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  • Guy Johnson

Commodity trading and commercial negotiation: learning technical skills when the stakes are high

There are many professional disciplines that fit into a category I describe as high stakes, technical skill sets. These are areas where there is a broad, deep and complex mix of psychological, behavioural and practical aptitudes which must be mastered to ensure high performance, but where the stakes - that is the upside and downside associated with good or poor performance, can be extremely high.

These types of professional skills are very challenging to develop. Due to their nature, they require exposure to the forces that are present ‘on the job’ in order for the student to gain experience of the mental and practical challenges, hone their technical capability and experience degrees of stress inoculation i.e. increase their ability to make good decisions under the pressure of significant downside exposure.


The problem with the traditional approach of studying the theory, but only learning the practical and technical skills on the job, is that mistakes in areas such as trading and negotiation can be extremely costly to a business. Making an error in the markets or botching a million dollar negotiation can cost a business tens, hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds. This is why, here at BreakPoint Black, we are so focussed on the power recreating real-life professional circumstances in a safe training environment.


It was in the world of commodity trading that the experiential, immersive learning approach used by BreakPoint black was first developed. In designing and developing training environments for commodity traders, the importance of exposing trainees to the sensations, technical obstacles and psychological challenges of the markets became so clear.



BreakPoint Black has combined this understanding of experiential learning design with deep expertise in the field of negotiation to develop The Immersive Program. This life-like, live negotiation scenario training environment allows BreakPoint Black’s clients to develop the technical and behavioural negotiation aptitude which is so critical for the success of their own high stakes negotiations. Our clients learn in an environment of measured pressure and life-like conditions, with the real-life risks associated with failure removed. This we believe, is the best way to develop high performing negotiators… as well as exceptional commodity traders.

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