How to negotiate in English

How to negotiate in English


My name is Gregor and I am originally from Russia. I recently switched jobs and am now a buyer in the purchasing department of a much larger corporation. One of the skills that landed me this new job was my ability to negotiate in English. At this point in my career, handling business negotiations in English is a routine part of the job, but fresh out of university I struggled immensely. Negotiations are a key part of business, and conducting them in a foreign language can put you under a lot of stress. With my tips on how to negotiate in English, your next business negotiation will see an improvement in your skills - and the one after that as well!

One of the first parts of just about every business negotiation is small talk. Asking about your clients plans while in town or making pleasant comments about a client's offices can help set a relaxed tone before the actual negotiations begin. Once the small talk is over, a very useful phrase to segue into the next phase is "let's move on to business."

At this point you'll want to know a few key business words. If you are discussing the specific details of your deal or contract, you are talking about the "terms". The people or companies who enter into the contractual agreement are referred to as the "parties".

When it comes time to negotiate, one side makes an offer and the other responds. Simple wording such as "our offer is 3 million" or "we were thinking 3 million" is often the best approach, particularly if you are still getting a grasp on negotiating in English. If responding, typical phrases include "that is less/more than we were expecting" or "it's a good place to start". If you are not interested in the offer at all, then you can say that it is "out of the question."

You won't always agree to the terms right away, so sometimes you'll need to make suggestions for improvement. "Are you willing to consider" or "what if we alter our plans to include…" are good starting points.

Last but not least, remember to make eye contact and to stay relaxed as well as professional. Also bear in mind that the vocabulary you use for negotiations will grow over time. Simply focus on getting the best deal for all parties involved and the vocabulary will come on its own as you confidently execute business negotiations.

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