BEP 328 – Project Management English 8: Negotiating Solutions


Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on negotiating solutions during a project.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every project went exactly as planned? But that’s simply not realistic. Projects are just as diverse as the people involved. And every project runs into hurdles, challenges, or even major breakdowns. Good planning can help avoid some of these issues, but it’s more than likely that you’ll need to use your problem-solving skills at some point.

Some of these problems might be with your project team. But others could involve the client. In many cases, this means something comes up mid-project that neither of you anticipated. Lack of information, timeline issues, scope changes – there are a thousand different issues that might come up that will test your project management skills.

Solving these kinds of problems will require more than just basic project management English. For starters, you may need to explain different options to the client. But you’ll need to be careful to avoid liability when you can, and you might also need to resist committing to a timeline. These are important aspects of English for negotiating a solution.

And that word “solution” is the key. Your goal is to get to a solution that you can both agree to so that the project can still meet its original goals. And just like in any negotiation, that will probably involve proposing a compromise. Of course, agreements should be put in writing, so you’ll have to document any solutions you agree on.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Jill, a project manager with a software developer. They’ve been building a new system for a logistics company. Jill is talking with the Liam, the IT manager for the client, about a problem that has come up near the end of their project. Jill needs to negotiate a good solution to the problem.

Listening Questions

1. What are the options Jill lays out at the start of the meeting?
2. When Liam asks about how long it will take, how does Jill respond?
3. What is the compromise solution that Jill suggests?

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