Chris Voss

Major Bestselling Author of "Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It"
Negotiation Expert, Former FBI Lead Hostage Negotiator, Educator


Chris Voss is author of the national best-seller “Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It”. It was named one of the seven best books on negotiation. Chris Voss, speaker, has used his many years of experience in international crisis and high stakes negotiations as an FBI agent to develop a unique program and team that applies these globally proven techniques to the business world. He and his team have helped companies secure and close better deals, save money, and solve internal communication problems between senior management and employees.

Chris was the lead international kidnapping negotiator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was also the FBI’s hostage negotiation representative for the National Security Council’s Hostage Working Group. Before becoming the FBI lead international kidnapping negotiator, Chris served as the lead Crisis Negotiator for the New York City Division of the FBI. Chris was a member of the New York City Joint Terrorist Task Force for 14 years. He was the case agent on such cases as TERRSTOP (the Blind Sheikh Case – Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman) and the TWA Flight 800 catastrophe. Chris negotiated the surrender of the first hostage taker to give up in the Chase Manhattan bank robbery hostage taking.

During Chris’s 24-year tenure in the FBI, he was trained in the art of negotiation by not only the FBI but Scotland Yard and Harvard Law School. He is also a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement and the FBI Agents Association Award for Distinguished and Exemplary Service.

Chris has taught business negotiation in the MBA program as an adjunct professor at University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He has also taught business negotiation at Harvard University, guest lectured at The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, The IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland and The Goethe School of Business in Frankfurt, Germany.

Chris has been featured in TIME, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Inc., Fast Company, Fortune, The Washington Post, SUCCESS Magazine, Squawk Box, CNN, ABC News, and more.

Speech Topics:

Never Split the Difference
After 24 years with the FBI, Chris Voss has assembled a toolbox of effective tactics for high-pressure negotiations. In his Never Split The Difference talk, Voss shares the specific things you can do to turn the tide of a negotiation in your favor-illustrating his points with both riveting, high-stakes stories of criminal negotiations and humorous, personal anecdotes from his trips to the mall alike. From why you always want to get your counterpart to say your name to why “yes” is the last thing you want to hear, Voss explains how to move a conversation along, how to startle people in the right way, and how to uncover what someone’s real motivation is. By the end of this talk, you’ll understand why a notorious terrorist once told Voss, “I hope they’re paying you a lot.”

FBI Negotiation Secrets for Breaking Bad Communication Habits
Good communication skills are critical in business and life. Join Chris Voss, former international kidnapping negotiator for the FBI and author of “Never Split The Difference”, as he shares counter-intuitive communication skills for success. You’ll learn why “Yes” is the last thing you want to hear and what makes “No” the path to agreement.

After 24 years with the FBI, Chris Voss, speaker, has assembled a toolbox of effective tactics for high-pressure negotiations. From using “no” to get what you want, to why “yes” is the last thing you want to hear, Voss’ counterintuitive measures culminate in nine effective principles that companies and employees can use to become more persuasive in their professional and personal lives. Hear Chris give the secrets to effective negotiating with examples from high-stakes criminal situations as well as humorous personal anecdotes.


“Chris Voss, speaker, gave a captivating keynote speech to a packed auditorium at Bentley University. NCMA Boston’s 55th Annual March Workshop was an amazing event with a one of a kind American hero!

Chris kept us spell bound. He walked us through his transformation from FBI swat team member to the world’s leading hostage negotiator. His ideas throw conventional negotiation tactics on their head. At the same time, they deeply resonate with anyone who has felt “taken hostage” during a negotiation. If Chris’s techniques can work on barricaded criminals with assault rifles, they can get your negotiation counterpart… to see your point of view and change what they are doing.

After the lecture, the audience left feeling empowered and inspired but clearly wanted more. Chris was enthusiastic and gracious about personally connecting with as many new fans as possible. These four hundred new members of the Black Swan Family have been rushing home every night to check their mailboxes for his upcoming book “Never Split the Difference.”

On a personal note, I did agree to use my newfound skills for good and not evil. However I admit to successfully using Chris’s hostage negotiation tactics on my boss, kids and at a local Subaru dealership.”
-Ellen K. Kelley, President, National Contracts Management Association (NCMA) Boston

It is very important for our company to choose the perfect speaker for our kickoff membership luncheon. This February we hired Chris Voss of the Black Swan Group.   Mr. Voss shared with us his riveting situations spent as a lead international kidnapping negotiator with the FBI.  He also brought his experiences down to the level for REALTORS to use in negotiating with their real estate clients.  Our Luncheon was very successful, members today are still commenting on how good of a speaker he was.
-Jeanette Baumann, Executive Vice President, Downey Association of Realtors

Chris’ blogs:

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