Some on the path of negotiation limit themselves to the use of direct force and a one-dimensional style. In my experience, more often than not, it ends up in a sub-optimal outcome.

The more enlightened negotiator values having a range of flexible approaches that they can proactively adapt and shape according to the other party’s approach. Such is the metaphor I have heard used amongst accomplished negotiators in referring to these exchanges as, ‘verbal Jiu-jitsu.’

As an exponent of both arts, I can readily appreciate the wisdom and parallels in this analogy, particularly when the ‘other’ may appear to be so much more formidable and stronger. For the philosophy of Jiu-jitsu is not so much as to strike and block, but to absorb, measure and in that learning, re-direct to better effect.

Great negotiators replicate this discipline by not only seeking to understand the others’ moves, but test and explore the drivers behind them, artfully identifying key facets that can then be harnessed and re-crafted to move the whole action in a more positive direction as opposed to deadlock and uncertainty.

So, whether you are a young ‘Padowan’ or a seasoned ‘Jedi’ and are looking to progress your negotiation skills to the next ‘grade’, CEDR can help.

CEDR offers a wide range of tailored packages, whether it be our flagship Advanced Negotiation Course or our new modular programme in 'Skills for Life' - master active listening, managing emotion, how to have that difficult conversation and be an agent of influence.

Philip Williams is a former Director of Hostage Negotiation for the Met Police and one of our lead negotiation trainers. He brings his experience of negotiation in global crises to the world of business and works with leaders globally to help them advance their skills and capability. 

For more information, please contact me at or visit our website for more information