30 September and 1 October 2013, Geneva, Switzerland - The Multilateral Diplomacy Programme of UNITAR organized with the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, a two-day workshop to strengthen the negotiation skills of diplomats, UN staff and private sector professionals.

In the framework of UNITAR’s core diplomatic trainings, a group of over 20 participants gathered during two days in the delightful realm of the Ariana Museum for a highly interactive workshop on negotiation.

This workshop gave participants a stronger technical understanding of how multilateral negotiations work and how to prepare for them as well as the very practical opportunity to work on techniques to help them understand the impact they have on others. A specific focus was placed on the human factor involved in negotiation processes. Interactive sessions on building rapport and trust were linked from the beginning to the purpose of reaching the most successful outcomes in negotiations. Being grounded and knowing what one wants were the keywords that led participants to grasp the depths and asperities of the Harvard model for negotiations. The impact of these sessions was increased by a thorough presentation on toxic behaviours in negotiations. Participants were taught how to detect specifically jeopardizing behaviours in negotiations and the means to flex them. Participants were also exposed to the ways of avoiding tensions to arise and the ways to deal with them. Sessions on positivity speaking and communication skills, as indispensable ingredients to successfully expose one’s position, were practised to close the workshop.

UNITAR training in negotiation

The workshop provided a simple, user-friendly methodology with which to construct audience-focused negotiation skills. The sessions were highly participative, combining short presentations, exercises, simulations, case studies, group discussion and video analysis. The combination of such an array of tools allowed for participants to test their assimilation of all discussed concepts in a simulated and safe environment. Throughout the workshop, participants were provided with feedback and focused coaching to strengthen their negotiating impact.

The success of this workshop is certainly due as much to the quality of the trainers, Jonathan Joo-Thomson, Counsellor, Head of Specialized Agencies and Reform Team at the UK Mission and Rabih El-Haddad, Officer-in-Charge of  Peace, Security and Diplomacy Unit at UNITAR as to the active participation of all participants.