What is negotiation? Simply said, it is a conversation about reaching some sort of agreement around a point of contention. The point of disagreement could be a large issue, like salaries or benefits in a negotiation between management and workers. It could also be a small issue, like when you want to eat lunch or set out on your trip. Whatever the scale, it is an important skill, even though it is not necessarily comfortable.
I often have students tell me about times they’ve had trouble accomplishing what they want or need to do because they can’t negotiate with a key decision-maker. They end up scheduled for two meetings at the same time. They miss class to go to the dentist. In short, they end up with what’s offered rather than what they want.
Speaking for myself, although I am a native speaker, I am still sometimes trepidatious about asking for more than I am offered. This is a little silly of me because, when asked politely, most people will be happy to accommodate you. Of course, as a native speaker, I’ve grown up with informal instruction about what is a polite or impolite way to bargain. In general, I would sum it up as follows -- consult, don’t order, even when it is within your rights to be demanding.
The video posted earlier this week offers some frames that use a consulting tone. How would you use them to respond to the following scenarios?
1. You initially agreed to work an extra shift tonight, but you now want to cancel in order to attend an important family event.
2. You want to redistribute the workload for an important group project because you are feeling overwhelmed.
3. You want to change the due date on one of your bills.
4. You want to exchange your airline ticket for a later date.
East Bay ESL is an English language school for learners in the San Francisco East Bay.