English for Successful Business Negotiations


Moving up to a new job or working on a corporate merger, negotiations run all through business, and Executive English takes you through all phases of negotiating. Discussions here include international negotiating styles, the importance of relationship building, bargaining styles and outcome expectations. In this Unit, clients learn to speak the English of negotiating:

  • Plan strategies
  • Identify positions and interests – and know the difference
  • Develop a Plan B: options and alternatives
  • Learn what to say, when to be silent – and when to walk away

In lively simulations and role-plays, clients learn to confidently develop winning solutions for all, in English.

Business English Negotiations


While business negotiations cover a range of issues, the stages and principles are the same regardless of what is being negotiated. Negotiation consists of three main phases:




3-Analysis of the results and implementation


1.    Preparation for negotiation

The outcome of a future negotiation depends on the preparation beforehand "Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail". First of all, formulate clear aims and prepare a strategy: What do you expect to achieve? Why is it useful to cooperate with a partner? What are your company's strengths and weaknesses? What arguments will you rely on? What are the possible options for alternative proposals?


Collect information about the person you will be negotiating with: the scope of business, the financial position and credibility, professional experience, negotiating expertise, authority to sign contract.


Try to predict: what are the aims of the person with whom you will be negotiating? Is he or she interested in cooperation? What are your common aims and how do they differ? Which proposals may be unacceptable? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the person you will be negotiating with?

Prepare documentation and reference material that will be needed during the negotiations. Think in detail about organizational and technical issues of the coming negotiations. Keep in mind that there are no minor or insignificant details when signing the contract or other type of agreement.


2.   Proceeding negotiations

First impressions count, so you should take this into account so that both sides are able to exchange information freely and to express openly their views on the expected outcomes and criteria of success at the beginning of negotiations.


When the participant in the negotiations reveals his or her own position and submits a proposal it should be discussed in detail, even if the proposal appears to be inappropriate. It is inappropriate to provide the counterproposal immediately. The original proposal should be compared to your expectations so that you may weigh up the pros and cons of what is being offered to you. The benefits and the limits of the compromises are clarified.


Experienced negotiators, in order to find out all possible alternatives to the proposal, set a number of difficult questions. Questioning can buy you more time to think and consider the proposal; moreover, you can make sure that all the negotiators were equally aware of the issues outlined.

While observing verbal and nonverbal (gestures, facial expressions)

signs the changes of a negotiating position can be seen.

In order to reach an agreement, the requirements can be reduced or pre-planned promotions and other compromises can be offered.

If during the debates there will be an attempt to increase the requirements, the negotiations will not be successful.


Before entering into a contract or reaching other conclusions it is helpful to summarize the discussion or offer a break. The participants of the negotiations could discuss the proposal and make a decision. When the agreement on the decision is made it remains to make sure that everyone understands it in the same way.


3.    Concluding negotiations

After negotiations, it is advisable to reflect on what factors led to the outcome, what difficulties arose in negotiating, what were the reasons that influenced the difficulties. It is important to identify the work and results related to the negotiated resolutions and outcomes.

How to Lead a Business Meeting in English:

Prepare for your next meeting in English

Learn 10 important English phrases 

Find out how to open and close a meeting

Get phrases to use to transition to the new meeting topic




When planning a meeting, be sure that at the chosen time there are no public holidays or other important events in the country you plan to visit for your meeting that could jeopardize your plans.


Business meetings should be organized with great care.

  • Meeting arrangements must be made well in advance: if organizing by phone, fax or e-mail allow two or three weeks prior to the meeting date,
  • If organizing by regular post allows at least one month beforehand.
  • It is not advisable to plan visits in July, August, and December, also on Friday afternoons or days just before holidays.
  • Make sure that every person whom you intended to meet knows about your arrival.


It is very important to arrive at the meeting on time.

  • In many countries, punctuality is highly valued both in business and everyday life.
  • Being on time really means that you have to arrive 5-10 minutes earlier. Delay is treated as a person's unreliability.
  • The most appropriate time for meetings is between 10 am and 1 pm.
  • If the meeting is planned in the afternoon, ideally, it should be started no later than 3 pm.
  • Collect some information about the country you are visiting and the people you are planning to meet with.
  • Find out the social, economic and political situation of the country you are going to visit. 
  • However, it would be polite to keep a categorical opinion on the country's policies for yourself.
  • Learn about the country’s culture, art, architecture, local traditions, and a few polite words in the local language.
  • This can make your trip more interesting, as well as making a good impression on the people you are meeting that you have taken the time to learn some of their customs.
  • Write down the names (and the pronunciation) of the future meeting’s participants, their professional and academic titles. You may hire an interpreter if you cannot speak a local language.
  • Production samples, catalogs, and other materials should be sent by mail before the meeting.
  • Brochures, leaflets and other promotional material should be of high quality and should contain professional content.

You should avoid fancy visual aids, illustrations, and pompous advertising slogans.

  • The presentation of products should be supplied with price lists and detailed technical characteristics.
  • Most importantly, the product has to be fully compatible with the description contained in the brochure. English, French, German and Spanish is the most commonly used languages when people of different nationalities are brought together to talk.
  •   Ensure that all participants agree to a common language before commencing a meeting.


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