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Negotiation is everywhere. You might not be aware of it, but you’re negotiating for something almost every day. Whether it’s your job interview, asking for a pay rise, negotiating with other businesses. Or, you know, negotiating with your kids when it’s time to go to sleep – the principles stay the same, but it can be one damn tough negotiation!
It’s such an underrated skill that many simply forget about it. But once you are aware of the implications of good negotiation, then you’ll want to learn it and master it.
And that’s what Chris Voss’s MasterClass course can help you with. Chris is one of the world’s top negotiators who’s worked on numerous negotiations of all kinds.
We’ve taken a closer look at it to see if it’s worth your money and time.
What is MasterClass?
MasterClass is one of the top online learning platforms out there. Formed in 2014, it had only a few courses and several thousands of users. Fast-forward six years and MasterClass is a sprawling community of learners where courses are taught by celebrities and well-known personalities.
Today, it’s a multi-million business with courses on almost every field of life you can imagine. You can learn from people like Steph Curry, Serena Williams, Tony Hawk, Tom Morello, Carlos Santana, Steve Martin, and many others.
The teachers are the main appeal of the website. I mean, who wouldn’t want to learn a few cool skateboarding tricks from the legend that is Tony Hawk, or learn how to become a better guitar player from Tom Morello?
For a yearly subscription of just $180, you can access all of the courses for a full year. Alternatively, you can buy individual courses for $90, although we believe that the yearly subscription is the way to go. You get all of the courses for a year for the price of two full courses.
Who is Chris Voss?
We’ve already said MasterClass has celebrity instructors, and Chris Voss certainly falls into that category. He’s not your typical rockstar or movie celebrity, though.
Chris Voss is a businessman and an academic, but he perhaps is most well known as a top-class negotiator. Negotiators are typically seen only in movies where there is a tense hostage situation and then the negotiator comes in and saves the day.
Well, real life is slightly different. But Chris Voss has been involved in some high-profile negotiations with a positive outcome, so stories like that do happen. He was employed as an FBI negotiator for almost 30 years – one of his top negotiations at that time was that of Jill Carroll, who was captured by terrorists in Iraq. Chris Voss won the negotiation.
In 2016, he wrote the book Never Split the Difference, which was a huge and instant success. In it, he describes some negotiating skills and also some of the top negotiations from his career.
Perhaps you’ve already read the book and now want to see his course – well, it’s somewhat similar, but hearing his tone of voice and narration gives it a completely different perspective.
Other than that, Chris is a businessman, too. He was the CEO of the company called The Black Swan Group Ltd. He is also often seen as a commentator on some of the top TV stations, including CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, and others.
Chris Voss MasterClass Review
The Chris Voss MasterClass course is one that closely follows his book, Never Split the Difference. It tells us the principles of negotiation and some psychological tricks behind it. Chris also talks about some of his high-profile negotiations, such as the Jill Carroll negotiation.
The course has 18 lessons and lasts just over 3 hours. It’s a fairly short course, and almost like a documentary, but in bite-sized lessons that are easily digestible, and it also makes the course more organized. This is how the curriculum of the course looks like:
Who is it For?
The course is for everyone, really. You can apply the negotiating skills you’ll learn here to almost every field of your life.
Whether it’s your job, dating, professional life, personal life – you’ll encounter some form of negotiation almost daily. Sure, the characters and the surroundings change, but the principles most often stay the same.
Businesspeople and business negotiators will especially appreciate this course. You’ll learn how to leverage the negotiation to your advantage and not make enemies during the negotiation. Instead, you should try to understand the other side’s position fully first.
Anyone who’s interested in learning about how negotiations work – this course is a must. Chris Voss talks about some of his negotiations through case studies. That way, he talks about the Jill Carroll negotiation, the Chase Manhattan Robbery negotiation, and other types of negotiations.
So we’d say the course is for anyone looking to improve the negotiation skills in any area of their life.
To summarize, this is who the course is for:
- Businesspeople who negotiate on a daily basis
- Negotiators working for companies and businesses
- Criminal investigators and negotiators
- Employees looking to ask for salary improvements
- People who love Chris Voss and have read his book (yes, the course is similar but the delivery here makes it worth it)
- Anyone who does negotiation on a daily basis
The Art of Mirroring and Labeling
One of the first things you’ll learn in this course is the art of mirroring. This is simply the act of copying the other person’s behavior, style of delivery, and overall mood to help them feel better in their own skin and step out of their comfort zone.
Chris says this is the key to getting the other person to trust you and open themselves to you. It’s a subtle skill but a very effective one, and it’s been scientifically proven to work.
The other key skill in negotiating is labeling. This is much more psychological. You have to label the other person’s feelings in order to negotiate the negative emotions and replace them with positive ones.
But Chris Voss doesn’t only talk about these skills – he also shows them in action. That way, you’ll know how you can incorporate them into your daily negotiations. This is the first two lessons in the course and they got me absolutely hooked.
The Importance of Body Language and Speech
There are also two very important aspects of negotiation that we often seem to neglect. These are our body language and our speech – or in other words, our appearance and our delivery.
When it comes to speech, it’s not only about what you say during a negotiation but also how you say it. In fact, that’s even more important. You don’t want to sound like a robot, but you also want to have a calming tone of voice.
Often, it depends on the circumstances and the mood the other person’s in. Sometimes, it makes sense to use the playful tone of voice. Other times, an “analyst” tone of voice might be better.
It’s important for you to be able to gauge the situation and how to proceed with the negotiation. Adjusting the body language is also key. You want to come across as confident but also very calming. Sometimes, a neutral body language works best.
It’s all fascinating stuff, this, and it’s great to see Chris do it for us and show us how it’s done. This is something that can’t be taught by just reading his book (even though it’s a fantastic one).
Mock Negotiations and Case Studies
Through mock negotiations, Chris gives us examples of different types of negotiations that happen frequently in our daily lives. These are some mock negotiations included in the course:
- Negotiating with a teenager
- Negotiating with a business rival
- Asking for a salary increase
- Mirroring and labeling
- Mock negotiation: 60 seconds or she dies
As you can see, there are different scenarios that these negotiations address. Some might be more appropriate for your situation than others.
Another interesting aspect of this course are the case studies. Through case studies, Chris Voss demonstrates how the skills taught in the course are used. For example, he tells us about the importance of including Jill Carroll’s father into her negotiation, which eventually led to the negotiation being won.
Creating the Illusion of Control
With negotiations, it’s all about giving the other person the feeling of control. In most cases, anyways.
For example, this tactic can be very effective in terrorist negotiations. In the Jill Carroll case, the terrorists wanted the feeling of importance and control rather than actually demanding something in return.
This tactic causes the other person to become drunk on this feeling of control until eventually, they lose this control. It allows the negotiator to keep the other person reasonable and not rash – which is the last thing you want as a negotiator in tense negotiations.
What We Like
Here’s what we like about this course.
- It’s full of real-life demonstrations and examples. It’s not just a theoretical course – instead, you learn through examples. You can learn through the case studies or the demonstrations Chris makes for the points he tries to make in the course.
- It shows us the top tactics and psychological tricks for a successful negotiation. Negotiating is about the subtle things – it’s about our tone of voice, our delivery, the words we choose, our body language, and how we treat the other person.
- Chris Voss’s delivery style is amazing. Honestly, the course feels like a documentary but Chris’s narration style is very interesting and engaging. Even after watching a few minutes, I knew instantly this course is going to be amazing.
- You get a booklet and an active forum. As with all MasterClass courses, you get access to the PDF booklet and the community of people attending the course.
What Could be Improved
- Firstly, the course is based mainly on Voss’s book. Most of the materials are also in the book, which makes some think the course is unnecessary. However, the course is fantastic as it allows us to see the principles in action. Plus, Chris’s narration alone is worth it. Although, if you want something extra, you might be a little dissapointed.
- The forum is somewhat quiet. It’s there, but not many people are using it.
It’s not a personal course. It’s more of a documentary-styled course, and it doesn’t feel as personal as some other courses.
To end things, let’s discuss whether the course is worth it or not.
If you have the all-access pass, then it is absolutely worth your time. Even if you think you’re not interested in negotiation, there’s an amazing deal of value you’ll be getting from this course.
Secondly, the course is also great if you buy it individually. But we would recommend getting it with the all-round access because it only costs $180, which is the equivalent of buying two full courses.