Procurement News

Teamwork Trust and Art of negotiation – event at Aston Martin

Last week I was lucky enough to be at an event at ASTON MARTIN LTD, Bristol in the presence of these beautiful cars.  The event “Teamwork Trust and Art of negotiation” was sponsored by Rathbones Group Plc and Freeths LLP.


It was an evening organised by BCMS, the corporate finance company who help small and medium sized companies to actively promote themselves.

The keynote speaker was Suzanne Williams, an experienced hostage negotiator, visiting lecturer at Harvard University, and former head of the Kidnap and Hostage Negotiation units at Scotland Yard!

Although focussed on hostage negotiation, where the stakes are so much higher that in business scenarios, Suzanne shared some great negotiation tips which definitely resonated.

The three top tips I took away were:

  • Negotiate the process

Don’t be beholden to the other side’s demands in terms of timescales, process steps, location etc.  That is equally up for discussion so make sure it works for you.

  • Active listening

If you want to build rapport with people, ensure you are actively listening – not just listening to respond.  Building relationships is a key part to hostage negotiation but also to getting the right outcome in business situations.

  • Once you get to ‘yes’ be ready

Don’t get caught out focussing so much on the process, you forget to think about execution once you have agreement. Again for hostages, speed is definitely of the essence, but you don’t want to lose your advantage in a business negotiation either, because you forgot to plan the ‘how’.

Thank you to the whole team for a great event!

Sarah Walters



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