Meaningful Dialogue: Diplomacy for Security Workshop

On 23 November, YPFP Brussels held a NATO-sponsored workshop on diplomacy in the field of security. The event was moderated by Marina Otasevic, Security and Defence officer at YPFP Brussels. Jorgen Christian Jorgensen, the Secretary of the North Atlantic Council, was the main speaker and Marija Sulce, Director of Security and Defence at YPFP Brussels, ran the practical exercise.

The participants had the opportunity to hear about how NATO makes decisions, how the North Atlantic Council works, how Allies negotiate, and how diplomacy works in practice. At NATO all decisions are made by consensus, which makes each decision a strong sign of unity within the Alliance. But of course it also makes it more complicated to sometimes reach a decision. It is always important to firstly listen to your counterpart carefully and understand their position. Why your counterpart is saying the things they are saying is often as important as what they are saying. You can always find a way to come to a win-win agreement if you are willing to listen, be creative, and if you maintain good relationships with your colleagues. Ultimately it is the relationships that build consensus, so you should always be hard on the issue, but be nice to the person.

The event also included a practical part, where the audience was divided into pairs and given a negotiation exercise to complete. This allowed people to practise their bargaining skills and see how different negotiation positions and personalities affect the way people interact and how difficult or easy it is to reach an agreement. Many participants reflected how the negotiating position or the personality they were given in the different rounds was either easy or hard for them to play depending on their individual personality as well as the position of their counterpart. Following the exercise, Mr Jorgensen helped to debrief the audience and offered three main tips on negotiation as a conclusion:

  1. The person who is better prepared always wins the negotiation.
  2. Separate the person from the problem.
  3. Aim to always build trust and relationships.