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Negotiating Skills - Ben's ELT Ireland Talk Part 2

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

BATNA, WATNA, HIT, ZOPA and More: Thinking About Teaching Negotiation Skills in Dublin

The second of my talks focused on what knowledge and skills we need as teachers or trainers to effectively develop our trainees’ capabilities in negotiation. Negotiation is traditionally considered one of the “big six” functions of Business English along with presenting, telephoning, socialising, writing and engaging in meetings and for which key structures and lexis are required.

Being an audience of English language teachers, there was little need to talk about the vocabulary and lexis so our focus was on how we can teach negotiating and what we need to know and teach beyond set language.

After a brief introduction, the audience were, without preparation or warning, dropped into a border dispute negotiation which, while was not representative of how the task would be conducted in a real training room with time for the negotiators to prepare and so on, served to involve people and get them thinking about negotiation and its teaching.

In a short, intensive lesson, a classic TTT (test, teach / train, test) approach for such tasks works well: - conduct and reflect on a negotiation

- deliver input and conduct practice tasks

- conduct and reflect on another negotiation allowing learners to apply the training

We the moved on to talk about the knowledge that a teacher may lack but which is required to teach negotiating; this included:

- acronyms such as BATNA, WATNA, HIT, WAP and ZOPA

- tactics such as highball-lowball, brinksmanship and so that negotiators need to use (if they judge it the right course of action) and guard against.

We concluded with the classic buyer-seller negotiation to allow the audience to test these approaches.

This all seemed to be well-received by a positive audience who engaged well with the tasks, who were willing to try and the approaches and keep the atmosphere light and positive.

ELT Ireland’s Annual Conference will return in February 2024. Michelle and I will be back representing Distance Cert.

You can download the slides below:

ELT Ireland Talk 2023 - Teaching Negotiations (Ben Dobbs)
Download PDF • 1.07MB

Teaching negotiation skills is one of the 40 units of The Distance Cert IBET. Find out more here:

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