Look Who’s Talking: Lessons From Chris Voss and Keith Cunningham

There’s a learning principle that says we need to hear or see something seven times before our brains really remember what it is that we’re being taught. This is called the “rule of 7” and it certainly rings true for me. For the last few years, Roslyn and I have attended the Genius Network Annual Conference. This is a great event and it’s a lot of fun meeting up with all of the people we know who attend, but every year right before we get on the plane, my brain asks, “Why are we going to this? Isn’t this going to be the same conference as last year’s? Why do we have to go?” Fortunately, the answer to this question comes shortly after we arrive.

This conference is one of the places where I always hear important things that I’ve forgotten or simply didn’t “hear” the first time. It’s the “rule of 7” in action. No matter how many times I learn something, I’ll eventually need to be reminded of it from time to time. In addition to reminding me of the important lessons I’ve forgotten, this event always features amazing speakers who teach me something entirely new. Last year, two of the speakers who really stood out were Chris Voss and Keith Cunningham.

Chris Voss was the FBI’s lead hostage negotiator and author of the book “Never Split the Difference.” I consider myself a pretty good negotiator, but I picked up things during his presentation that were ingenious! The biggest takeaway is that we have several different ways to negotiate something. One of Voss’ killer moves is to phrase a question in such a way that gets the other person to say no, but they are really saying yes. For instance, let’s say you are shopping for a new car and you have a strict budget you want to adhere to. You can say something like, “Would it be ridiculous to bring these monthly payments down to $550?” Getting the person to say “no” and mean “yes” shifts the entire conversation in your favor. Considering the fact that we all negotiate all day, from discussing dinner plans with our spouse to working with the IRS, our brains get “yes-fatigued.”

The other amazing speaker we saw, Keith Cunningham, is the author of “The Road Less Stupid.” Cunningham is a successful entrepreneur who knows what kind of mistakes people make in business every day. The truth is that as entrepreneurs, we don’t always think about the downside the way we should. Many times, we make decisions only based on our “gut feelings.” Cunningham proposes that we pay a “dumb tax” every time we make a decision without thinking things through. His whole strategy is about learning to recognize your own blind spots and making time in your day to “think.” He says that during your “thinking” time, ask yourself the right questions to think things through and come up with best answers and decisions for yourself.

Attending the Genius Conference and hearing these great speakers got Roslyn and I both excited for the big event this summer. We’re very close to picking the venue for the next Tax Resolution Success Summit, which will be held Aug. 27– 29, 2020. In addition to making the final decision on a venue, we’re also looking into getting a great keynote speaker.

Our goal is for the conference to bring a ton of value to attendees every year. We want you to have a great time and leave with new ideas about marketing and business practices as well as actually have a marketing plan in place to implement as soon as you get back in your office.

Save the date, and keep an eye out for more updates about the 2020 Tax Resolution Success Summit including venue and our keynote speaker!

Dedicated to your success

michael rozbruch tax and business solutions academy