Business English Negotiation Lessons

All English for negotiations lessons. Learn Business English negotiation skills with lessons on all aspects of negotiating in English in business.

Our Negotiation English lessons are listed below by published date, with the newest lessons first.

BEP 358 – English for Purchasing 4: Negotiating Terms

Business English BEP 358 - Purchasing 4: Negotiating Price and Terms

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for purchasing and negotiating price and terms.

We’ve talked a lot about how important it is to find the right vendor. They can make or break your business. That’s why we put so much work into meeting, interviewing, screening, and qualifying potential vendors. But once you’ve found the right vendor, you still need to actually make a deal. Specifically, you need to agree on price and terms.

To set yourself up for success, it’s a good idea to do some research and preparation. If you know what things should cost, and you know what you need from a deal, and you can anticipate what the vendor needs, then you’ll be in a good position to negotiate.

In your discussion, you’ll likely make price comparisons in your efforts to get a deal. You’ll have to propose terms to the vendor, and show consideration for their position in the negotiation. Because things like delivery and quality are so important, you’ll also want to discuss penalties. And, like any negotiation, at some point you’ll probably suggest a compromise. With these skills, you should be able to get a price and terms that work for you.

In today’s business English conversation, we’ll hear Adam, a purchasing manager who works for a company that makes fitness equipment called XFit. He’s been talking with Jenny, a sales rep for a manufacturer that can make pulleys for XFit’s equipment. XFit has chosen Jenny’s company as a vendor, so Adam now has to negotiate the price and terms.

Listening Questions

1. What is the first issue that Adam brings up in the negotiation?
2. What does Adam first propose for delivery terms?
3. What is Adam willing to agree to if Jenny agrees to his suggestion about penalties?

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BEP 348 – English for Purchasing 1: Sourcing Suppliers

BEP 348 - English for Purchasing 1: Sourcing Suppliers

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for purchasing and sourcing suppliers.

Every company is in the business of selling something. But you can’t be a seller of goods or services without also being a buyer of goods and services. All companies require professional services, equipment, and supplies in order to function. And if they sell goods, they also need the raw materials and parts to build those goods.

Buying all these goods and services is called purchasing. Purchasing managers work hard to find the right products and suppliers, and to negotiate good prices. Bad purchasing decisions can impact profit margins, efficiency, and quality. Good decisions can make a company a lot more competitive and profitable. While purchasing managers can find suppliers in a variety of ways, one common way is looking for suppliers at trade shows.

And what kinds of questions do purchasing managers need to ask when talking with potential suppliers at a trade show? Well, for starters, you can begin the conversation by commenting on display products. Next, you can ask about their experience, their capabilities, and their turnaround time. And finally, you’ll also want to ask about their company’s business priorities. After all, a regular supplier functions a bit like a business partner, and you want a good overall match.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Adam, a purchasing manager who works for xFit, a company that makes fitness equipment. Adam’s at a trade show looking for a new supplier for an important part for one of their fitness machines. He’s talking with Jenny, who is representing a Vietnamese manufacturer. Adam is trying to find out if Jenny’s company is a good fit.

Listening Questions

1. What does Adam comment on to begin the conversation?
2. What does Adam suggest might cause challenges for a company in Vietnam?
3. After Jenny talks about tariffs, what specific issue does Adam ask about?

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BEP 328 – Project Management English 8: Negotiating Solutions

BEP-328-Project-Management-English-Lesson-8

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on negotiating solutions during a project.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every project went exactly as planned? But that’s simply not realistic. Projects are just as diverse as the people involved. And every project runs into hurdles, challenges, or even major breakdowns. Good planning can help avoid some of these issues, but it’s more than likely that you’ll need to use your problem-solving skills at some point.

Some of these problems might be with your project team. But others could involve the client. In many cases, this means something comes up mid-project that neither of you anticipated. Lack of information, timeline issues, scope changes – there are a thousand different issues that might come up that will test your project management skills.

Solving these kinds of problems will require more than just basic project management English. For starters, you may need to explain different options to the client. But you’ll need to be careful to avoid liability when you can, and you might also need to resist committing to a timeline. These are important aspects of English for negotiating a solution.

And that word “solution” is the key. Your goal is to get to a solution that you can both agree to so that the project can still meet its original goals. And just like in any negotiation, that will probably involve proposing a compromise. Of course, agreements should be put in writing, so you’ll have to document any solutions you agree on.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Jill, a project manager with a software developer. They’ve been building a new system for a logistics company. Jill is talking with the Liam, the IT manager for the client, about a problem that has come up near the end of their project. Jill needs to negotiate a good solution to the problem.

Listening Questions

1. What are the options Jill lays out at the start of the meeting?
2. When Liam asks about how long it will take, how does Jill respond?
3. What is the compromise solution that Jill suggests?

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BEP 278 – English Idioms for Negotiations (Part 2)

BEP 278 English Idioms for Negotiations 2

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English idioms for discussing negotiations.

Making deals and coming to an agreement can be tricky business. We give, and we take. We win a little, and we lose a little. And both sides hope that they can get more than they need to give up. This is the tough competition known as negotiation, a competition that puts the drama in the world of business.

And like any kind of drama or competition, we love to talk about it. Who won and who lost? Who got what? How much did they pay? And just how did they get such a good deal? In English, we have lots of idioms to talk about negotiations. Today we’re going to take a closer look at some of these idioms and how to use them.

We’re going to rejoin a conversation between two colleagues, Jose and Neil. Neil has been talking about a tough negotiation he’s been going through with a company from Singapore.

Listening Quiz

1. How does Neil say he’s going to respond to the other company’s demands on payment terms?
2. According to Jose, why might the other side be negotiating with another firm besides Neil’s company?
3. What is Neil’s biggest fear?

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BEP 277 – English Idioms for Negotiations (Part 1)

BEP 277 - English Idioms for discussing Negotiations 1

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on idioms related to negotiations.

Negotiation is at the heart of business. We negotiate salaries, partnerships, prices, terms, timelines, business deals, and pretty much everything, in fact! And to do this, we discuss, we persuade, and we make trade-offs all in the name of closing the deal.

Yes, almost everything in business is a kind of negotiation, a push and pull in which we try to get what we want. And it should come as no surprise that in English we have a lot of different idioms for talking about negotiations. Today we’ll look at some of these idioms and how to use them.

You will hear a conversation between two colleagues, Jose and Neil. They are talking about some negotiations they’ve been involved in recently. In particular, Neil has been experiencing some challenges in a negotiation with a company from Singapore.

Listening Questions

1. What surprising demand does Neil say the other company made early on?
2. After explaining his own experience with a Brazilian company, what does Jose suggest Neil try?
3. What does Neil think he might have to do instead of doing what Jose suggests?

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