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Teaching negotiations skills
Tips for Business English
> Main article
Teachers have the opportunity to encourage students to
use the Macmillan English Dictionary (MED) for lexis relating to
negotiations. Students can expand vocabulary and become familiar with
typical phrases used in a negotiation context.
The activities provide practical language for upper intermediate to advanced
levels. It is suitable for one to one lessons or groups.
The overall timing for the activities should be about
50 minutes. This will depend on the size of the class, and if it is set
up as pair or group work, or as a one to one practice. Students need access
to the Macmillan English Dictionary (MED). Teachers will need at
least a flipchart and whiteboard and ideally an OHP/OHTs.
Activities 1 and 2
|Preview the topic of negotiations with a 5 minute
discussion with the students to find out if they regularly participate
in negotiations either in their own language or in English. Find out
if their negotiations involve local or international colleagues or
|Briefly go through the introduction and then have
students in pairs or groups complete activities 1 and 2.
|Review the answers by each pair or group contributing
|Display the possible answers on the OHP or give as
Example answers for activity 2
|trying to find out the truth about something
|to look for and find
|to guess that something will happen,
and be ready to deal with it
|something that you choose instead of something else
|to make someone wait in order to gain more time
|a person or group involved in the negotiations
|to stop trying to win an argument
|to solve a problem by accepting that you cannot have
everything you want
|the conditions of an agreement
|willing to accept a suggestion
|Students do the activity individually and then compare
answers with a partner. Encourage them to check their answers in the
|Go over the answers with the students as a final
check, and write the correct answers on a flipchart.
|finding a common ground
||be on your guard
| ballpark figure
|If time allows in class or as homework, have students
explore the meanings of the following words in the dictionary: to
read, to rush, party. Get students to look at the
common collocations formed with compromise:
reach/arrive at/come to/make a compromise
a compromise agreement/solution
|From the basic negotiation vocabulary presented in
the activities, have students make a table of synonyms or antonyms.
|Discuss what alternatives students can offer
in a negotiation from their own business context.
|Elicit discussion on why compromise is key
to successful negotiations. On the other hand, have student describe
the consequence of a deadlock or stalemate.
|Give students in pairs a chance to discuss their
reaction to these questions:
||Are good negotiators born
with the talent or can they acquire it?
|| Can anyone learn to be
a negotiator? Why or why not?
|Review the answers yourself in MED with both the
CD-ROM and the dictionary.
|Practise with as many authentic examples from students'
work situation as necessary for them to understand the basic language
used in the context of business negotiations.