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Updated: Apr 25, 2023

These materials are designed to help you to prepare for a lesson on: Negotiating in English.

Being able to negotiate is an essential skill in both your personal and business life. Our ability to negotiate well is dependent on us being a skilled speaker, and a good listener and being able to skilfully managing our tone when accepting or rejecting an offer or making counter offers.


  • Firstly, look at the preparation tasks that I have chosen to help you to develop this skill.

  • Then, look at the materials provided to help with your preparation tasks and in terms of your general understanding of this particular skill.

  • Lastly, complete the tasks prior to the lesson*. (Starting by having the student complete a preparation tasks gives me an understanding of the learners ability with this task to effectively ensure and build on their understanding of appropriate language and vocabulary, good use of grammar and clear communicational skills to communicate clearly, confidently and professionally in English).

*If it's not possible to complete the tasks outside of the lesson, then we can do this as part of a lesson. I prefer to give student the option of doing as much work in their own time as possible to be more cost efficient and to maximise learning.


The Preparation Tasks

Your tasks have arrived via email below;

  1. A customer recently got into contact asking for the price of an order of 1,000 units of a certain product and asked whether there would be a discount for a larger order. Our offer is that the cost per unit for orders up to 1,500 is $.25 per unit, and this would be reduced to $.15 per unit for orders over 1,500 and up to 2,500 units.

  2. We intend to buy out a company which owns a large factory, and they have outlined the condition that we continue to employ their existing factory workers at a rate of $15 Euros per hour. Our offer is that they can retain their jobs, but at a rate of $12,50 per hour.

  1. From a recruitment agency: "Thank you for sending myself the offer of employment for my client. You offered a salary of $45,000 per year, however in discussion with my client they will only accept the job if the salary is increased to $60,000 per year" Our position: we can increase the salary to $50,000 per year, but no more. Let them know that we could offer increased working from home, and Private Health Insurance as incentives.

  2. From a customer: "Thank you for the offer. In that case, I would like to place an order of 2,000 units and agree with the unit price of $.15 per unit. However, we would like free delivery". Our position: Free delivery was already part of the deal, so just agree with them, but make it look like they have negotiated a good deal...


The Materials

A brilliant place to start is the article Negotiation Strategies, within this article they highlight that the most common form of negotiation within the workplace is positional bargaining, i.e. negotiating the cost of something or a salary for a position. The article set's out some useful underlying principles for negotiation and factors to consider, such as your perception of a situation, the impact of emotion, the importance of communication and the need to separate the negotiation from the person.

This video below looks at how we negotiate in emails, or in writing in general. Listen to what Chris Voss say's about being brief, managing tone and finishing positively.

The Black Swan Groups Negotiation One Sheet:

The Negotiation One Sheet is a tool meant to help you prepare for any negotiation by thinking through the tactics covered in the book Never Split the Difference. According to Chris Voss, good initial preparation for each negotiation yields at least a 7:1 rate of return on time saved renegotiating deals or clarifying implementation. The Negotiation One Sheet can be downloaded here and makes a brilliant task to prepare for your own negotiation.

Vocabulary: There are several really good collections of negotiational vocabulary; firstly FluentU's 37 Useful Words and Phrases for Business Negotiations in English is wroth looking at, mainly for the section with negotiational phrases. Secondly, this video below from Oxford Online English is worth looking at for more expressions and demonstrations of actually using the language in practice.

Conditional Sentences: It's worth noting that conditional sentences are often essential in negotiating, We might use them to impose certain conditions on a negotiation that are still open suggestions, "if you reduce the price by 2.5% per unit, then we will agree to the deal", (this is the First Conditional) or to outline a certain outcome to a deal even if the other person has already made it clear that they will not agree to it; "If you reduced the price by 3% per unit then we would order twice as much", (This is the Second Conditional).

It is also possible to strengthen our offer using when; "I'm certain that you won't find better offer than our, so when you agree to our offer, then we will make sure you receive the delivery within two days".

How would the meaning of the conditional sentence be changed with the following words instead of if;

  • as soon as you agree to the conditions, we can move forwards.

  • unless you agree to the conditions, we cannot continue with this conversation.

  • on the condition that you agree to the conditions, we will be able to reach an agreement.

  • as long as you agree to the conditions, we can sign the contract now.

  • in case you needed more information, I have prepared a PowerPoint presentation to explain our position in more detail.



Having looked at the materials and completed the preparation tasks, you are ready for the lesson. Send anything you have prepared to me if you would like me to look at it before the lesson -

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