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A Top Hostage Negotiator’s Approach to Divorce with Chris Voss

Divorce settlements are often compared with business deals. But the analogy falls apart when you consider that business deals give you the option to walk away. Perhaps a better parallel is that of a hostage negotiation, where you have no choice but to work with the other side. And in both cases, approaching the negotiation with respect—despite your very different point of view—is the most beneficial strategy.

Chris Voss is the founder and CEO of The Black Swan Group, a professional development and consulting firm that provides training and advises Fortune 500 companies through complex negotiations. A 24-year veteran of the FBI, Chris is one of the top authorities on international crisis and high-stakes negotiations, lecturing at business schools across the US and appearing on ABC, CBS and CNN, among many other national media outlets.  He is also the author of Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended On It.

Today, Chris joins Katherine to discuss the parallels between hostage and divorce negotiations, explaining how both work best when we respect the other side’s point of view despite a difference of opinion. He describes how providing emotional compensation in a negotiation can shift the other side’s demands and shares his approach to handling a bully with fearless deference. Listen in for insight around why Chris separates the HOW and the WHAT of a negotiation and learn why compromise is NOT the best approach!


The parallels between hostage and divorce negotiations

How to respect the other side’s POV without agreeing

The distinction between empathy and compassion

How providing emotional compensation can shift demands

How the word ‘fair’ leads to overreaction in a negotiation

How Prospect Theory explains our overreaction to loss

How to negotiate with a bully through fearless deference

The difference in demeanor of a bully vs. a predator

How women seem to pick up negotiation more quickly

Why hearing the other side out is key to a negotiation

Why Chris separates the WHAT and the HOW of negotiating

Chris’ insight around the problem with compromise


The Black Swan Group

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss with Tahl Raz

Text FBIEMPATHY to 22828


The Center for Understanding Conflict

Miller Law Group

Katherine on LinkedIn

The New Yorker’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce by Katherine Miller

Email katherine@westchesterfamilylaw.com

Call (914) 738-7765


Carl Rogers

Books by Carl R. Rogers

Kahneman & Tversky’s Prospect Theory

Robert Mnoochin