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Introduction

Lessons 1 and 2 in this package introduced negotiation and the characteristics of skilled negotiators with video clips in which the parties use informal English in their negotiations because they know each other well.

In business, politics and other situations, however, a more formal tone is expected as parties may not know each other well and they want to make the best possible impression. The negotiators may also represent other parties such as a board of governors, which creates a further need for formality. In these situations, it is important to use formal English.

This lesson will introduce the common early stages of formal negotiation and analyze the language needed to engage in these early stages.


Early and Mid-Stages of Formal Negotiation

Formal business negotiations follow typical stages and it is important to recognize them before learning the language needed for each stage. Complete Task 1 to learn about the early and mid-stages of a business negotiation.

Task 1: Matching. Drag and drop the stages on the right to the appropriate stage number on the left.


Now watch the following video and notice these stages and the formality of the language used.

(Video@ Australia Plus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05uFs8qVCcI - YouTube.com)

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The beginning of this negotiation is typical because it contains the stages that most parties expect to go through when trying to reach a formal agreement.

Task 2: Complete the following summary explanation of the negotiation shown in the video.

  • proposal
  • greet
  • informal
  • titles
  • terms
  • role
  • outcome
  • preferences
  • intentions
  • opening
This video demonstrates that before negotiations begin, it is important for each party to 1)greet the other formally and introduce colleagues’ names and job 2)titles . This helps to avoid confusion and ensure that the 3)role of each person is clear. After introductions, it is customary in many cultures to briefly engage in 4)informal talk to ease tension and add a human element to the meeting. (Making ‘small talk’, however, may not be customary in cultures where starting business quickly is preferred, so it is important to learn the cultural norms and business 5)preferences of each party before commencing negotiations.) Informal small talk usually ends with one party suggesting to ‘get down to business’ then negotiations begin with an 6)opening statement or 7)proposal by the party who requested the meeting. This is often followed by each party stating their basic 8)intentions and expected 9)outcome for the meeting and deeper discussion and clarification of the 10)terms and details of the proposal.

Language Used in the Early and Mid-Stages of Formal Negotiations

Task 3: Matching. Drag and drop the sentences on the right to the appropriate stage on the left.

Task 4: Vocabulary matching. Drag and drop the definitions on the right to the appropriate vocabulary item number on the left.

Alternative Phrases Used in Early and Mid-Stages of Formal Negotiation

Task 5: Write the appropriate number of each stage of negotiation next to the phrases below. (Write only one number for each phrase.)

Early Stages of Negotiation
1. GREETINGS / INTRODUCTIONS
2. MAKING INFORMAL ‘SMALL’ TALK
3. BEGINNING NEGOTIATIONS
4. MAKING OPENING STATEMENTS
5. STATING INTENTIONS/EXPECTED OUTCOMES
6. OUTLINING / CLARIFYING TERMS
1.2  I hope you had a pleasant flight.
2.3  Shall we proceed with the task at hand?
3.4  I’d like to begin by saying…
4.1  I’d like to introduce John, my associate.
5.5  We do not anticipate reaching an agreement today.
6.2  I hope your hotel is comfortable.
7.5  Our main goal is to keep the negotiation open.
8.3  Shall we commence our discussion?
9.4  Let me start off by saying…
10.6  We propose 450 dollars per unit and a 1-year contract.
11.2  Are you enjoying Hong Kong?
12.4  Let us commence by saying…
13.5  We do not intend on making a decision today.
14.1  I’d like to present Mr. David Barstow, our Accounts Executive for National Cement.
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There is a great deal of variety in the language that can be used in different stages of formal negotiations. Complete Task 6 to learn a wider variety of expressions.

Task 6: Complete the chart below by writing the appropriate heading that best describes the language in each column. Choose headings from the following box.

HEADINGS
Delaying
Making Offers and Proposals
Suggesting a Procedure / Plan
Responding to Offers and Proposals
Welcoming / Building Relationships
Expressing Expectations / Setting Limitations

(1)(2)(3)(4) (5) (6)
Welcoming / Building Relationships Suggesting a Procedure / Plan Expressing Expectations / Setting Limitations Making Offers and Proposals Responding to Offers and Proposals Delaying
How was your flight? I’d like to start by suggesting the following agenda.We do not expect to reach an agreement today.There are several options available to us...one is… Your proposal is interesting, but we have a few concerns. We would have to get back to you on it.
On behalf of... I would like to welcome you to... Perhaps we should establish a general procedure. We are here mainly to test the water. Regarding our proposal, our position is... Concerning your proposal, we believe that... We would need to run it past our board first.
I would like to welcome you to… Let’s begin by establishing a framework for this meeting.We see today’s meeting as a way of investigating our options. We are prepared to offer you… With regard to your proposal, we feel that… We would need to consult our colleagues and get back to yu.
It is our pleasure to welcome you to... Let’s begin by agreeing on a procedure for today’s negotiation. We are here today simply to explore our options. Do you think you could consider… The proposal sounds appealing, but we have some concerns we need to discuss. We need to study this and get back to you at a later time.
-Would you care for a beverage before we begin?Shall we start by agreeing on a framework for today’s discussion?We have joined today’s meeting mainly to hear your terms.We suggest / propose…

We can offer you…
As far as your proposal is concerned, we feel that… We don’t have authority to make final decisions, so we’ll need to get back to you.

Vocabulary Practice

Task 7: Study the chart above for 5 minutes then complete the gap fill exercise. Try not to refer to the chart while completing the exercise.

Welcoming / Building Relationships

  1. On behalf of National Cement, we would like to welcome you to Hong Kong.
  2. How was your flight to Hong Kong?
  3. Would you care for a beverage?
  4. It is our pleasureto welcome you to our head office at National Cement.

Suggesting a Procedure / Plan

  1. I’d like to start by suggesting the following agenda.
  2. Shall we get started by agreeing on a framework for today’s discussion?
  3. Perhaps we should establish a general procedure.
  4. Let’s begin by agreeing on a procedure for today’s negotiation.
  5. Let’s begin by establishing a framework for today’s negotiation.

Expressing Expectations / Setting Limitations

  1. We do not expect to reach an agreement in today’s negotiation.
  2. We are here today simply to explore our options.
  3. We are here mainly to test the water.
  4. We see today’s meeting as a means of investigating our options.
  5. We have joined today’s meeting mainly to hear your terms.

Making Offers and Proposals

  1. There are several options available to us...one is…
  2. Do you think you could consider
  3. We can offer you…
  4. We are prepared to offer you…
  5. Regarding our proposal, our position is...

Responding to Offers and Proposals

  1. Your proposal contains several interesting points, although we have a few concerns.
  2. As far as your proposal is concerned, we feel that…
  3. This proposal sounds appealing, although we do have several concerns we need to discuss.

Delaying

  1. We would need to run it past our board first.
  2. We do not have the authority to decide by ourselves, so we will need to get back to you on this.
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Tip!

It is wise to keep a notebook of the phrases that you feel comfortable using and to practise saying them as much as possible so that when you negotiate for real you will appear confident and speak smoothly.


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A Closer Look at the Language of Introductions

When people introduce themselves, they often omit words which are already understood by everyone. This may occur even in formal situations and negotiations.

Task 8: Fill in the blanks with the words from the box below that were omitted by each speaker.

  • We are just
  • this is
  • I am
  • I am the
  • My name is
Which words were omitted by the speakers because they were understood?
  1. Lin: Hello. My name is Lin Chan.
  2. Lin: I am the Sales Manager for National Sugar.
  3. Lin: And this is my associate, John Martin.
  4. Victor: I am very pleased to meet you.
  5. Victor: We are just testing the water you might say.
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Showing Confidence and Respect

As discussed in Lesson 2, two qualities of skilled negotiators are being confident and showing respect and understanding for the position of the other party/parties.


Task 9i: Which two sentences from the video show confidence? Check the box next to two sentences.

No.Sentences from negotiation
1.Hello. I am James Brown, Sales Manager for Coca Cola. This is my associate, Peter Jackson.
2.Very pleased to meet you. I’m Ann Taylor. And this is my legal advisor, Mary Smith.
3.I hope you had a relaxing journey here.
4.Yes very much so, thank you.
5.Are you in town for long?
6.No, we need to return to Hong Kong tonight.
7.We are prepared to offer you a very good price which will be a ‘win-win’ result.
8.Well, we see it as an investigative trip. We are just testing the waters.
9.We don’t expect to reach an agreement today. Anyway, we need board approval on all decisions.
10.You haven’t heard our proposal yet. The term might be hard to refuse.
11.We understand you need time to consider. Our main objective is that negotiations remain open.
12.What’s your proposal Mr. Jackson?
13.We are willing to offer a very attractive price for a minimum sale if you can commit to a 2-year contract. Ann will clarify the terms.
(Correct answers are bolded.)

Task 9ii: Which sentence in the video shows respect and understanding for the position of the other party? Put a [√] next to one sentence only.

No.Sentences from negotiation
1.Hello. I am James Brown, Sales Manager for Coca Cola. This is my associate, Peter Jackson.
2.Very pleased to meet you. I’m Ann Taylor. And this is my legal advisor, Mary Smith.
3.I hope you had a relaxing journey here.
4.Yes very much so, thank you.
5.Are you in town for long?
6.No, we need to return to Hong Kong tonight.
7.We are prepared to offer you a very good price which will be a ‘win-win’ result.
8.Well, we see it as an investigative trip. We are just testing the waters.
9.We don’t expect to reach an agreement today. Anyway, we need board approval on all decisions.
10.You haven’t heard our proposal yet. The term might be hard to refuse.
11.We understand you need time to consider. Our main objective is that negotiations remain open.
12.What’s your proposal Mr. Jackson?
13.We are willing to offer a very attractive price for a minimum sale if you can commit to a 2-year contract. Ann will clarify the terms.
(Correct answers are bolded.)

What was covered in Lesson 3? Take the summary quiz!

Task 10: Quiz: What did you learn about the stages and language of formal negotiation?

 YesNo
1. In formal negotiations, each party should only introduce his or her name.
2. People may not speak in full sentences when they introduce themselves.
3. 'Small talk' means making informal conversation.
4. Small talk may occur prior to negotiations in some cultures.
5. Opening statements are usually made by the party that was invited to the negotiation.
6. It is normal for each party to state their expectation(s) near the start of a negotiation.
7. It is not acceptable for one party to state that they do not expect to reach an Agreement during a negotiation.
8. A ‘win-win’ result is a situation where one party receives more than the other.
9. A first priority is a main goal or objective.
10. An exploratory tool is a way of gathering information.
11. To run it past the board means to receive authorization from a company’s governors.
12. 'We would have to run it past our board' may be a tactic for delaying Proceedings or not committing to an agreement.
13. People may use 'on behalf of' when speaking for themselves.
14. One reason negotiations may be formal is that parties are speaking on behalf of a board of governors.
15. 'Perhaps we should establish a general framework' is a way of agreeing on a procedure for the negotiation.
(Correct answers are highlighted in yellow)

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