Transferable Skills of Aid Workers 4 – Negotiating

Unfortunately, colleagues from Humanitarian Aid are often unsure whether they can also use their experience and skills in other sectors. Of course, they can!

This series highlights some of the transferrable skills of humanitarian workers and how those skills translate to working life in other industries. Because all of these are skills that managers also need in other professional fields.

The fourth part of our ten-part series is about the transferrable skill of negotiation.

Negotiation is the ability to recognize conflict, de-escalate the situation and find win-win solutions. It’s a skill you constantly demonstrate as a humanitarian worker.

You have proven in difficult situations that diplomacy and negotiation skills are transferrable skills that you can really shine with.

With courage and assertiveness you have negotiated a multitude of adversities, where a single wrong step can have serious consequences not only for the people and places affected, but also for you and your colleagues* as helpers.

You have managed to motivate unwilling colleagues to take part, to initiate helpful cooperations with other organizations, to negotiate agreements with corrupt security forces, to enforce better delivery conditions with greedy traders or to convince disgruntled people in need of your plans.

A senior colleague once told me, half-jokingly, “If you can negotiate in humanitarian aid, you can negotiate anything.” And she’s right!

The process of negotiation is universal, and this transferrable skill will lead you to success in other areas outside of humanitarian aid.


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