How To!

How To Win Arguments Like a Hostage Negotiator

I disable bombs for a living. But I hate confronting people.

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Episode Notes

Shayne defuses bombs for the military, but in his personal life he’s terrified of confrontation. Take, for example, the time his kids’ babysitter cleaned out a week’s worth of groceries from his fridge and he never said anything. Shayne wants to be understanding and give people the benefit of the doubt, but he ends up feeling taken advantage of time and time again. On this episode of How To!, we bring in Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator and author of Never Split the Difference, to help Shayne stand up for himself. No matter how conflict-averse you are there are a few key ways you can persuade people to give you what you want—whether you’re arguing at home with your spouse, trying to get a free upgrade at a hotel, or, in Chris’s case, negotiating with terrorists. Empathy can be a powerful tool, Chris says, if you know how to use it.

If you liked this episode, check out “How To Convince People to Give You Money.”

Are you worried about accomplishing your goals? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Podcast production by Derek John and Rachael Allen.

About the Show

What if Dear Abby were an investigative reporter? Each week, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit) takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask but couldn’t. Until now.

Do you have a problem that needs solving? Have you found the advice on our podcast helpful? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might play it on the air.

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