Negotiation Skills online course

Negotiation Skills online course

We negotiate all the time in both personal and professional capacities. To improve the outcomes and achieve our goals, it is vital to reflect on the process of negotiation and develop appropriate negotiation skills.

This practical, interactive course equips participants with the skills to successfully prepare, undertake, and conclude negotiations in formal and informal settings with government and non-government actors. The first two weeks set the stage by introducing the concept and principles of negotiation. The following two weeks go into greater detail regarding key skills supported by case studies and practical learning activities. The final two weeks of the course put these skills to practice in an online simulation exercise. Participants in this course will receive individual feedback and guidance from the course facilitator to help them develop their knowledge and skills. 

Rather than going into the theoretical considerations of negotiation such as game theory or group decision-making theory, the course focuses on key skills that are valuable for a variety of negotiations.

The course also addresses questions around conducting negotiations online. With the spread of COVID-19, many negotiations had to move from the physical to the virtual world and in the process a plethora of additional considerations and challenges emerged. We address these in the course and as part of the online simulation exercise, which will include the use of various tools for online negotiation.

This course is relevant for diplomats, staff of international organisations, and also people working in fields of non-traditional diplomacy, such as education diplomacy, health diplomacy, Internet Governance, humanitarian diplomacy, and development diplomacy, which require the use of diplomatic skills to build bridges across sectors, diverse actors, and borders.

What will you learn?

  • Relate key negotiations skills and principles to their field of work.
  • Describe the main stages of negotiation and the principles of successful negotiation, drawing on key literature on the subject.
  • Explain the specific characteristics of principled negotiation.
  • Improve skills related to the negotiation process such as problem analysis, reflection, intercultural communication, and intellectual flexibility.
  • Suggest ways to deal with power imbalances in a negotiation situation.
  • Understand the importance of empathy in negotiations.
  • Explain and assess the possible influences of intercultural communication on negotiation situations.
  • Describe various negotiation strategies, including framing and making concessions, and suggest how to make effective use of these in specific situations.
  • Define their negotiation position by carefully analysing their interests, describing their ideal negotiated outcome, and defining their Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA).
  • Understand how to facilitate compromise and find creative solutions for situations in which negotiation positions appear to be locked.
  • Achieve negotiated outcomes through mutual gain, conflict resolution, and consensus building.
  • Have greater awareness of their own negotiation style and their reactions to opposing positions and interests.

How will you learn?

In this course you will interact intensively in discussions with classmates and lecturers from around the world. You will receive guidance, and personalised feedback on your classwork, from the course team.

How long will you learn?

The course lasts for 8 weeks:

  • 1 week of course introduction and orientation to online learning
  • 6 weeks of addressing the course topics one by one (see below for more details)
  • 1 week for final assignment (written reflections - up to 1000 words)

Who should apply

The course is aimed at participants from government and non-government sectors engaged or interested in various fields of diplomacy. Applications from relevant government ministries, the business sector, and civil society will be welcome.

The following groups may find the course particularly relevant:

  • Diplomats
  • Officials from relevant government ministries
  • Staff of international organisations and NGOs, civil society, and the private sector working on or interested in relevant issues including education, Internet governance, health, humanitarian issues, etc.
  • Graduate students interested in international affairs, international development, education, human rights, and other relevant issues
  • Other stakeholders interested in learning about international issues that require the workings of non-traditional forms of diplomacy


The course consists of 8 modules:

Module 1. Course introduction and orientation to online learning; assessment of individual experience in negotiation activities.

Module 2. Basics I: Types and stages of negotiation

Module 3. Basics II: The role of power and empathy in negotiation

Module 4. Key skills I: Language, creativity, and navigating the space between ‘yes’ and ‘no’

Module 5. Key skills II: Framing, managing processes, concessions, packaging, follow-up

Modules 6 and 7. Simulation exercise

Module 8. Final assignment (written reflections - up to 1000 words)


The Negotiation Skills online course is based on a collaborative learning approach, involving a high level of interaction over a period of 8 weeks. Reading materials and the necessary tools for online interaction are provided in a virtual classroom. Course materials present the theory and principles of negotiation, using illustrative examples and small case studies. Each week,  during weeks 2 to 5, participants study and discuss course materials and complete additional online activities, some of which involve working on pairs or small groups. Weeks 6 and 7 of the course are dedicated to an interactive simulation exercise, providing participants with the opportunity to put course learning into practice.

At the end of the week, participants and lecturers meet to discuss the topic of the week. To complete the course successfully, this course requires a minimum of 5 to 7 hours of study time per week. Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate issued by Diplo which can be printed or shared electronically via a permanent link.


Applicants for this course must have:

  • An undergraduate university degree OR three years of work experience.
  • Sufficient English language skills to undertake postgraduate level studies.
  • regular internet access; dial-up connections are sufficient, broadband is preferable.

Fees and scholarships

The course fee is €700 per participant, due upon acceptance into the course.

Note: Diplo alumni can benefit from a 15% discount on the fee for this course.

A limited number of partial scholarships are available for diplomats and others working in international relations from developing countries. Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution.

How to apply

Fill out the short form to start your application process for this course. You will receive an instruction email on how to continue.

Applying for financial assistance? Please indicate this on the application form, upload your CV, and a motivation statement that should include:

  • Details of your relevant professional and educational background.
  • Reasons for your interest in the course.
  • Why do you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course? How will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

Please note that financial assistance from DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries! 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available in the course.

Cancellation policy

Diplo reserves the right to cancel this course if enrolment is insufficient. In case of cancellation, Diplo will notify applicants shortly after the application deadline. Applicants who have paid an application fee may apply this fee towards another course or receive a refund.