Inside Influence


The Next Right Thing: Chris Voss on renegotiation and how to deal with it

Season 1, Ep. 77

Hi – this is Julie Masters and you’re listening to The Next Right Thing – a mini-series from The Inside Influence Team. Designed to provide some actionable certainty in uncertain times. Specifically – and the situation we’re all facing right now – the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lock down.

The idea behind this series is to go out to some of the most popular guests from past episodes of Inside Influence – and ask them one question: ‘What are the most important things you’re focusing on right now (tools, ideas, strategies) - or advising your clients to focus on - that you know for sure work in uncertain times?’

The intention being that somewhere in there, from these incredible minds, you might be able to find inspiration for your next right thing – a point of certainty amidst the uncertainty.

In this episode I speak with… Chris Voss – previously the FBI's lead kidnapping negotiator. During his 24 year tenure in the FBI, he was trained in the art of negotiation at Scotland Yard and Harvard Law School. He is also a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement – as well as teaching business negotiation at a number of prestigious universities. He’s also the author of the EXCELLENT book: Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

In this conversation we drill down into something very specific… How to deal with everything being renegotiated. Most of us have had to deal with either making – or taking – those ‘renegotiation’ phone calls more than we could have ever imagined over the last few weeks. Either with suppliers, team members, landlords or customers. They can be deeply uncomfortable, emotionally intense and hard to navigate. As a blue print to work from – Chris walks through a four point system for handling renegotiation phone calls. As well as how to deal with two of the biggest derailers in phone negotiations – what to do when the other party goes silent – and what to do when they won’t stop talking.

What I want you to listen for in this conversation… is that these tools apply whether you are making – or taking the phone call. Managing your state i.e. tone of voice to set the tone. Creating engagement - through emotionally intelligent guesses as to what the other party might be facing. Reflecting back – and naming the elephant in the room - by labelling what you have heard them say. And then asking thought shaping, collaborative questions that usually begin with ‘How do we…’. Emphasis on the WE.

I’ve said it a hundred times – and it’s never more true than now – influence isn’t something you either have or do not have. It’s not a power bestowed from on high by a divine force to some and not others. It’s a set of tools you can claim and choose to master at any point. But first, like any mastery – you have to decide to claim it and commit to the practice. 

If you want to hear more tools from Chris Voss and his experiences in the FBI… you can hunt down our previous conversation - which believe it or not was actually episode No.1. WOW – how far we’ve come. In particular his insights on ‘why ‘yes’ should be the last thing you want to hear in a negotiation’ is a TOTAL game changer.

Chris also has an amazing newsletter… – actionable and brief. Also a masterclass for $90 – insane. 10 videos.

So… other than staying well and looking after each other - I hope somewhere in here you find the fuel you need for your next right thing.

More Episodes


Chris Bailey - Hyper Focus: How to master distraction and create attention worthy work

Season 1, Ep. 81
“Greetings everyone, my name is Julie Masters and welcome to another episode of Inside Influence. In which I delve into the minds of some of the world’s most fascinating influencers – or experts in influence - to get to the bottom of what it really takes to own your voice - and then amplify it to drive an industry, a conversation, a movement or a Nation.”Now, when you listen to this podcast, are you onlylistening to this podcast? Or when you listen to this podcast, are you cooking? Driving? Working? Working out? All of the above?Chances are you’re not focussing solely on this podcast. Most likely, you’re doing something else. In fact, when you think about it – when was the last time you shut down all distractions and focused on one thing utterly and completely?And why am I even asking these questions – what does any of this have to do with influence? The answer is – everything. If there’s one thing I know for sure it’s this – we can have no influence, not over ourselves, our organisations, our networks or our communities – without first mastering the ability to focus.The most influential people you know are the most focused. I’ll say that again… The most influential people you know are the most focused. They are the most able to tune out the noise and focus on essential signals. And in doing so create a force strong enough to pierce through the noise in other people’s lives – long enough and consistently enough - to create an equally focused following.Add to that – that there are no shortage of distractions right now. No shortage of screaming elements that are as urgent as they are important. The future of the economy, important social unrest in our societies, a pandemic, the health and wellbeing and continued isolation from our families, educating and entertaining our children at home, trying to keep our jobs and businesses alive – not to mention the ever ready call of social media - just to remind us of everything else we (probably) don’t have the time or bandwidth to even consider adding to our plate.PLUS – and I will stop soon I promise – there’s this whispering opportunity many of us feel at the moment. The opportunity to look deeply at our lives, our careers, our businesses – and redesign them.For some it’s to include more breaks, more white space and more connection. For other’s it’s transitioning to a business model that will put us and our teams in the strongest possible position for whatever comes next.So – have I made my case yet? Focus and how we deal with distractions has everything to do with influence.My guest today has been making this case for over 15 years.Chris Bailey believes in a ‘human’ approach to productivity and focus i.e. no spreadsheets in sight. A fact that makes me truly happy.His fascination with focus first led him to dedicating a year after college – turning down a number of job opportunities – in order experiment with productivity. Primarily using himself as the guinea pig. These experiments included.... working a 90 hour week, watching 70 hours of TED talks in 7 days, and making himself bored for a month to see where his mind wandered. All this, with the aim to learn and share how we can focus more deeply, overcome procrastination and energise ourselves in the process.The result of this 12 months was his first book ‘The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy’.The book was a huge success, but then Chris noticed something – that his old unfocused habits were starting to creep back in – particularly when it came to technology. This led to his second book – the manual he needed and couldn’t find: ‘Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction’.In this episode – the conversation I needed but previously hadn’t been able to find - we dive into…1. The one thing that we (i.e. I) wanted to hear the most. That it’s not our fault we’re distracted. Apparently, we’re hard wired for novelty (for reasons we’ll get into) and that every time we discover a new and novel thing – hello social media - our brain gives us an addictive hit of dopamine. So, if you can give yourself a pass for that, and be kinder to yourself in those moments, that’s the first step to a better attention span.2. Following on from that, how to embrace the break. That includes learning to read your own cues about when it’s time to take a break. And by the way, looking at your phone is not taking a break. Sorry about that.3. The rule of 3. This is one of Chris’ top focus tips - each morning, he picks three intentions for the day - out of the many he has on his plate, and gets them done.4. How not to fear White Space (another word for the ‘in-between time’ we often avoid or try to fill with stimuli). And how harnessing that space, that pause, is the key to becoming a more effective decision-maker.5. And finally, the joy of email sprints – which I can promise you does not require active wear, but does get that never-ending monkey of your Inbox off your back.So, no more distractions from me, time to press pause on whatever you’re doing - or at least one of the things you’re doing - and get set to consider a new way of working with the ‘force of focus’ that is Chris Bailey....

Tom Asacker -The Business of Belief, why desire and truth hold the keys to influence

Season 1, Ep. 80
Greetings everyone, my name is Julie Masters and welcome to another episode of Inside Influence. In which I delve into the minds of some of the world’s most fascinating influencers – or experts in influence - to get to the bottom of what it really takes to own your voice - and then amplify it to drive an industry, a conversation, a movement or a Nation.=====I’m sure you, like me and 99% of the population of this planet, would think of yourself as a rational person. The dictionary definition of rational is: ‘based on or in accordance with reason or logic’. ‘Reason and logic’; I’ll take those words – who doesn’t like to think of themselves as logical and reasonable?Well, I’ve got some news for you – and it’s probably not a surprise. We are not as rational as we think we are. You are not – and I am not.According to my next guest, most of our day to day decisions are not carefully evaluated, thought through - or weighed-up. But instead based on beliefs, personal preferences and working assumptions – each one cross-checked against our environment, background, desires, feelings and mood at any specific time. And most of that… is done unconsciously without you even being aware. Sound hard to navigate? Unfortunately it is.As I record this introduction, the aftershock, global protesting and heartbreak following the death in custody of George Flyod – is still very much ongoing. And if that situation teaches us anything – it should be how hard wired, unconscious (and often dangerous) our beliefs systems can be.But it’s not enough to sit in that knowledge - what comes next is probably the most important question when it comes to understanding influence – what does it take to understand, direct – and in this case – redirect our beliefs into new behaviour?My guest today has spent a good portion his life studying the gap between what we say is important – and what we actually do - both for individuals, companies and social movements.A speaker, writer and advisor - Tom Asacker takes a different approach to creating momentum, and that approach is all about belief, desire and the physics of action. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies, co-founded a high-tech medical device company - won the George Land Innovator of the Year Award – and is now the author of ‘The Business of Belief’ focusing on the hidden logic of behaviour.In today’s conversation we talk about....·How to close the gap I mentioned earlier – taking your team, your community or yourself from ‘talking the talk’, to ‘walking the walk’.·Why as a leader you have to embrace the desires and beliefs of those you are trying to influence – especially when the horizon is uncertain. And I don’t mean just acknowledge those beliefs (which actually was a shift in my thinking), but instead find a place where you can authentically own them as your own.·How to get over the past experiences and stories that impact how you show up - so you can arrive at a situation open, but still armed with certainty.·And why it’s physically impossible to hit a baseball – I know this sounds like this would have nothing to do with influence – but it has everything to do with waiting for the right moment… vs. swinging with intent and trusting you have the muscle to follow through when the angle becomes clearer.What I want you to reflect on in this episode is how hidden and hard wired our beliefs can be. We are complex and multi-dimensional beings – who bring our entire history and belief system with us to any table or conversation. However, by accepting that - and by committing to the excavate – understand – and work with someone’s beliefs – including our own – we start to walk the fastest and most powerful road to influence that I know.So, take a seat, let the logical world go for awhile – hard as that is right now - and open your mind to the thoughts and (ever flexible) beliefs of Tom Asacker.

Scilla Elworthy on Non-violent communication

Season 1, Ep. 79
Greetings everyone, my name is Julie Masters and welcome to another episode of Inside Influence. In which I delve into the minds of some of the world’s most fascinating influencers – or experts in influence - to get to the bottom of what it really takes to own your voice - and then amplify it to drive an industry, a conversation, a movement or a Nation.Now, at the time of recording and publishing this episode we are still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some lockdowns are easing, some are being extended - but wherever you’re at in your lockdown, we are all at a point where it’s something we’ve been dealing with for months - rather than for days or weeks.For many, or for most in fact, the stress and the strains of those months are very real and there’s a high chance that conflict is a lot more familiar part of your life than it was pre-pandemic. That conflict might be light – children arguing over toys or homework – more intense – as many of us deal with financial and family crisis points – or critical – if – as is the case for far too many - your home isn’t a safe place – and the main emotional and physical dangers lie more within your four walls than outside.For some people, dealing with – and trying to resolve – conflict - is their life’s work. And it’s one of those people who is my guest for this episode.Dr Scilla Elworthy was put on her ‘path’ at the young age of 13 - having watched a life altering news broadcast in 1956 which literally jolted her into action. That small moment changed her life, which in turn, helped change the lives of countless others.Dr Elworthy is best known for founding the Oxford Research Group; an organisation set up in 1982 to develop communication between nuclear weapons policy-makers and their critics - for which she was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize.In 2003 she left her role there as executive director and set up Peace Direct; a charity which supports peace-makers and peace builders in areas of conflict. She is also a member of the World Future Council, has advised Desmond TuTu andSir Richard Branson in setting up ‘The Elders’,and wasAwarded the Niwano Peace Prize in 2003.Today her full attention is on developingBusiness Plan for Peace -resulting in her 2017 bookThe Business Plan for Peace: Building a World Without War.Her latest booklet - which has literally just been released – is called: ‘The Mighty Heart: How to transform conflict’. It takes the experience of people who have been preventing and resolving conflict for decades; some on the front-line, others within families or schools. And distils their experiences into practical, non-technical advice on how build your own mighty heart.So what’s a mighty heart? Put simply, it’s having the courage to meet conflict with compassion, curiosity – and unshakeable presence.How do we do that? Keep listening. In this conversation we dive into:·How to deal with a bully without becoming a thug yourself, and how to overcome violence in all its forms without resorting to force.·Why it’s important to realise that whilst it’s okay to be angry at ‘the thing’, it’s not okay to be angry at the person who holds the opposing view on that ‘thing’; get mad at ‘the thing’ together and resolve it.·Self intervention - how to take a step back when we feel too close to the trigger point - very important this one, and very relevant for these times.·How to take a stand clearly and calmly – and with full gravity - so you are not dismissed. Quick Tip - it’s important to literally take a ‘stand’.·And how we build certainty through self enquiry. Especially in those 3am moments. One of my favourite moments in this conversation is listening to how Scilla – literally – deals with her dragons when they arrive at 3am.For me – speaking to Scilla was both a deep honour and reminder that the most powerful forms of influence are not force, aggression or interruption. Which Iknowsometimes is a hard truth to hold onto.In the long run of history – or any relationship - the only lasting genuine peace always comes from a willingness to firstly show up – for ourselves before anyone else. Then to get curious about both sides of the story – even when that feels impossible. And finally, in the decision to fiercely and compassionately hold our ground – even (and especially) in the moments when our knees shake and our voices break.Writing this introduction actually sent me off in search of a poem I hadn’t read in years, it’s by Rumi and it’s the closest (and shortest) summation of the beginnings of peace that I have ever found:“Out beyond the ideas of right and wrong there is a field – I will meet you there’.So, find whatever resembles a peaceful place for you right now - and enjoy my conversation with the truly indescribable, Dr Scilla Elworthy...