March 25, 2008

#01-089: The Fine Art of Negotiation

color photo of two traffic lights set to green hanging from a horizontal bar
A green light means "GO!"

Note: A paragraph on negotiation uses slang terms that can help you understand the world of business. Pick up ten more terms in this lesson.

Get Ready: Which do you think is the better result of a negotiation: win-win, or win-lose? In other words, do you think it's best if both sides get what they want? Try to think of some examples.

Read this a paragraph on the "Fine Art of Negotiation." Then do the Practice; check your Answers in the first comment below; and then read the Explanations.

Negotiation is an art. There's no sure-fire way to achieve the payoff you expect without a lot of arm-twisting. You may start with a wish list and then discover there's no way to give everyone a fair shake. To turn it from a no-win to a win-win situation and get the other party to green-light the deal, you may have to make a guesstimate and then watch for a tip-off that the other party is caving in. If you're successful you'll end up on easy street.


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. arm-twisting
  2. caving in
  3. easy street
  4. fair shake
  5. green light
  6. guesstimate
  7. no-win
  8. payoff
  9. sure-fire
  10. tip-off
  11. win-win
  12. wish list

  1. equal treatment, without cheating
  2. to approve (can also be a noun)
  3. the final (positive) result
  4. all the things one wants
  5. a situation in which everybody is happy
  6. something that reveals what's truly happening
  7. certain; absolute
  8. giving up; changing one's mind
  9. an approximate price or amount 
  10. forcing someone
  11. a condition of wealth, success, or comfort
  12. a situation where everybody is unhappy

Answers are in the first comment below.

Explanations of the Answers: After you check your answers in the first comment below, read on for more information on the slang terms used.

  • arm-twisting: forcing someone. Literally, this is a technique playground bullies use to get what they want. Figuratively, it might mean a kind of unfair pressure on someone to do something.
  • caving in: giving up; changing one's mind. "Don't cave in: stand your ground."
  • easy street: a condition of wealth, success, or comfort. To "be on easy street" means to be in that condition.
  • fair shake: an even chance; a lack of cheating. This may refer to playing dice: "Don't cheat; give the dice a fair shake."
  • green light: As a verb, this means "to approve." It can also be a noun, as in "to give a green light to something." This can also be called "the go-ahead": "to give the go-ahead to something..."
  • guesstimate: This coined word mixes "guess" with "estimate." It means the same as both of these. So to "make a guesstimate" is the same as to "make a guess" or to "make an estimate."
  • no-win: Clearly, a no-win situation is one in which no one wins. This would be a very bad conclusion to a negotiation.
  • payoff: the (usually positive) final result. "A high mark was the payoff for all his hard study."
  • sure-fire: certain; absolute. "There is no sure-fire way to know the winner before a horse race."
  • tip-off: Something that reveals the truth of what's happening. "The way his voice shook was a tip-off that he was nervous."
  • win-win: Just the opposite of "no-win., this is a situation where everybody wins. In between no-win and win-win is win-lose, where one side wins and the other loses; this isn't a good outcome for a negotiation, either.
  • wish list: The list of things you wish for (or want). The items on the list might also be referred to as "talking points."

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for March 25, 2008

This lesson received 170 visits on my old site between March, 2012, and July, 2021.

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. j; 2. h; 3. k; 4. a; 5. b; 6. i; 7. l; 8. c; 9. g; 10. f; 11. e; 12. d