10 business English phrases you’ll probably use in every negotiation

Recommended for Pre-Intermediate and Intermediate business English students.

Negotiating in English can be particularly challenging for most language learners, since on these occasions everything we say matters and may impact the outcome of the meeting. When negotiating, we are often under pressure and experience a lot of stress, which makes the task even more difficult. Knowing some negotiating phrases often makes us feel less comfortable, sound more professional and can even buy us some extra time. Let’s see 10 essential phrases which you can use in almost any negotiations:

     1. Let’s get started, shall we? 

Negotiations never start themselves, someone has to do it, otherwise people will keep chatting about weather, family and rumors. This phrase can help you get down to business.

EXAMPLE: Ok, as I can see everyone’s here. So let’s get started, shall we? 

     2. We are here to…

It’s often important to state the main goal of the negotiation right in the beginning, it can focus the attention of the participants. This phrase is a great way to do just that.

EXAMPLE: We are here to discuss the details of the contract.

    3. if I understand you correctly…

It’s crucial that the negotiating parties clearly understand each other’s points. It’s always better to ask and clarify than misunderstand. So, if anything is unclear during the negotiation, just use this phrase.

EXAMPLE: If I understand you correctly, you would like to extend the deadline?

  4. It’d be a win-win.

The best outcome of any negotiations is when both sides benefit. Good negotiators always try to find solutions that are favored by everyone at the negotiating table. These solutions can also help us convince our opponent more easily, if you present them properly, and this phrase can help you exactly with that.

EXAMPLE: If we team up, you could reduce your costs and we could use your expertise. I think it’d be a win-win. 

  5. We can agree to that.

Once you’ve reached a compromise that is acceptable for you, just say it. 🙂

EXAMPLE: All right, this price sounds much better, we can agree to that. Let’s sign the contract.

  6. Let’s move on to…..

If you feel you’ve talked enough about an issue and are just wasting your time, or you just can’t seem to agree on a specific question, it’s time to jump to the next one by using this phrase.

EXAMPLE: If you don’t mind, let’s move on to the next topic, we don’t have too much time left.

  7. We can accept ……., as long as you….

Bargaining is a critical part of most negotiations, and there are several phrases you can use to try to get the best deal by the end of the meeting. This phrase is one of them.

EXAMPLE: We can accept your offer as long as you give us 10 % discount.

  8. We would prefer to..

When people negotiate they often disagree, this is completely natural. It’s important though how you express yourself in a such a situation. This is very commonly used phrase to politely disagree with your negotiating partner.

EXAMPLE: Well, we would prefer to get paid in advance, that’s how we normally work.

 9. I’ll get back to you on this..

Have you ever been embarrassed about not knowing the answer to a question at a business negotiation? Sometimes the best thing to do is simply admit it and promise your negotiating partner to contact them as soon as you have the answer. Calm down, be cool and just use this phrase. 🙂

EXAMPLE: I don’t know the exact answer, let me check it and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible

 10. I think we’ve covered everything.

After all of those tiring discussions finally you’ve gone through all the issues you wanted to discuss with other party. You still have one task left to do though, you need to close the negotiation. This is a good phrase to signal the end of the meeting and give your partner the chance for any last comments.

EXAMPLE: Right, we agreed on the price, quantity, and the length of the contract. I think we’ve covered everything. Is there anything else you want to discuss?


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