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Negotiating in English | 7 Ways to Gather Information

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 @ 07:53 AM

negotiating in EnglishAre you good at negotiating?

How about negotiating in English?

Many people feel intimidated when they have to participate in a negotiation but it doesn't have to be that scary.

This week we have a series of articles to help you develop the skills you need to successfully negotiate as a professional in the United States.

It is not just your English skills that will get you to a successful agreement in your negotiation. It is also crucial to know how negotiation styles in your culture might be different from negotiation styles of American people. That's coming up in the next article, later this week!

So our negotiation is scheduled for next week. Where do we start? We start with preparation of course! In today's article, we will talk about what you need to find out before you enter your negotiation and you wil learn the right vocabulary words to get the information you need!


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Success starts with good preparation


It's all about preparation, seriously. 

If you are prepared for your negotiation with not only the correct phrases in English but also a good sense of your needs and the needs of the other party, you will have a much better chance of success.


5 things that you need to investigate


5 things English learners should consider when they do English negotiationsMalhotra and Bazerman, from Harvard Business Schoool, wrote a book called Negotiation Genius.

If you haven't read it, go get it right now! It's a very useful read and their ideas will help you change the way you think about negotiating.

Here are five things that Malhotra and Bazerman say you should consider before you go into your negotiation:

  • What are your issues and interests? What's important to you? What could you live without having or getting? What are your priorities? Do you need to reach an agreement right away? Do you have time on your side or are you in a rush to make an agreement quickly?
  • What matters to your opponent? What might he or she be willing to give up? What will he not be flexible about? Could your opponent be more concerned about losing face (becoming embarrassed or ashamed) than you?
  •  Where can you create value? What areas could be less important for you and more important for your opponent? How can you use that knowledge to create value in the final deal?
  • What is your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA)? Always remember your BATNA! What will you do if you aren't able to reach an agreement? What is your back-up plan? 
  • What is your aspiration point? What is your goal for the negotiation or the best case scenario? What kind of agreement would you like to reach? What are you striving for?



How can you get all of that information? With the correct questions of course!


 how to ask indirect questions for negotiation in EnglishAgain, preparation is key.

You need to have a good understanding of all of the points above to perform well in your negotiation. How can you learn about those points?

Ask the right questions to anyone and everyone who can give you that information!

Sometimes you might even have to ask the person who will be your opponent in the negotiation!

For that reason, be careful how you ask.

If you are indirect and open-ended in your questions, you will probably have more success. Here are 7 ways to ask indirect questions to gather information for your negotiation:



7 indirect questions to gather information


  1. indirect questions in English"I'm curious about_____. Can you fill me in?"
  2. "Tell me about________."
  3. "Would you mind letting me know_______?"
  4. "I'm wondering if I could ask___________."
  5. "I'd like to know more about___________."
  6. "May I ask about _________?"
  7. "Would it be ok if I asked_________."


Be sure to keep an eye out for our next article in this negotiation series!

We will teach you how to negotiate with American people and why it's important to understand cultural differences when you negotiate!


Did you find this article helpful? If so, please "like" it on Facebook so that your friends can read it too! Thanks a lot.


Want to stay in touch and get more lessons like this one? Click on the button below to get on our list!


free video lesson 7 simple secrets to connection in English




Photo credits: oberazzi, @Doug88888, acjeppo

Source: Malhotra and Bazerman. Negotiation Genius. Harvard Business School Press, 2007. Print.

Topics: English Lessons, Cultural Competence, Business English Vocabulary

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