Negotiation is an art that requires a wide range of skills, including the ability to communicate effectively. One of the key aspects of negotiation is understanding the terminology used in the process. Having a firm grasp of negotiation vocabulary is an invaluable asset at the round table. Whether you’re a student preparing for university, a business professional looking to improve your English skills, or someone interested in self-improvement, this guide is for you. Below, we delve into some essential negotiation vocabulary, complete with definitions and example sentences.

Business English negotiation vocabulary leads to a success

Table of Contents

  1. General Negotiation Terms
  2. Legal Terms in Business Negotiations
  3. Strategic Terms
  4. Conflict Resolution Terms
  5. Terms for Advanced Negotiators

General Negotiation Vocabulary Terms

Red Herring

Definition: A distraction or irrelevant point brought into a negotiation to divert attention from the main issue.
Example: “She brought up the red herring of office decor to steer the conversation away from salary negotiations.”


Definition: An enticing element or offer used to engage the other party.
Example: “The company used a signing bonus as a hook to attract top talent.”


Definition: A situation where neither party can make progress due to a lack of compromise.
Example: “The negotiation reached a stalemate when neither side would budge on the contract terms.”


Definition: A strategic move or opening offer made to gain an advantage.
Example: “His initial low offer was a gambit to test the seller’s flexibility.”

Split the Difference

Definition: A compromise where each party gives up an equal amount to meet in the middle.
Example: “They decided to split the difference and settle on a price that was fair to both.”

Legal Terms in Business Negotiations

Hostile Takeover

Definition: The acquisition of a company against the wishes of its management and board of directors.
Example: “The corporation initiated a hostile takeover by buying a majority of the shares.”


Definition: The act of gaining control over another company by purchasing its assets or shares.
Example: “The tech giant’s latest acquisition was a small startup specializing in AI.”

Shotgun Clause

Definition: A contractual provision that allows a partner to offer a buyout price, forcing the other partner to either accept the offer or buy out the offering partner at that price.
Example: “The shotgun clause was triggered when one of the co-founders wanted to exit the business.”

Strategic Terms

Using Negotiation Vocabulary Leverage

Definition: The advantage or power that one party has over another in a negotiation.
Example: “She had leverage in the negotiation due to her unique skill set in negotiation vocabulary.”

Use Negotiation Vocabulary during a Counteroffer

Definition: A new offer made in response to an offer received from another party.
Example: “He made a counteroffer that was slightly lower than the asking price.”

Conflict Resolution Terms


Definition: A process where a neutral third party helps the negotiating parties reach an agreement.
Example: “They decided to go for mediation to resolve their contractual disputes.”


Definition: A method of resolving disputes where a third party makes a binding decision.
Example: “The two companies agreed to arbitration to settle their legal issues.”give me a liost of

Terms for Advanced Negotiators

BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement)

Definition: The most advantageous alternative that a negotiating party can take if negotiations fail and an agreement can’t be made.
Example: “Knowing your BATNA gives you more confidence and leverage in negotiations.”

ZOPA (Zone of Possible Agreement)

Definition: The range in which an agreement is satisfactory to both parties involved in the negotiation.
Example: “The ZOPA was narrow, but they managed to find common ground.”

Understanding and utilizing negotiation vocabulary terms will not only improve your negotiation skills but also make you a more effective communicator. Whether you’re negotiating a business deal, resolving a conflict, or planning for success, a strong negotiation vocabulary is your best ally.

Now, put into practice your new vocabulary. And the best way by far to do that is with an experienced Canadian English teacher.

The Ultimate Guide to Negotiation Vocabulary: 15 Words and Terms You Need to Know
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