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International negotiation skills in Government were once a necessity only for Foreign Affairs and Trade Departments.  In the modern world, officials from all Government Departments find themselves negotiating internationally, whether in multilateral organisations such as the EU, WTO and UN bodies or bilaterally with other countries and organisations. 

CPDS has responded to this requirement – which has been particularly acute in the UK in the years following its decision to leave the European Union – by developing a comprehensive suite of interactive training courses designed to improve civil servants’ international negotiating skills. 

The suite provides training for:

  • officials who will be primarily engaged in bilateral negotiations (1½ days)
  • officials primarily engaged in multilateral negotiations (1½ days)
  • Officials expecting to be engaged in both bilateral and multilateral negotiations (2 days)
  • Officials in policy teams supporting negotiators (1 day)

The courses are all delivered by course directors who have themselves extensive international negotiation experience.  They focus on providing knowledge, skills and self-confidence in a range of contexts.  They do this via a combination of seminars on styles, techniques and principles of successful negotiation and influencing; realistic and up to date simulation exercises; and feedback both from peers and from the course directors.  The “supporting negotiators” course addresses the challenges facing policy teams in supporting and briefing Lead negotiators who may have a wide range of competing objectives to pursue.
Originally designed to be delivered face to face, the courses have since March 2020 been delivered online, using all the capabilities of MS Teams and similar technology to ensure a fully interactive experience.  It is likely that, for the future, international negotiations will be held both online and face to face.  Our model enables the course to provide real-life experience of both.  We are delighted to have delivered these courses to so many participants over recent years, as we are with the consistently positive feedback we receive.

” I attended your Negotiation Skills training course this week and wanted to send a short message to let you know much I enjoyed it and, perhaps more importantly, felt that I left with tangible, practical skills, which I know will have a positive impact on my job. Both of you are wealth of knowledge and were able to impart that knowledge in a very accessible way. I thought it was a good mix of theory and practice — often these kinds of courses don’t allow you to test your learning in a practical way, so I personally found the simulations invaluable. Thank you too for adopting such an encouraging approach with your feedback and suggestions.”

L.S., Department of International Trade of UK
Course name: Negotiation Skills, March 2021

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