In this second of two online exercises on business negotiation vocabulary, we will both look at and I will explain the meaning of the vocabulary used in English for describing how a negotiation is progressing. In addition, we will also look at how to describe things that happen during a business negotiation.

Click here to go to the first part of this 'Essential negotiation vocabulary' exercise


Exercise: Negotiation updates

In the following conversation, Geoff a Sales Executive updates his manager Sally on how the negotiations he is involved in are progressing.

From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Sally:'So Geoff, how's everything with your current negotiations?'

Geoff:'Well, some are going well and some are going not so well.'

Sally:'OK, well tell me first about the negotiations with Beaver.'

Geoff:'It's not going well at all. In fact I don't think we're going to win the contract. We've reached a deadlock on the price of the project. As you know we made them a very reasonable offer, it was very competitive. They came back with a counteroffer on Monday where they not only wanted a 20% reduction in price, but also wanted to have 24 hour customer support instead of the 18 hours that we offered them. I told them that in what they are demanding, we could not do it, because we would make a large loss. But it didn't change anything, they won't budge.'

Sally:'They were just seeing how you would react. You did the right thing by not reducing our offer. The worst thing you can do now is to panic and back down and give them a much lower price. I would advise you to give them time, they will know it's an unreasonable counteroffer. The negotiation is still in its early stages. There's a long way to go yet.

Maybe it's not as bad as you think, at least the negotiations haven't broken down and they are still continuing. It's common for negotiations to stall over issues like this. I would think that it'll start again when they've had time to think about it. I negotiated with them 3 years ago and their chief negotiator tried to bluff me, by saying 'This is the price we'll pay. Take it or leave it!'. I told him we would have to leave it, and they changed their mind two days later. It was like a game of poker.'

Geoff:'I hope so. Anyway, I have some good news about Clayton Logistics. It's progressing very well with them. We've reached a compromise on the price and scope of the project. They are very happy with the terms and conditions that we are offering them. In my opinion, I think they are ready to sign. I'm meeting them next week. So, I'll be hopefully bringing back a 4 year deal then.'

Sally:'Excellent. It's a big company and it should be good for a lot of follow on business. Oh, by the way, it looks likely that we'll have to renegotiate the Pemberton Contract. They're currently having a lot of problems because of the crisis and they contacted me about reducing the cost on their existing support contract. So, if you're not busy, I would appreciate if you could take care of it.'

Geoff:'No problem.'


Do part 1 of essential negotiation vocabulary


Quiz: Essential negotiation vocabulary part 2

Below is a definition/description of each of the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Now fill in the blanks with one of these words/phrases in bold. Only use one word/phrase once and write it as it is in the text. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

1. When a negotiation isn't moving or progressing, is    

         

Stall:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to stall'. In this context it describes when a negotiation isn't progressing at all. Normally, it is due to some disagreement between the two parties over price, conditions etc... But, it can also be deliberate and used as a strategy for one party to improve its side of the deal or to wait for another offer, e.g. 'I think they're stalling in the negotiations because they're waiting to see what offer they receive from the Chinese company'. In Spanish: "parar/detener".

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Stall:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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2. When a negotiation can't progress because of a fundamental disagreement, is    

         

Deadlock:
(noun) This occurs when there is a fundamental difference in a negotiation between the two sides/parties about something, which means negotiation can't progress and have effectively stopped. This is more common in political negotiations than in business. Normally this leads to negotiations breaking down or finishing without agreement, e.g. 'negotiations between the government and the unions have reached a deadlock over the question of redundancies' In Spanish: "estancamiento/punto muerto".

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Deadlock:

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3. When somebody who has refused to make a compromise, then does it, is    

         

Back down:
(phrasal verb) This is commonly used in both business and general English. It is used when somebody who has refused to accept something or compromise on an issue, offer, subject, then does so. This change in attitude is called 'to back down'. This is a phrasal verb that is intransitive (it doesn't have an object), e.g. 'He refused to lower the price for 4 days, but he finally backed down and offered us 5% off the price'. In Spanish: "ceder".

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Back down:

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4. The actual details of an agreement, are called the    

         

Terms and conditions:
(noun) In any agreement, deal or contract, the 'terms and conditions' specify/define how the two sides/parties have to act or behave. These 'terms and conditions' differ depending on the contract. For example, a guarantee for a computer, states in its 'terms and conditions' that you can't attempt to repair the computer yourself and that the company will repair and return any broken computer within 6 weeks etc... In Spanish: "términos y condiciones".

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Terms and conditions:

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5. An amount of money that one side/party proposes to pay the other for goods or services, is an    

         

Offer:
(noun) Normally, in negotiations a number of 'offers' are made before an agreement is reached. Offers are not only about the price, but include other details like quantity, service level agreements, delivery times etc... e.g. 'So, our offer is $10 million, for a 3 year contract that provides 24 hour support'. It is also a verb 'to offer'. In Spanish: "oferta".

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Offer:

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6. The name of an 'offer' that one side/party makes after rejecting the other side/party's offer, is a    

         

Counteroffer:
(noun) Normally, in negotiations one side/party will receive an offer from the other side/party which they don't feel is beneficial or good for them. So, the offer is rejected and then they make their own offer to the other side/party, which is better for them. This is called a 'counteroffer'. e.g. 'Well ,your offer was $10 million, which is a lot of money. So, we'll offer you $9.1 million for 3 years'. In Spanish: "contraoferta".

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Counteroffer:

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7. When you try to deceive the other side/party that you'll stop the negotiations unless they agree to your demands, even though you really don't want to or can't, is    

         

Bluff:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to bluff'. This is common in negotiations. It is when you pretend that you're in a stronger position than you actually are. It's a strategy, with the intention of getting a better deal or price. It's common to threaten to stop or pull out from the negotiations. It's also used in poker, when you try to convince your opponent by your behaviour that you have a very good set of cards, even though you actually don't. In Spanish: "farolear".

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Bluff:

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8. When a negotiation has finished without any agreement being made, is    

         

Broken down:
(phrasal verb) The infinitive is 'to break down'. In this context it has the same meaning as 'collapse', which sounds worse and is also commonly used. It means that a negotiation has finished unsuccessfully without any agreement/deal. It is often common in renegotiations (making changes to an existing contract). It is an intransitive phrasal verb (it doesn't have an object), e.g. 'negotiations between the two companies have broken down'. In Spanish: "fracasar".

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Broken down:

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9. The beginning phase/part of negotiations, is often called the    

         

Early stages:
(noun) This is commonly used in business English to talk about the beginning stages of a negotiation or project. When negotiations or projects are nearly finished, we use 'final stages'. In Spanish: "primeras fases".

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Early stages:

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10. When somebody won't change their position in a negotiation, they    

         

Won't budge:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to budge'. Basically, “won't budge” means that somebody or something (i.e. a door) will not move at all. In negotiations, it is used to mean that one side/party will not change or make a compromise on a price or a requirement they have asked for, e.g. 'They won't budge from paying $59 per unit. I offered $59.50, but they told me it was $59 per unit or nothing'. In Spanish: "no cambia su posición".

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Won't budge:

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11. When a negotiation is going OK, it is    

         

Progressing:
(verb) This is used to describe the progress of a negotiation. It means that there aren't any major problems/issues and the negotiation is moving normally, i.e. 'negotiations are progressing'. It can be modified by adding 'slowly' or 'quickly', e.g. 'now, it's progressing quickly'. In Spanish: "avanzar".

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Progressing:

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12. When one side/party wants to change a part of an existing contract, is    

         

Renegotiate:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to renegotiate'. This is very common in business. It is when one side/party want to adapt/change some details/conditions of an existing contract (e.g. price, quantity, service etc...). Then both sides/parties that have signed the existing contract enter renegotiations, in order to reach a new agreement/deal and sign a new contract. In Spanish: "renegociar".

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Renegotiate:

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13. A phrase that means that somebody is going to make a deal, is    

         

Ready to sign:
(phrase) This is commonly used in negotiations. It means that one side/party (normally the client/buyer) is going to or is very close to accepting a deal or agreement. It is a shortened version of 'ready to sign the contract'. In Spanish: "dispuesto a firmar".

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Ready to sign:

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Practice

Now that you understand the business negotiation essentials vocabulary, practise it by creating your own sentences in English with the new words/phrases.