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Negotiations in English

One of the most important skills anyone can hold in daily life is the ability to negotiate. In general terms, a negotiation is a resolution of conflict. We enter negotiations in order to start or continue a relationship and resolve an issue. Even before we accept our first jobs, or begin our careers, we all learn how to negotiate. For one person it begins with the negotiation of an allowance with a parent. For another it involves negotiating a television schedule with a sibling. Some people are naturally stronger negotiators, and are capable of getting their needs met more easily than others. Without the ability to negotiate, people break off relationships, quit jobs, or deliberately avoid conflict and uncomfortable situations.

In the world of business, negotiating skills are used for a variety of reasons, such as to negotiate a salary or a promotion, to secure a sale, or to form a new partnership. Here are a few examples of different types of negotiations in the business world:

  • Manager and Clerk: Negotiating a promotion
  • Employer and Potential Employee: Negotiating job benefits
  • Business Partner A and B: Making decisions about investments
  • Company A and Company B: Negotiating a merger
  • Customer and Client: Making a Sale

The Art of Negotiating

Negotiating is often referred to as an "art". While some people may be naturally more skillful as negotiators, everyone can learn to negotiate. And, as they often say in business, everything is negotiable. Some techniques and skills that aid people in the negotiating process include:

  • Aiming high
  • Visualizing the end results
  • Treating one's opponent with respect and honesty
  • Preparing ahead of time
  • Exhibiting confidence

Throughout this lesson, we will review important techniques and skills to learn before negotiating. We will also examine certain tactics your opponents may use at the negotiating table. These pages are designed to prepare you for for negotiating in English in the business world, but they will also help you achieve your goals in everyday life.

Case Study

For the purpose of this lesson, we will follow the negotiations taking place at a fictional company called Landscape Labourers. Markus, a landscaper who has been with this company for five years, believes he is underpaid. He also thinks he deserves more seniority over his crew members. Markus's manager, Louis is also the owner of Landscape Labourers. Though Louis values Markus more than any of his other labourers, he isn't sure that he can afford to pay him more, especially at this time of year when work is unsteady.

Read through the lesson and find out how Markus prepares his case and presents it to management, and how the two parties negotiate and achieve their goals.

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