How to Negotiate in English

Negotiating is an essential part of business in any language. Whether it’s negotiating with suppliers or clients, skilled negotiators get the result they want while keeping the other party happy, too. Follow these tips to get what you want and keep everyone happy when negotiating in English.

Start on a positive

If there is a tense atmosphere at the beginning of the negotiations, reduce the tension by clearly stating the positive goals that everyone wants to achieve from the negotiations. For example, if you are negotiating a price, you could say “Our aim today is to find a fair price that suits both parties.”

Don’t be confrontational

If you think the other party is trying to trick you, don’t confront them aggressively – that will just make them defensive and even more difficult to deal with. Instead, approach the issue in a more dignified way. For example, if you feel that you are being lied to or deceived, you could say, “I’ve come to trust you completely, but on this issue I sense some holding back.” This will give the other party a chance to tell the truth without needing to admit that they were lying.

Use effective questioning

Communication is a two-way activity. To reach an agreement in your negotiation, you need to know what the other side wants. Asking open-ended questions early on will give both sides an opportunity to gather this information. For example, you could ask, “What are you hoping to achieve today?” Then you can adjust your argument to explain a solution that meets the expectations of both sides.

Recover from offending someone

Causing offense will happen at certain stages of the negotiation process, so it’s important to know how to recover from such incidents. One way to do so is to take the offensive comment and put it in a positive light. For example, “If I seemed sharp a few moments ago, be assured that it was only due to my determination to make this work.”

Show humility

Nobody is right all the time. Even if you think the other party is wrong, show humility and respect to the people you are negotiating with. Do not pretend to have all the answers, and openly allow them to take control of some issues. For example, “That’s more your area of expertise than mine, so I’d like to hear more.” By keeping an open mind, you are more likely to reach an agreement that suits both sides.

Don’t make the same mistake twice

Sometimes, negotiations break down due to anger, resentment or simple unwillingness to listen. If this happens, admitting mistakes and showing that you are still willing to proceed will help the negotiations regain a more civil atmosphere. For example, you could say, “What happened last week was unacceptable as it was unintentional. Shall we move on?” It’s not enough just to start negotiating, though. Before you continue the negotiations, make sure to work out why they broke down and what you can do to prevent a similar thing from happening again in the future.

By following the tips above, you can become a successful negotiator. Negotiating can be a long process, though, so remember to stay positive and keep your goals in mind to make sure your negotiations are successful.

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