Never Split the Difference - Deepstash
Never Split the Difference

Never Split the Difference

Chris Voss, Tahl Raz


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No deal is better than a bad deal



1.28K reads

Beware "yes", master "no"

Beware "yes", master "no"

For good negotiators, "No" is pure gold.


That negative provides a great opportunity for you and the other party to clarify what you really want by eliminating what you don't want.


"No" is a safe choice that maintains the status quo; it provides a temporary oasis of control.


887 reads

All starts with "No"

All starts with "No"

We've been conditioned to fear the word "No". But is a statement of perception far more often than of fact. 

"No" is often a decision, frequently temporary, to maintain the status quo.


Change is scary, and "No" provides a little protection from that scariness.


722 reads

Let them say "No"

Let them say "No"

When you preserve a person's autonomy by clearly giving them permission to say "No" to your ideas, the emotions calm, the effectiveness of the decisions go up, and the other party can really look at your proposal.


Great negotiators seek "No" because they know that's often when the real negotiation begins.


622 reads

Train yourself to hear "No"

Train yourself to hear "No"

When someone tells you "No", rethink the word in one of its alternative meanings:

  • I am not yet ready to agree
  • You are making me feel uncomfortable
  • I do not understand
  • I don't think I can afford that
  • I want something else
  • I need more information
  • I want to talk it over with someone else

Then, after pausing, ask solution-based questions or label their effect:

  • "What about this doesn't work for you?"


People have a need to say "No." So don't just hope to hear it at some point; get them to say it early.


472 reads

3 types of "Yes"

3 types of "Yes"

  •  Counterfeit: When the counterpart wants to say "no" but feels that "yes" is an easier exit route or just wants you to keep talking to get information. 
  • Confirmation: It is usually innocent; sometimes it is used to set a trap but almost always it is a simple statement without promise. 
  • Commitment: It is the one that matters, it is the real agreement that leads to action. This is the one you should be looking for. 


An early "Yes" is often just a cheap, counterfeit dodge.


454 reads

"No" is protection

"No" is protection

Saying "No" often spurs people to action because they feel they've protected themselves and now see an opportunity slipping away.


"No" is not a failure. Used strategically it's an answer that opens the path forward.


463 reads

The skills of "No"

The skills of "No"

  • "No" allows real problems to come to light
  • "No" protects people from making bad decisions
  • "No" slows things down so people can think through their decisions
  • "No" helps people feel safe, secure, emotionally comfortable and in control of their decisions
  •  "No" boosts everyone's efforts


As Dallas Mavericks said "Every 'No' gets me closer to a 'Yes'"


391 reads

Force the "No"

Force the "No"

If despite all your efforts, the other party won't say "No", you're dealing with people who are indecisive or confused or who have a hidden agenda. In cases like that you have to end the negotiation and walk away.

Think of it like this: No "No" means go


447 reads



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Never Split the Difference

Never Split the Difference

Chris Voss

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