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Business Negotiation Vocabulary

People in business negotiate all the time. There are a lot of things one can do to ensure you get the most out of a negotiation.


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Jharna Jagtiani

a year ago | 2 min read

People in business negotiate all the time. Either they negotiate salaries and bonuses, details of contracts with partners, and deadlines with managers/supervisors/labours and others. There are a lot of things one can do to ensure you get the most out of a negotiation.

Naturally, one should find out as much as one can about the negotiation partner/opponent (the person you will be negotiating with), about their business, and about negotiations in general. But one can also help oneself a lot in a negotiation situation just by knowing the right vocabulary.

We are going to look at some general negotiation vocabulary one can use during a negotiation -

  • To Shop Around: to compare offers of different providers of suppliers
  • Target Deal: the deal you would like to sign (attractive and profitable)
  • Your Bargaining Position: it depends if what you offer is rare or of unique value to the buyer.
  • A Proposal: is what you offer to the other person. it includes quantity and terms of payment and delivery.
  • A Counter Proposal: a response of the other person to your proposal. Usually concerns the price and terms of the deal.
  • A Breakeven Point: the lowest price you will accept for this deal. Below is your deal that will not be profitable.
  • To Make Concessions: to accept certain counter-proposals. Remember: If you make a concession always ask for something in return.
  • To Outlast Someone: to negotiate patiently, and slowly, not being in a hurry to close the deal. This may make the other person impatient and ready to sign quickly.
  • To Walk Away: to leave the negotiation table without signing the deal.
  • To Sweeten the Deal: offer something small but free just before closing the deal.
  • A Closer: a closing argument used to give a final push to a person who is almost in but still hesitates.
  • Bottom Line: the most important factor.
  • To bargain: to discuss the conditions of an agreement, to negotiate. You can also use this as a noun (something can be a bargain) to refer to products being sold for a really good price.
  • Alternative: a choice that could be better than the present situation.
  • To reach consensus: to agree on a matter that initially (at first) you disagreed upon.
  • Deadlock: a point in a discussion that takes you nowhere because people cannot reach an agreement.
  • Highball: make a request that is much higher than you expect to receive.
  • Lowball: offer something much lower than you think the opponent will ask for.
  • Leverage: something that gives you power in a negotiation.
  • Counterpart: a person or thing having the same function as another.
  • Equivalent: a proposed agreement that is different from, but equal in value to, a previous proposal.
  • Intermediary: a person who communicates between the two sides of a negotiation.
  • Tradeoff: an exchange process in which one side gives up partly on some issues to gain on other issues.
  • Amplify: expand; give more information.
  • Haggling: arguing back and forth (often about prices).
  • Logrolling: trading one favor for another.
  • Ultimatum: a final term that has serious consequences if not met.
  • Yield: to give in to another's requests.

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Jharna Jagtiani

Ms. Jharna Jagtiani is an Assistant Professor at IFIM Law School. She is a qualified lawyer and a certified mediator by the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs under the aegis of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs – GOI. She is a mediator & online dispute resolution consultant. As an independent practitioner, her work involves assisting start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises to set up their internal management and consumer dispute resolution system. In the year 2016, she became the Co-founder of Prerna Foundation – a socio-legal initiative started with an objective to ease access to justice for people at large. She is also a Startup Consultant at Pixilets. Recently, she has been awarded the “Nari Shakti Samman Award” for women's empowerment – by helping women entrepreneurs to start grow and sustain their dream ventures at Jan’ki Conclave and Award 2021 - 2022.


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