Negotiating their way to the top

Posted on October 18, 2012

"Being a good negotiator means you are an excellent communicator, that you can listen, assess, show respect and interpret other people and their positions well,” explains NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Ambassador Kolinda Grabar, after leading a negotiation skills workshop for young professionals in Brussels. “For any aspiring leader or young professional, it is an important skill to hone.”

Ambassador Grabar led the first of a series of workshops on ‘Tools of the Trade’ organised by the Brussels branch of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP), which took place on 17 October at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI).

Each interactive workshop provides hands-on experience from top-level experts to 25 members of the organisation, aimed at improving their skills to better equip them to work in the foreign policy community.

"The YPFP Tools of the Trade series is an important way for young leaders to improve their skills,” says Ambassador Grabar, adding that it take more than just knowledge to be a good leader. “YPFP is unique in its ability to bring the that generation together to learn and network in various countries around the world."

Leaders need an array of skills

The workshop lasted two hours and saw the group split into three teams – two opposing positions and observers – to negotiate a case study situation. Ambassador Grabar then worked with individual members on their strengths and weaknesses.

Negotiating between different political positions happens each day at every level of the Alliance. As well as being well informed of events, every leader, at the very top and at lower levels, needs good negotiation skills if they are to be successful.

YPFP is global non-profit organisation aimed at fostering the next generation of world leaders. It has over 10,000 members across 70 countries, with 1,000 of those in Brussels alone.

While our other programming events focus on policy areas, the ‘Tools of the Trade’ series focuses on skill development with teaching from professionals who have succeeded in various fields,” explains Veronika Reichboth, Deputy Director of Programming for YPFP Brussels.

“The programme is unique in Brussels, and we’re very pleased that NATO and particularly Ambassador Grabar have supported this initiative,” she adds.

Reaching the successor generation

Engaging with those who could be shaping the global security agenda tomorrow is an important part of NATO’s public diplomacy agenda today. Each year the Alliance sponsors and organises a range of events and programmes to speak with and listen to young people all over the world.

"Reaching out to the successor generation is incredibly important for NATO. We do not operate in a vacuum, whether that is in global security or in the way we discuss ideas and debate policy,” adds Ambassador Grabar.

”It is crucial to the success of this Alliance that the next generation of leaders are well informed and knowledgeable, because in the years to come they will be the ones leading it,” she says.