“Negotiation, in the classic diplomatic sense, assumes parties more anxious to agree than to disagree” – Dean Acheson, US Secretary of State 1949 to 1953

Many work-place discussions involve an element of negotiation, even if it is only about who is going to fetch the coffees! For some people, such as those working in sales or in the legal profession, negotiations play an essential part of their daily business. In order to be successful when negotiating you need good interpersonal skills, which is largely down to how you use language, whether that is for listening or speaking. When taking part in negotiations in English, it is also important to have a broad enough vocabulary to fully comprehend what is being said to you, including the nuance of a particular phrase or idiom. What is more, particularly if negotiating with native speakers, it is useful to have some insight into how intonation is used to indicate mood.

Sessions on Negotiations will focus on broadening vocabulary and developing and practising typical phrases and idioms used in English-speaking negotiations. In addition, techniques for adopting a less-direct way of expressing your position could be explored, something essential for successful negotiations with certain cultures. Time could also be spent on reviewing related grammatical constructions, such as how to put forward hypothetical proposals, e.g. “what would you say if we offered you …”.

Confidence-building practical activities such as role-play and discussion will also be included.

It is also possible to take a one- or two-day workshop, tailored to the needs of both experienced and inexperienced speakers. Typical course content would focus on defining and practising phrases for effective communication at different stages of a negotiation. This could include, where necessary, a grammar review of conditional (if) sentences and attention to intonation and pronunciation:

Attention points:

  • small talk and building rapport
  • asking for and giving clarification
  • handling difficult situations
  • active listening
  • softening your message
  • compromising
  • being assertive
  • problem solving
  • coming to a decision