My favourite book of 2020 – (Nothing to do with behaviour management)

“Reading is to the brain, what exercise is to the body”

One of my goals for 2020 was to read or listen to one book every month. Not an unachievable or memorable goal I know. In a way, I did reach my goal – I did read 12 books, just not one a month! (The lockdown enabled me to read a lot more than usual)

Finding time in my morning (or evening) for reading has led to a significant growth in knowledge in an array of subjects. I have been astounded by the compounding effect of making little improvements consistently over time. Dwayne Johnson (more commonly known as The Rock) puts it like this:

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency.
Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come “

So what was my favourite book…? It was a gift from my father from a business trip he attended at the beginning of the year. The fact that it was actually a signed copy had nothing do with it being my choice as #1!

Never split the difference – Chris Voss

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It  eBook: Voss, Chris, Raz, Tahl: Kindle Store

Chris Voss is a former FBI negotiator who has honed his skills and worked to make them suitable and usable in the business (and personal) world. The Author drives home the point that you are in continuous negotiations throughout your days, weeks and months.

Chris Voss keeps you intrigued and fascinated with ways to control conversations and make you want to start them with a “No” – an interesting concept and an apparently effective technique. According to Voss, people like to say no; it makes them feel at ease and comfortable. This is when the negotiation begins.  “No” provides a great opportunity for you and the other party to clarify what you really want by eliminating what you don’t want.

First of all, smile and be humorous. The human brain works 31% better when in a positive frame of mind. But remember, humour needs to be appropriate to the context of the conversation. Smiling at someone triggers the mirror neurons in the brain and even if they don’t smile back, the neurons have been activated. 

Below is a very brief overview of some key points I found particularly interesting. If the tools and techniques work during hostage negotiations with terrorists, then why not give it a go in both your personal and business life…?

Active listening
Negotiation begins with listening, making it about others and caring about what they have to say. After trust has been established, the author teaches you how to validate their emotions, creating enough trust and safety for a real conversation to begin. It’s a pretty basic principle that emphasises connection and empathy. Listening with an open mind is the first step to effective negotiation. They should feel that you fully understand their positions, beliefs, feelings and worldview. The beginning of a good negotiation can sounds similar to a conversation with a therapist.

Mirroring ( Not the original mirroring of visual cues but mirroring of words )

  • Use mirrors to encourage the other side to empathise and bond with you, keep people talking, buy your side time to regroup, and encourage your counterparts to reveal their strategy and open up. Repeating the last 3 to 4 words of a sentence back to them is an excellent way to prolong conversations and gain further insight to what they actually want. We are mirroring words to build a connection with the individual.
  • Mirroring gets you on the same “page” and level as your counterpart.
  • Repeat the last 1 to 3 words (ish) or a selection of key words. For example, if your counterpart says “I’m not going to bed“ you respond with “to bed?”
  • Mirroring will encourage people to state the issue in another way.
  • We want the individual to “repeat or expand” so we can gather more information and get to the root of what they really want.
  • Mirroring enables you to connect with people’s thoughts.

Another very simple but effective way of showing you understand the other person is by labelling. Labelling is what Voss calls “verbally stating out loud what the other person is probably thinking and feeling right now.”

  • Labels usually start with “It seems like…” or “It looks like…” for example – “It seems like you’ve had a difficult day…”
  • When labelling emotions it is important to avoid using “I……”
  • Remember: a negotiation is about the OTHER person and their FEELINGS rather than your own.
  • Labels help diffuse negative emotions and improve feelings of understanding.

I highly recommend this book for individuals in all organisations. Check out some of his videos on YouTube to get a taster of what he’s all about.

From the team at Ignite Training Wales –

Nadolig Llawen
Merry Christmas

Tomos, Sian, Dean and Owen

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