  • [39:00] Tell us some story that you recall about harsh times within your business, maybe miscommunication, or responsibilities.
  • [49:00] Fei and Brandon talking about the parent-child dynamic and how that influences their own businesses.
  • [54:00] How do you balance/use your emotional intelligence in your daily life and how do you balance when to do things alone versus partnering with others?
  • [57:00] How do you react when people can’t tell that you are related to your father?

 

Favorite Quotes

[08:00] From a negotiation context, our approach is really from a human nature response. Being able to size somebody and then being able to tell how they are going to react just because they are a person, not because of their race, or the language they speak or where they come from. Just because of natural human nature responses, how do I use that to inform my communication path with that person.

[28:00] If my father didn’t think I could do the job, he wouldn’t have hired me. That’s why it was much easier for me to take the job, because it wasn’t that he was offering the job because I’m his son.

[29:00] We use hostage negotiation techniques to solve business negotiation challenges. And one of the underlying pieces of that is that in hostage negotiation there is no compromise.

[39:00] I always enjoy meeting people that are not from the US originally, because there’s a perspective about how they look at life and what it takes to succeed that is unique.

[42:00] There have been times where we’ve been at each other’s throats. Business decisions, or how we were handling a client, or how we were executing certain things. But ultimately, our foundation, the relationship as father and son is what kept us together in a lot of ways.

 

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