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3 Crucial Business Negotiation Strategies in Plain English

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:53 AM

business negotiation strategies in EnglishNext up in our series on negotiating, we will learn about strategies that work and how to put those strategies into English words and phrases.

So far this week, we learned 7 ways to gather information for your negotiation and how to negotiate with Americans...and win!  If you missed those, you better check them out!

In today's article, we have three business negotiation strategies and how to say them in English.

Why should you learn these strategies? They are based on research on human behavior and they will increase your chances of getting a good outcome. I can't think of a better reason!

However, strategies are useless unless you choose the right words and phrases to make them effective!

That is how we are going to help you today.

Read on to get business negotiation strategies and learn how to make them work....using English.


Like it so far? Great! Let your friends know!


1) "Highlight potential losses rather than potential gains"


 highlight potential losses in negotiations in EnglishMalhotra and Bazerman, in their famous book, Negotiation Genius, recommend that you let your opponent know exactly what they will lose if you can't make a deal together. 

Tell them what they will miss.

Show them how they will be at risk if you can't work together to reach an agreement.

Be careful! Don't use this strategy too much.

It might be hard to maintain a good relationship with your opponent if you do.

And remember, negotiating is about building a relationship!


Say it in English!


  • "You don't want to lose the opportunity to capture this share of the market by not moving forward with this product."
  • "If we can't come to an agreement, you might miss out on______."
  • "I think I should receive the promotion so that the company doesn't pass up the opportunity to leverage my unique skills during this tough economy. I am considering positions at other companies as well."



2) Justify your request


 negotiation in English justify your requestsIf you provide a reason for your request, you will have a better chance of getting what you want.

People want to help. If they know why something is important for you, they will be more likely to make it happen.

Don't be afraid to show that you are human and express your needs.

People respond to that!


 Say it in English!


  • "I believe that I should get an extra week of vacation because I have worked at this company for the past 3 years and I would like to return to Japan to see my family this summer."
  • "I am asking for a 10% increase in my commission rate. The reason is that I have the highest success rate in sales this year."



3) Use social proof:


How do other people feel about your offer? calender with colors

When you are communicating your point or trying to show your opponent that your offer is valuable, you need to show him or her that others also think it's valuable.

This strategy can be used when you negotiate for a salary, when you negotiate for a contract as a consultant, sell a product or even when you apply for a place in a graduate school class.

Always be honest in your negotiation! 

However, if you are good, don't be afraid to show them!


Say it in English!


  • "My schedule is tight with other clients. I'm only available on the 12th and 21st of this month. Would either of those dates work for you?"
  • "In the past, our company has rolled out solutions for name of company. I am confident that we can provide a product of similar quality for your company."
  • "We have a lot on our plate right now, but we might be able to squeeze in a time to talk on Monday at 5pm. What do you think?"
  • "In addition to your institution, I am looking into some other business schools including Harvard, Yale and Stanford."


That's the end of our "negotiating in English" series


Did you miss any articles?


 Check out these articles to get the full series:


Would you like to keep in touch to get more information about business English? Please stay in touch on Twitter!




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Photo credit: gochie, quinn.anya,Tax Credit, JonathanCohen

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

Topics: English Lessons, Vocabulary Workshop, Business English Vocabulary

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