negotiation step 2

Negotiation Step 2: Establish a Position

This is the second step in strategic negotiation, establishing a position. To review step one of the strategic negotiation process, please head on to Negotiation Step 1: Pitching an Idea.

Here, Mike is talking with colleagues Grant and Tess, and they are trying to work out an initial position before heading into the negotiation with NVP.


Listen to the dialogue and fill in the missing word(s) below. Copy paste this link onto your web browser to answer the task on google forms (

Grant: Alright folks. Let see what we can _________ here. Tess jump in whenever.

Tess: uh-huh…

Grant: Now I’ve seen the __________ on the emails since we kicked this into play. But Mike what’s your _________ all of this?

Mike: Well, we all agreed that NVP is our __________ in Southeast Asia huge volume, huge network, a really strong foothold in Thailand and Malaysia, which was our _________ in all of this.

Grant: Yes indeed. Good point. But I think as you’ve seen they’re really ___________ more than Southeast Asia. It’s obvious they’re pushing for a ______________, the whole of Asia really. And so the issue there is China?

Tess: We’re talking about Hangshan Motors, right. I __________________________ for something untested a burden in the hand as they say.

Mike: Well I think maybe there’s a way around this. If we buy them out, ______________________ the NVP deal in three years just from China alone. Opening up the rest of Asia on top of that puts us well ahead of the game.

Tess: I see. So you’re suggesting we get out of our existing agreement? You know… if we’re talking about a broader partnership…_________________________________. Lots of different possibilities here, I was thinking of South America in particular.

Grant: Right. So _______________________________________. We’re game for a partnership, we need Southeast Asia for sure… we’ll say we’re prepared to buy out Hangshan when they push for that and _________________________________ our South American channels later.

Tess: Yes! I think __________________________________. But we’ll have to look into our agreements with Brazil and Argentina more closely first. I __________________________ with hundred percent confidence right now.

Mike: Yeah, definitely. And when we talk with them let’s get on the same page about partnering, then… wait for Lisa to start pushing the whole Pan-Asian thing. We can play that a bit slow and see what we can squeeze out of them… and _____________________________________ until later… sound like a plan?

Grant: I think that will work. We know they want to work with us and I think we’ve got a __________________________.


In the video there are three guide questions to answer. Complete this task after listening to the dialogue, and discuss your answers with your teacher.

Guide Questions

1. Why does Mike mention NVP’s huge volume, huge network, and strong foothold in SE Asia?
2. What does Mike suggest as a way around the China problem?
3. Which idea does the team agree to save for later in the negotiation?


Acquaint yourself with the business vocabulary and idioms mentioned in the dialogue, and use them in sentences.


  1. Copy paste this list on a word file
  2. Define the vocabulary and idioms
  3. Use each of them in at least two sentences
  4. Submit your answer on google classroom

For example

back and forthto and froHe has been anxiously walking back and forth.
best bet
take on
kick into play
jump in
keen on
give up
burden in the hand
a way around
buy out
ahead of the game
game for
way forward
on the same page
squeeze out
sit on

Here’s More

Other posts you might find interesting



Negotiation Step 1: Pitching an Idea

The dialogue is between Mike and Jamie who are former colleagues. They happen to see each other in a trade show. They had an informal business conversation but actually initiated the first step in negotiation. By the end of the conversation, you are expected to answer the following questions.

Guide Questions

  1. In the beginning, what does Mike say his company is looking for?
  2. Which idea is Mike tentative or hesitant about?
  3. What is Mike going to do next?
  4. Identify at least five expressions from the dialogue, and used them in a sentence.
  5. What is the first step in negotiating?


Jamie: But it’s still a tough place to do business. I mean building a good network takes time.

Mike: Yeah. Good network like you guys have, right? Well, you know I thought you might be here this week and there’s something I’d like to run by you.

Jamie: Sure. I’m all ears.

Mike: Ok. So we both agree that Southeast Asia is a tough nut to crack …especially starting from scratch. And Sigma also understands the benefit of working with a local partner particularly in markets like Asia. So we’re looking for someone who’s establish in the region.. you know, find a good distributor to work with. Maybe NVP can be that for us.

Jamie: A distributor huh…All our guys are always keen to push more products through the network. We basically got the whole of Asia covered at this point. But…..

Mike: aha… but what?

Jamie: Well…. just thinking about how it might all work. They might want more than just a simple distribution deal…something more involved. If you know what I mean.

Mike: Ah yeah…. like a partnership? Well we’ve had discussions about this kind of thing back in Michigan before.

Jamie: And?

Mike: Yeah. Something like that might be possible, though I’m not sure about… all of Asia.

Jamie: So maybe start with Southeast Asia or something.

Mike: Yeah… could be.

Jamie: Well, they might push for something more extensive but either way they most likely be looking for some kind of an investment on your side.

Mike: Ok. So we put in some investment and you guys give us access to the market in your local network.

Jamie: Yeah I think something like that can make sense with the right company.

Mike: Well, I’ve got to say NVP is hard to beat on this part of the world and growth around here is just nuts.

Jamie: Yeah, definitely. You’re right about that.

Mike: Listen, how about this. I’ll take it back to Michigan and lay out the general idea. And if you could send me some sales figure and corporate history in the meantime I’ll touch base once I’m back in the states.

Jamie: Sure thing. I’ll start pulling some stuff together tomorrow and send them over before the end of the week and just let me know if there’s anything specific you think might help



business English

Dialogue: Partnership Collocation

Carlos: Thanks for coming in today Rolland… and thanks for signing the NDA. I think Miranda’s already filled you in on some of the background, but may be you have some questions?

Rolland: Yes, for starters, I’d love to hear about how you got to this point? Get a sense of your goals and the potential of this alliance, if I can call it that. Then go from there.

Carlos: For sure. And I should make clear here that we haven’t actually entered into talks on a formal partnership or anything. Not yet anyway.

Rolland: Right, you mentioned in your email that you’ve really just been nurturing a relationship… with… Visser, right?

Miranda: Yes, Visser Hotels and Resorts. Out of Chicago.

Rolland: Okay. Some interesting changes in leadership there recently. Anyway, you’ve been meeting with them for how long?

Carlos: Ur.. about six months now… They paid a visit back in June and let us know they were looking to forge a partnership with a winery… so they were basically meeting with a bunch of different ones to find the right fit.

Rolland: And your initial response was… positive?

Miranda: Of course! we’ve been on the lookout for synergies with other industries… other companies.. to foster collaboration. And hotels are big for us. A really good way to broaden our reach. That’s why we brought you in to help with that event with the Marriot.

Rolland: Yes, and … I remember talking with you at that time about shared values. The importance of shared values.

Carlos: Right. That came up in a meeting last week too.

Rolland: Glad to hear it. I’ve seen companies rush to combine forces before they’ve figured out whether there’s a fit. And so, my question with Visser, have you got that values match?

Miranda: Definitely. We’re very well aligned. And so building on that, more specifically, they’ve floated the idea of a wine club. That’s something that needs some fleshing out, but we’ve discussed some of how it might work. And possibly a private label down the road. Clearly, these are mutually beneficial ventures.

Rolland: Yeah, these are good ideas if done right. And so, you’ve identified some common goals, they feel like a good fit, now…. you’re looking for help on next steps?

Miranda: That’s right. We’re very excited about this. It could become a very significant growth driver. But they’re talking to other wineries as well. So we need to play this smart, and… well, that’s what we’d like your help with.


sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement)

  • I’m sorry, I can’t tell you that. I’ve signed an NDA.
  • Please tell them to sign an NDA to protect our company.

Enter into talks (“talks is another word for negotiation). This is used when companies begin negotiations.

  • Wish us luck as we enter into talks with China’s biggest retail company.
  • After that big, successful collaboration, we’ve entered into talks on formal partnership with Bikerz Inc.

formal partnership is a formal arrangement by two or more parties to manage and operate a business and share its profits.

  • A formal partnership with Bikerz Inc. is underway, and we’re very excited.
  • Formal partnership entails more than just handshakes and promises.

nurture a relationship

  • Hosting dinners and soirées are important ways for nurturing relationships with business partners.
  • It’s beneficial to any private companies to nurture a relationship with the government.

the right fit (a good match)

  • We need to talk to many retail companies to find the right fit.
  • Networking with several companies in the industry is a good way to find the right fit.

forge a partnership means to put in a lot of hark work in developing the partnership and making it official.

  • After months of talks, we have finally forged a partnership with Bikerz Inc.
  • Microsoft forging a partnership with Apple is a wishful thinking.

foster collaboration means to promote the growth or development of

  • Bikerz Inc. is fostering collaboration with non-government organizations (NGO) to promote safe and healthy environment.
  • Foreign companies know that fostering collaboration with the government is essential.

broaden your reach means to make or become greater in extent, volume, size, or scope

  • A collaboration with local companies is one way to broaden our reach.
  • Bikerz Inc. has forged a partnership with Shimano International, this will surely broaden their reach.

shared values are policies and practices that enhance the competitiveness of companies while improving social and environmental conditions in the regions where they operate

  • Our companies have almost similar shared values, this company merger will not be difficult.
  • The shared values our companies have are what’s holding it from bankruptcy.

combined forces means to begin working together in order to achieve something

  • Thanachart Bank and The Military Bank have combined forces during the pandemic.
  • Companies need to combine forces to stay afloat in the business world.

well-matched/ well aligned means appropriate for or very similar to each other

  • Their values are well-matched, this is the reason why their partnership has been successful.
  • Before you get into formal partnership, you need to make sure your companies’ values are well-aligned.

flesh out means to make (something) more complete by adding details 

  • A project framework has been delineated but the rest of the plans need fleshing out.
  • Several aspects of this proposal have to be fleshed out if we want this approved by the board of directors.

mutually beneficial means an arrangement between two parties that will yield positive results for both parties involved

  • This collaboration seems promising especially that it’s mutually beneficial.
  • Could you please draft a proposal that’s mutually beneficial for all the people concern?

common goals refers to an aim shared by more than one person or organization

  • Before we continue with our talks, I would like to know if we have common goals moving forward.
  • Forging this partnership is difficult because as it turns out we do not have common goals.

play it smart or make a good decision

  • We need to step up our game and play it smart if we want this partnership badly.
  • If you play it smart, you could gain big from trading in stocks.

Other Vocabulary

Alliance is a relationship where two countries or companies work closely together.

Synergy is the extra impact that comes from the joining of two things or the natural fit between two things.



Partnership Collocation. Business English Pod.

Bob Dignen. Communicating Business English. Compass Publishing.