This Is How To Be Persuasive: Secrets From Hostage Negotiation

Whether it’s a deal at home, love affair, professional relationships at work or a buying/ selling stuff, persuasion is always a key skill.

Tough conversations are the part of everyone’s life. And you can make these tough discussions easy if you know how exactly to be a persuasive person.

There are a lot of books available about how to be good at persuasion, but in real- life circumstances, those techniques don’t seem to work. In short, they sound like bookish advice.

I recently read a wonderful book by Chris Voss. He is former FBI International Hostage negotiator and author of Never Split the difference.

I really felt like Chris has some very actionable advice for being good at persuasion and winning every debate and argument with love, trust, and respect.

I loved this book so much that I thought to turn his valuable knowledge in this post.




Many people believe that they are being genuine, honest and straightforward when they speak their heart out. No doubt, it’s a good quality to speak your heart. But, at times, this proved to be disastrous for your personal life, career growth or any other dealing.

You think you are being honest but the people with whom you are interacting will take its negative impression. They won’t appreciate your straightforwardness. For them, you are being disrespectful, harsh, rude and aggressive. No matter she is your wife, your boss, or any customer, nobody wants to be listening to harsh truth on their face.

So, what’s the use of being direct when its clearly harming your rapport and isn’t helping you much in achieving your goals?


Listen Attentively: Instead of just forcing people to listen what you have to say, listen to them attentively. Make them realize that you are trying to understand their point of view.

Be Empathetic: Empathy is a great behavior understanding skill. When you being empathetic, you are understanding other’s person’s limitations well.

Build Rapport: When you are connecting with other people emotionally, its empathy. And, when people are connecting with you at an emotional level, it’s rapport. Rapport comes when people believe in you.

Be Influential: You can only be influential if people believe and trust in you. This only comes when you listen attentively, are empathetic.

Make them change their behavior: Your being nice, kind and understanding will make them empathetic towards you and will result in their behavioral change. They will decide that they have to act in your favor. Or at least they will think how they can help you to accommodate you as much as they can.


Conventional wisdom dictates that in order to be good at persuasion, you need to get people say “yes”. You are persuasive; communication experts will tell you if people say “yes” and act according to your wishes every time you want them to.

Chriss Voss has argued in his book that instead of getting people say “Yes”, let them say “No”. He further tells that, for people, readily agreeing with others wishes is a hard thing.

The reason is this: people avoid committing something. And the fear of commitment is attached with, “yes“.

On the other hand, people are more relaxed when they say, “No“. They think, in No, there is protection, a sense of security and freedom.

Chriss recommends that “engage people in questions which will readily force them to say “NO”.

Like, is this the worst time to have a discussion? She will readily say, “No”. Or, have you made your mind to quit? The natural answer will be, “No”. “Should we leave things as they are?” And the answer will be “No”.

Ask open-ended questions to land them in their “safe-zone” and from there engage them in productive discussion.


To be persuasive, you will have to admit your faults readily. In tough conversations, people get emotional and will reach to a point where they will accuse you of “not listening properly” of ” you really don’t care” or “you just don’t know anything“. Instead of fighting back by defending yourself, admit your fault immediately. Say, I am sorry for sounding bad.

Admitting your faults will build up trust relationships, defending your faults will make people disbelieve you. And to win the trust is to become a good persuasive personality.


Be polite, and let them live in their comfort zone. Take notice of their strengths and thinks they feel comfortable talking. The point is that when people are in control they tend to give your more concessions and will do more for you. The reason: because they will feel like they are in control of their emotions and decision. And from that position, they will feel at ease by giving you favors or whatever you want. Let them say no but your way. Listen to them attentively and whenever they accuse you, excuse yourself and address your weakness.

See, all these tips are very beneficial and actionable. Hope you will implement these strategies in your life and will meet success in your every endeavor.

Author: Waqar Ahmed

Waqar Ahmed is a professional freelancer since last five years, primarily working at Upwork. He writes about motivation, technology, personal growth, and about everything that he learns time to time. When he's free, he reads books, watches documentaries on YouTube or learning something new at Udemy!

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