Another day, another cabinet minister giving terrible negotiation advice whilst talking about Brexit.  Here, Jeremy Hunt, the new Foreign Secretary has told the EU that it needs to change its approach or risk a "no deal" Brexit.  There's an implied bit here of course - "a change of approach" means "start agreeing with us."

The problem is, this doesn't work.  As many of us have learnt to our detriment, you can't change someone else. Rather, the only person you can change is yourself.  

Hunt and the government need to remember that essentially negotiation is persuasion.  The easiest way to persuade someone is to get them to agree through choice, not force them into agreement.  Here, the best solution would be for the UK to recognise the EU's interests (and how they state them), explore more, and then re-offer based on this understanding.  This is the most likely way of getting an agreement that the UK wants.

As always, change yourself first to change others' behaviour.

Frederick Way is a negotiation consultant, responsible for CEDR's flagship negotiation training, Advanced Negotiation Skills. To speak to Frederick about CEDR's negotiation training contact