Have you ever been in a meeting with an idea in mind, only to find that you were unable to follow the conversation or express yourself? This is something that happens to English learners frequently. Why? Speaking English in business environments is often extra challenging. Your colleagues might use unfamiliar phrases or vocabulary, and the added pressure of having to present yourself well might make you more nervous about your English skills than usual. 

If you want to improve your business English, focusing on building your negotiation skills is a great place to start. Being able to negotiate is an important skill, especially if you have a suggestion or an idea that you want to present at work. By taking business English courses, you can gain the skills to feel confident when negotiating. Here are five ways that business English school can help. 

1. A Business English Program Can Help Build Your English Communication Skills

While it might seem obvious, having good English communication skills is not the same as being able to speak English, and good communication skills are essential in a negotiation. Do you find that you struggle to keep up with a conversation in English, either because you have a hard time following what someone is saying or you’re too busy translating in your head? If so, consider enrolling in business English courses to improve your English communication skills. 

Good communication skills are essential when conducting business. Communication skills will not only help you to socialize easily with colleagues, but they will also help you present your ideas and follow along in meetings. Even better, communication skills will help you to become a better negotiator. 

Negotiation is a form of communication: you suggest one thing, listen to what someone else suggests, and come up with an appropriate response. By building your communication skills, you can become more comfortable during negotiation, appearing confident to your colleagues rather than worrying about whether they’ll understand you.

Having good English communication skills will help you to better present your ideas in meetings

2. You Will Learn Popular English Negotiation Phrases

When negotiating, there are some phrases which are helpful to understand and recognize. Once you learn these English phrases, you’ll be able to use them during negotiation, helping you to be more effective at reaching an agreement. 

When Making a Suggestion: begin a negotiation by stating your idea or your goal using one of the following phrases.

  • “We propose”
  • “Will you consider”

When Agreeing: use these phrases during a negotiation to let someone know that you’re happy with their suggestion or idea.

  • “That sounds good”
  • “This is acceptable”
  • “We like your suggestion”

When Disagreeing: these phrases will help you to show the person you are negotiating with that you can’t accept their suggestion.

  • “Unfortunately, we can’t accept these terms”
  • “We have a different idea in mind”

When Comprising: use these phrases to signal that you are willing to reach a compromise or agreement during a negotiation.

  • “Ideally, we want this, but we will accept this”
  • “We can compromise on this”

By learning English negotiation phrases in your business English courses, you’ll be prepared to speak confidently

3. Become Familiar with English Negotiation Idioms in Business ESL

While knowing English phrases will help you get your point across during a negotiation, it’s also helpful to know some idioms, or expressions, which may be hard to recognize as an English language learner. If you’re considering taking business ESL courses, here are some commonly used idioms you may learn to use.

  • “You drive a hard bargain”: this means that you don’t seem willing to compromise.
  • “Highball/Lowball”: highball means to ask for more than you believe the person you’re negotiation with will accept, and lowball means to not ask for as much as what you think will be accepted.
  • “Stand my/your ground”: being firm on the demands or proposal you went into the negotiation with.
  • “Drive a wedge”: the act of causing a disagreement.  
  •  “Give and take”: the process of making compromises to reach an agreement that all parties in the negotiation are happy with.

4. You’ll Grow Comfortable with English Business Meeting Culture

The culture in English business offices may be different from what you’re familiar with. When conducting negotiation during a business meeting, be sure to maintain a friendly and well-informed attitude. Your colleagues will appreciate that you appear professional, but that you aren’t afraid of a little humor. Additionally, it’s important to address everyone in the room when speaking, by making eye contact with each person. This will keep your colleagues focused and engaged in what you have to say. 

In English business meetings, it’s also important to check in with colleagues by asking them for feedback, which promotes conversation, compromise, and new ideas. Lastly, it’s important to be aware of your body language. Stand up tall and keep your arms at your sides. This way, everyone in the meeting will pay attention to what you have to say. 

Are you ready to improve your English negotiation skills?

Contact ASC English to learn more about our business English program.