Do you feel that someone is continually taking advantage of you? Do you seem to have to fight your corner aggressively, or ally with others, to win the resources you need? Or do you struggle to get what you want from people whose help you need, but over whom you have little direct authority? If so, you may need to brush up your win-win negotiation skills.

Effective negotiation helps you to resolve situations where what you want conflicts with what someone else wants. The aim of win-win negotiation is to find a solution that is acceptable to both parties, and leaves both parties feeling that they’ve won, in some way, after the event.

There are different styles of negotiation, depending on circumstances.

Where you do not expect to deal with people ever again and you do not need their goodwill, then it may be appropriate to „play hardball”, seeking to win a negotiation while the other person loses out. Many people go through this when they buy or sell a house – this is why house-buying can be such a confrontational and unpleasant experience.

Similarly, where there is a great deal at stake in a negotiation, then it may be appropriate to prepare in-detail and legitimate „gamesmanship” to gain advantage. Anyone who has been involved with large sales negotiations will be familiar with this.

Preparing for a Successful Negotiation

For small disagreements, excessive preparation can be counter-productive because it takes time that is better used elsewhere. It can also be seen as manipulative because, just as it strengthens your position, it can weaken the other person’s.

However, if you need to resolve a major disagreement, then make sure you prepare thoroughly. Use these bullet points to think through the following points before you start negotiating:

• Goals: what do you want to get out of the negotiation? What do you think the other person wants? What is your endgame? What is your fallback position?
• Trades: What do you and the other person have that you can trade? What do you each have that the other wants? What are you each comfortable giving away? What concessions are you willing to make?
• Alternatives: if you don’t reach agreement with the other party, what alternatives do you have? How much does it matter if you do not reach agreement? Does failure to reach an agreement cut you out of future opportunities? And what alternatives might the other person have?
• Relationships: what is the history of the relationship? Could or should this history impact the negotiation? Will there be any hidden issues that may influence the negotiation adversely? How will you handle these?
• Expected outcomes: what outcome will people be expecting from this negotiation? What has the outcome been in the past, and what precedents have been set?
• The consequences: what are the consequences for you of winning or losing this negotiation? What are the consequences for the other person?
• Power: who has what power in the relationship? Who controls resources? Who stands to lose the most if the negotiations fall through? What power does the other person have to deliver what you hope for?
• Possible solutions: based on all of the considerations, what possible compromises might there be?

Adapted from MindTools.com


Exercise 1

Find the words or expressions in the text which mean the following:

1) things that a company has, owns, disposes of: __________
2) a situation in which neither side is at a disadvantage: __________
3) a side of the negotiation: __________
4) to take action to achieve something: __________
5) a lot to lose: __________
6) action plan: __________
7) too much: __________
8) not very efficient: __________
9) points on your negotiation agenda that you can sacrifice: ___________
10)the ultimate goal of your negotiation: __________
11)to have a negative effect on something: __________
12)issues that you have to take into account: __________
13)situations that you are likely to benefit from: __________


Exercise 2

Match the expressions from the two columns into logical collocations:

1) to take advantage with somebody / something
2) to fight on your skills
3) to ally a disagreement
4) to brush up with somebody
5) to deal of somebody / something
6) to play position
7) to gain falls through
8) to resolve hardball
9) a fallback advantage
10)an agreement your corner


Exercise 3

Provide English equivalents of these expressions:

1) twardo negocjować
2) rozwiązać kwestię
3) nie udać się
4) uzyskać przewagę
5) strona
6) środki / zasoby
7) mieć negatywny wpływ na coś (np. na gospodarkę)
8) bezproduktywny
9) odświeżyć umiejętności
10)zjednoczyć siły z kimś
11)wykorzystać coś (np. przewagę, stanowisko)
12)wysoka stawka

Grammar corner…

There are several questions in the text. Yet sometimes in business you don’t want to ask a question directly, thus avoiding confrontation, which Business English doesn’t like. Instead you may want to state something but intend for it to be a question. All you have to remember about is to NOT make it sound like a question,
in other words, you need to use the sentence order of a POSITIVE statement. To out it bluntly, the question has to look like an answer (from a grammatical point of view). Usually, indirect questions, because that’s what they are called, start with such phrases as: could you please tell me …, I was wondering …, I don’t know …, could you please clarify …, have you any idea …, etc.

For instance: Could you please tell me what THE INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING PRICE WILL BE?

Look at the words in capitals. It already looks like the answer: THE INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING PRICE WILL BE $20 per share.


Exercise 4

Transform the sentences into correct indirect questions:

1) Who is responsible for it? => We need to know _____________________________
2) What is your quote? => Could you tell me _____________________________
3) When are you going to pay us back? => We were wondering _____________________________
4) How many participants will attend? => I don’t know _____________________________
5) Why was the meeting put off? => Have you any idea _____________________________
6) I didn’t catch that last thing you said. => Could you please clarify _____________________________
7) Word around the office is that there are going to be lay offs but no one knows for sure. => No one knows whether _____________________________
8) How much is it? => I’d like to know _____________________________
9) How will the stock market react to the event? => Have you any idea _____________________________
10)What is your ETA ? = > Could you please specify _____________________________



resources – środki / zasoby
continually – ciągle / nieprzerwanie
to take advantage of somebody /something – wykorzystać kogoś / coś
a win-win situation – sytuacja korzystna dla obu stron
a party – strona (np. umowy, postępowania)
to seek to do something – przedsięwziąć działania w celu
a great deal at stake – wysoka stawka / dużo do stracenia
gamesmanship – plan działania / umiejętne działanie
excessive – nadmierny
counter – productive bezproduktywny
concessions – ustępstwa
endgame – cel
to impact something adversely – mieć na coś negatywny wpływ
considerations – uwarunkowania
legitimate – zgodny z prawem / prawy / legalny
to be involved WITH something – być w coś zaangażowanym
IPO (Initial Public Offering) – pierwsza oferta publiczna
a quote – podanie stawek / wycena
lay offs – zwolnienia
ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) – szacowany czas przybycia
to resolve an issue – rozwiązać kwestię
fallback position – akceptowalne ustępstwa, na które można pójść w trakcie negocjacji
to gain advantage – uzyskać przewagę
to fall through – nie udać się


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Ex. 1

1) resources
2) a win-win (situation)
3) a party
4) to seek to do something
5) a great deal at stake
6) gamesmanship
7) excessive
8) counterproductive
9) concessions
11)to impact something adversely

Ex. 2

1) to take advantage of somebody / something
2) to fight your corner
3) to ally with somebody
4) to brush up on your skills
5) to deal with somebody / something
6) to play hardball
7) to gain advantage
8) to resolve an issue
9) a fallback position
10)an agreement falls through

Ex. 3

1) to play hardball
2) to resolve an issue
3) to fall through
4) to gain advantage
5) a party (TO a negotiation)
6) resources
7) to impact something adversely
8) counterproductive
9) to brush up on your skills
10)to ally with somebody
11)to take advantage of something
12)a great deal at stake

Ex. 4

1) We need to know who is responsible for it.
2) Could you tell me what your quote is?
3) We were wondering when you were going to pay us back.
4) I don’t know how many participants will attend.
5) Have you any idea why the meeting was put off?
6) Could you please clarify what the last thing you said was?
7) No one knows whether there are going to be lay offs.
8) I’d like to know how much it is.
9) Have you any idea how the stock market will react?
10)Could you please specify what your ETA is?