BEP 241 – Strategic Negotiations 1: Pitching the Idea

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on business English for negotiations and how to pitch the initial idea.

Competition is at the heart of business. Companies try to outdo each other, outsell each other, and even destroy each other. It’s the nature of the game. But cooperation has its place to. Companies often work together to achieve mutual aims. They form partnerships, using their different assets and strengths to become an even greater competitive force.

But a good partnership is tough to build. Any kind of agreement has to make sense for both sides, and each will try to get as much out of a deal as possible. Sure, they’re cooperating, but they want to make sure they’re cooperating in the best possible way for themselves.

So how does a strategic partnership begin? Well, any agreement begins with a negotiation, a strategic negotiation. And how does a negotiation begin? It begins with an idea, an idea for two companies to work together. And that’s what we’ll be looking at today.

When you pitch an idea for a strategic partnership, there are several key techniques you’ll need. This includes broaching the topic, pitching the basic idea, and speculating about feasibility. It also includes showing tentative agreement, outlining how the partnership might work, and outlining the next steps in the process. We’ll cover all these techniques in today’s lesson.

In the dialog, we’ll hear Jamie and Mike, two former colleagues who have run into each other at a trade show in Malaysia. They have agreed to meet up for a drink after the day’s events, and are now talking about doing business in Asia. Mike is looking for a way to introduce his idea for the two companies to cooperate.

Listening Questions

1. In the beginning, what does Mike say his company is looking for?
2. Which idea is Mike tentative or hesitant about?
3. What is Mike going to do next?

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BEP 209 – Contract Negotiations 2: Discussing the Fine Print

This is the second part of our Business English Pod series on negotiating a contract.

So, you’ve found a company you want to work with and have agreed on the major points of the deal. Now it’s time to negotiate the ‘fine print’ or the details of the contract. Even if you’ve come to terms on price and payment, there may be a lot of costs or savings unaccounted for. A good warranty, for example, could save you a lot of money. The details may not break a deal, but you do need to negotiate them successfully so that the contract protects you and guarantees you certain benefits.

To do this, you’ll need to be comfortable with the language of contracts and the techniques used to talk about them. And that’s what we’ll be looking at today. We’ll learn how to ensure warranty terms, ask about response times, and talk about the bottom line in order to win concessions. We’ll also cover talking about renewal and agreeing to overall terms.

We are going to rejoin Sam and Larry, who are discussing a contract to lease a fleet of cars and vans. Larry, who represents the vehicle company, has drawn up a contract. He and Sam are discussing the details over the phone. You’ll hear Sam try to get the best deal possible for his company.

Listening Questions

1. Why does Sam want to ensure the terms of the warranty?
2. What does Larry offer to Sam free of charge?
3. How does Larry respond to Sam’s request for a renewal clause?

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BEP 208 – Contract Negotiations 1: Seeking Concessions

In this Business English Pod lesson, we’re going to look at language for negotiating a contract.

As we’ll be discussing contracts, you might want to check out our Video Vocab lessons on contract law to refresh your memory.

A lot of business is done with a verbal agreement and a handshake. But it doesn’t take a lawyer to know that you’re usually better off having everything written down in a contract. Contracts protect both sides of the arrangement and spell out exactly who must do what and at what time and where.

If you’re familiar with contracts, you know that there are certain parts and clauses that are almost always included. But exactly how those are written can vary greatly from contract to contract. “The devil is in the details,” as the saying goes, which is a traditional way of saying that details are very important.

And when it comes to contract negotiations, you will have to focus on a lot of details. You might agree generally on what type of arrangement you want, but working out the finer points is crucial if you want a contract that works for you. Negotiating these fine points requires several key skills. Today we’ll cover highlighting concerns in a contract, seeking concessions, and citing previous arrangements to strengthen your position. We’ll also look at agreeing with hesitation to a concession as well as emphasizing the positive.

We will hear Sam negotiating a vehicle leasing contract with Larry, a leasing company rep. Sam wants to lease several cars and vans for his company. He and Larry have agreed on the major points and are now discussing the draft contract over the phone.

Listening Questions

1. Why does Sam mention that their account reps try to stay in close touch with customers?
2. What does Sam say about their last leasing situation?
3. What does Larry offer to do for Sam?

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Skills 360 – Negotiations 2: Making the Deal

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Welcome back to the Skills 360 podcastfor the second part of our look at getting the most out of your negotiations.

Today we’re going to tackle the actual negotiation. What should you be thinking about and saying when you’re sitting down at the table working on a deal? Important points to keep in mind include exercise restraint, don’t take things personally, look beyond money, make sure you get more than you give, and be willing to walk away.

Discussion Questions

1. What do you find the most stressful part of negotiating?
2. Do you think you are good at bargaining? Why or why not?
3. Think of your last negotiation. How successful were you?

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Skills 360 – Negotiations 1: Doing your Groundwork

The Skills 360 podcast is now available in iTunes: Free Subscription

Welcome back to the Skills 360 podcast for today’s lesson on getting the most out of your negotiations.

Negotiation is something we all have to do on some level. You might be part of a team discussing a huge contract, or on the phone trying to get a good deal on office supplies, or in your manager’s office asking for a raise. Negotiation happens every day. In fact, you might say that in business everything is negotiable.

Discussion Questions

1. In your job, what do you have to negotiate?
2. How do you usually prepare for a negotiation?
3. What do you think are the keys to successful negotiation?

Free Resources: Transcript | Quiz & Vocab | PDF Transcript

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