Suzanne Williams QPM

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Hostage and Kidnap Negotiation Expert

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Synopsis

Having served as the most senior ranking officer in the negotiation unit at Scotland Yard, Suzanne has advised foreign and domestic governments, worked with the FBI, and lectured at Harvard and the Said Business School on themes including risk, crisis response, negotiation, security, and trust. Suzanne also applies negotiation strategies to business and politics, looks at the intersection between leadership, communication and performing in stressful environments, and recounts stories from her career, offering a glimpse into the extraordinary and high-pressured life of a hostage negotiator.

Biography

Suzanne Williams is an international hostage and kidnap negotiation expert. She was the most senior ranking officer in the negotiation unit at Scotland Yard, and continues to advise foreign and domestic governments on negotiation strategies and cyber threats. A visiting lecturer at Harvard and Oxford’s Said Business School, she covers everything from crisis response and security, to trust and ethics in negotiation.

Suzanne began her career in the police specialising in kidnappings, sieges, domestic barricades, suicide prevention and bank robberies. During her time as a Scotland Yard detective, she became the first woman to head the Kidnap and Hostage Negotiation Units. Over the course of her career, Suzanne has advised and briefed government ministers, worked with the FBI, and consulted for the international aid sector. She has also worked on the Royal Protection senior management team, where she directed security for major royal events and structured response plans in the event of an incident targetting the Royal Household.

A globally recognised expert on security and cyber threats, Suzanne applies negotiation strategies to business and politics. In recounting stories from her career, she offers a glimpse into the extraordinary and high-pressured life of a hostage negotiator. She discusses communication across cultures, and reveals how negotiation relies on knowing what is attainable and understanding the other party’s objectives. Suzanne looks at the intersection between leadership, communication and performing in stressful environments, and tackles the fragility of trust and ethics in negotiation strategies.

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