5663 English Business Negotiations (Master Program)
Nigel Reynard, B.A.(Hons.),LL.M.
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
02/22/23 to 04/14/23
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Subject(s) Master Programs
Day Date Time Room
Thursday 04/27/23 09:00 AM - 01:00 PM D4.0.136
Thursday 05/04/23 09:00 AM - 01:00 PM D4.0.136
Thursday 05/11/23 09:00 AM - 01:00 PM D5.1.004
Thursday 05/25/23 09:00 AM - 01:00 PM D4.0.136
Thursday 06/01/23 09:00 AM - 01:00 PM D4.0.136
Thursday 06/15/23 09:00 AM - 01:00 PM D4.0.136

Each session of the course is divided into

A. a theoretical part and
B. a practical skills part

This course will give students the opportunity to learn about and participate in business negotiations in a Legal and Business English context. Course participants will be able to build on their knowledge of contract law terminology and – just as crucially – the various expressions that can be employed when seeking to convince opposite parties to accept their arguments.

Course participants will also explore and discuss various cultural differences when it comes to negotiations, with a particular emphasis being placed on the subtleties as well as some of the perceived dos and don'ts of negotiations in the English-speaking world.

In an interactive approach, the theoretical part focuses on the structure of a negotiation, the language devices that can be used to direct a negotiation in the desired direction (questioning techniques, persuading, handling break-downs, etc.) as well as on strategies which are commonly employed in negotiations e.g. good cop-bad cop, slice the salami.

In the practical part students apply the theoretical knowledge acquired. The case study based simulations are partly held one-to-one or in teams. All negotiations are video-recorded and discussed in the following session. As follow-up assignment students are asked to watch the recordings on learn@wu and analyse their performance so that they can contribute actively in class.

Learning outcomes

After completing this course, students will have increased their awareness of the key strategic role that language and communication play in business negotiations and better understand the mechanisms underlying the linguistic techniquesemployed in negotiations. Moreover, course participants will have had impressed upon them the importance of employing measured and convincing arguments according to the specific context of each negotiation scenario acted out; these exercises will not essentially be a competition to see who can be the most forceful and/or say the most.

On the basis of study-related simulations students learn to apply strategic language (phrases and terminology) effectively by progressing from handling negotiations focusing on one issue only to complex ones.

Students will have improved their negotiation skills after analysis of video recordings made throughout the course.

By taking minutes of their fellow students' negotiations they are provided with the opportunity to reflect on the various aspects playing an important role and discussing those in class.

Students will have reached the Level C1 according to the Common European Framework.

Attendance requirements

Full attendance is obviously recommended, but participants can miss a maximum of one session if absolutely necessary.

Teaching/learning method(s)

Part A (theoretical part): interactive approach

Part B (practical skills part): case-studies based role-plays and simulations; video analysis of model negotiations and students´ own performance, with discussion


Attendance throughout Parts A and B is required (formal records of attendance will be kept).

Part A (theoretical part): written minutes of a negotiation (20 points)
Part B (practical skills part): active class participation (40 points) and final negotiation in which all acquired skills throughout the course have to be applied (40 points)
Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

Registration is required during the period of registration. It is effected on a first-come, first-served basis. Any unfilled slots will be filled from waiting lists in accordance with study progress and in cooperation with the Vizerektorat für Lehre und Studierende.


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Availability of lecturer(s)
Unit details
Unit Date Contents

The Basics

General genre profile

Preparing to negotiate

Relationship building

Establishing a procedure



Different sources of power

Impact of power on language use

Intercultural issues

The impact of culture on negotiation styles

Addressing potential sources of intercultural conflict

The proposal stage

Questioning techniques



Linguistic techniques for increasing rhetorical impact and persuasive forces

Powers of persuasion

Exploring interests

The bargaining zone


Disagreement and conflict

The role of language in escalating and de-escalating disagreement/conflict

Words with negative vs positive semantic load, politeness strategies

Handling breakdowns


Closing the deal

Conclusion and agreement


6 Final negotiations
Last edited: 2022-11-18