Chris Voss and Tara Cardinal

Chris Voss and Tara Cardinal: Help Women Become Better Negotiators (#128)

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Our Guest Today: Chris Voss and Tara Cardinal

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“There’s a Lot of Stuff Out There That Say That Women Are Penalized for Negotiation. I Think Women Are Penalized More for Bad Negotiation.”


Today, I’m joined by Chris Voss, Tara Cardinal, as well as my Associate Producer Adam Leffert on the show. 

Chris appeared on an earlier episode of Feisworld Podcast just about a year ago. Since then, the episode quickly surfaced to one of the most popular episodes we have produced.

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Prior to starting the Black Swan Group, Chris was an FBI agent and specialized in International Hostage Negotiation. Since the release of his book, Never Split the Difference, Chris has traveled in the United States and around the world as a keynote speaker to pass on his superpower. 

What’s Chris’ Superpower? He and the Black Swan Group help people solve business negotiation problems with strategic hostage negotiation solutions. They also coach rising stars and fix deals gone bad. 

Speaking of coaching, we welcomed one of his students too, Tara Cardinal, to join us on the show. Together, we explored Chris’ coaching methodology and process, and we break it down so that you get to look inside the situation Tara was dealing with, and how Chris coached her to navigate the muddy water. 

Tara Cardinal has an unusual background. At 12 years old, she co-founded a peer counseling organization dedicated to assisting children suffering from sexual abuse. By 16 she’d decided to move to the US to live the American dream, working three jobs to make ends meet. 

She was discovered in a shopping mall and acted in her first movie in 2006. Since then she frequently appears in horror and fantasy films to perform her own stunts. 

The four of us hit it off right away on Skype. We opened our heart and soul beyond negotiation, beating the competition, but a conversation I hope is genuine to discuss our own fears and doubts. Chris and Tara are no exception either.

There was some technical difficulties during recording but we were able to resolve most of it in post production. A bit shoutout to German, our incredible audio producer who has been the unsung hero and an absolute integral part of Feisworld. 

This episode is an experiment with a new format – two guests, two hosts. Please let us know your feedback in the comments below.

To learn more about Chris Voss and the Black Swan Group, visit their website. , and subscribe to The Edge Blog for free advice on how to become a better negotiator. 


Show Notes

  • [06:00] Tara, you are currently being coached by Chris, how did you find each other?
  • [07:00] Chris, what is it like to coach Tara?
  • [08:00] Tara, you mentioned that Chris’ book is counterintuitive sometimes, why do you feel that?
  • [09:00] Tara, what happened with the deal you managed to negotiate with the skills that Chris showed you?
  • [17:00] Chris, when you helped Tara to negotiate the deal, you didn’t have the chance meet these people, but still you managed to read the situation accurately. How did you do that?
  • [21:00] Adam and Chris talking about coaching and different types of advice and ways of teaching.
  • [22:00] Tara, you have an unusual background and it can be a bit intimidating in a good way. But if you recommend people to do the same things you do, they might end up saying ‘you can do it, but I can’t’. Why would you tell them?
  • [28:00] Tara, you just met Chris. What did you do to convince him to take such a big risk?
  • [30:00] Chris, you have an outstanding listening ability. How did you acquire and develope that skill?
  • [32:00] Tara, have you found yourself coaching people with what you learned from Chris?
  • [35:00] You are both public figures, by choice. How are you dealing with that? How do you respond/react to negative feedback?
  • [44:00] News/updates on latest work done by Chris

Favorite Quotes

[13:00] There’s a lot of stuff out there that say that women are penalized for negotiation. I think women are penalized more for bad negotiation. So this is a great example of the approach that we use.

[14:00] In a negotiation you can be assertive without being aggressive, you have to assert your own interest. You don’t have to be attacking, arguing, screaming, table-pounding negotiator…

[16:00] In my personal life, when somebody asks you a question that is assertive, it can easily translate into something very aggressive. And the key was to ask the question, and then just to let it stand, to shut up and let the question do its job.

[27:00] Typically, the point of contention may be a gateway to something else. And that’s common in a lot of deals.

[28:00] IT really put things into perspective when the one giving you advice has use these techniques to save lives. As the adrenaline gets pumped up and I think ‘I can’t save this situation’, I have to look at where this advice is coming from to put things in perspective…


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