By Paola Pascual on Feb 24, 2020 11:40:41 AM
Negotiations are not easy, but they're even harder if you're not a native speaker. And because knowing common expressions will help you get the upper hand, here you have a list with the 30 must-know idioms about negotiations and agreements that you can start using today at work.
Idioms About Negotiations & Agreements
Here you have a list with the most common idioms about negotiations and agreements. Check it out and put them in practice at work or with a teacher:
|■ The speaker was just beating around the bush and never said anything important.||- Talk about something without giving a direct answer|
|■ We will bend over backwards if the other party is committed.||- Make every effort to achieve something, especially to be fair or helpful|
|■ After insisting for months, the manager caved in to his demands.||- Submit under pressure; give in|
|■ You're the boss here – you get to call the shots.||- To be the person who controls a situation and/or makes the decisions|
|■ When I first met him I didn't like him but I've changed my mind.||- Change your decision|
|■ The salesman came in high during the negotiations and could not sell his product. / The company came in low with an offer for our product.||- Charge too much/too little for your services, to ask for a price that is too high/low|
|■ The participants seem unable to find common ground on the issue of environment.||- Agree about something, share opinions or interests|
|■ The questions were endless and we were unable to cover much ground during the meeting.|| - Talk about the important facts and details of something
|■ The union was flexible on the salary issue but they drew the line at talking about health benefits.||- Set a limit on what one is willing to do or accept|
|■ Our boss said that wages would improve soon but he never followed through with his promise.||- To be consequent with what was agreed, to keep a promise|
|■ She got the short end of the stick in the deal.||- To be in a disadvantaged situation, to suffer the bad effects of something|
|■ My grandfather was such a hard-nosed businessman.||- To be tough, stubborn, or uncompromising|
|■ She has a card up her sleeve if they ever try to fire her, since she knows about all those secret business practices.||- Have a strategy kept secret and in reserve for use when needed|
|■ I kept looking over to see if she was impressed, but she wore a poker face throughout the presentation.||- A blank, emotionless expression that gives no indication of one's thoughts or intentions|
|■ After hours of fierce negotiations, the president got the upper hand.||- A position of advantage, power, and/or control|
|■ I know she really wants the promotion, but she really hit me below the belt by telling the boss about my personal problems.||- Unfairly target someone’s weakness or vulnerability|
|■ Management holds all the cards when it comes to the negotiations over job cuts.
||- To be in a position of power or control over someone or something else|
|■ The election is in the bag.
||- Certain/Sure to be won, achieved, or obtained|
|■ You deserve honesty, so I'm going to lay my cards on the table: I can't offer you this job, but we may have another position that you'd be good for.||- To be frank and outspoken; to reveal something that you have kept hidden, such as your, intentions, opinion, etc.|
|■ We had no contract; it was done by a gentleman's agreement.||- An arrangement or understanding which is based on the trust of both or all parties, rather than being legally binding|
|■ I'll agree to some of your requests if you'll meet me halfway and allow me to implement some of my ideas.||- Compromise with someone, often in an argument or disagreement|
|■ Many consumers are still on the fence, waiting for a less expensive computer to come along.||- Undecided; not able to make a decision|
|■ He's a nice guy, but he can play hardball when he needs to.||- To be firm and determined in order to get what you want|
|■ As a manager, you have to put your foot down sometimes, or your staff will walk all over you.||- Use your authority; be inflexible in your position or decision|
|■ (a) Why are you second-guessing me now? You agreed with this strategy just yesterday! / (b) He had to second-guess what the environmental regulations would be in five years' time.||- (a) Question or doubt someone or something retroactively. (b) Try to anticipate how something will happen or what someone will do|
|■ Why don't you sleep on the offer and let us know your decision in the morning?||- Postpone a decision until the following day so that one has additional time to consider it|
|■ I kept trying to get our boss to find a bigger office, but she stood her ground.||- Refuse to change your opinion or give in|
|■ I’ve done everything I could. The ball is in your court now.||- It’s your turn to make a decision or take action|
|■ Andrea was about to play her trump card - without her signature none of the money could be released.||- A resource used to gain an advantage over others, often by being held and then used at an opportune time|
|■ Yes, we did have our disagreements but that's water under the bridge now.||- Problems that someone had in the past that they do not worry about because they happened a long time ago and cannot now be changed|
- Do you tend to second-guess your decisions?
- When was the last time you needed to sleep on something before making a decision?
- Do you ever play hardball when you negotiate?
- Talk about a time when you were on the fence about something.
- Talk about a time when your manager put his/her foot down.
- Would you say you're a hard-nosed negotiator or you don't mind meeting the other person halfway?
- When did you feel that a negotiation or a deal was in the bag?
- Do you always lay your cards on the table or do you tend to keep a card up your sleeve?
- When was a time in which you didn't follow through with a promise?
- Have you ever felt that you got the short end of the stick?
- Did you cover much ground during your last meeting?
- Who calls the shots in your department?
- When was the last time you caved in to someone's demands?
- Do you feel you always bend over backwards at work?
- What do you do when a colleague starts beating around the bush during a meeting or a presentation?
Fill the gaps with the correct word:
- He said he was uncompromising, but after some pressure he __ in to our requests.
- Listen, I want to lay all my __ on the table - we can't pay that much money but we can give you this package instead.
- I always feel I'm bending over __ and get nothing in return.
- You should talk to my manager about that, she's the one calling the __.
- I thought it would be a smooth negotiation, but she was playing __.
- It's a lot of money, let me __ on it and I'll tell you something tomorrow.
- They accepted our offer too quickly, I feel we came in __.
- He seemed like a nice guy, but we were unable to find common __ when we talked.
- I'm very flexible on the deadline, but I have to draw the __ with the budget.
- You promised to send me all the information, but you never followed __.
- I know we need to make a decision, but I'm still on the __.
- How are the negotiations going? - Well, it's not in the __ yet, but I think we've got the upper __.
- I didn't expect it, but he played his __ card and now we're stuck.
- We didn't have the best start, but that's water under the __ now.
- Please stop __ around the bush and get to the point.
Keep learning English idioms:
Coming up soon... (or download the PDF now for free)
- Problems at Work? Learn These 18 Idioms About Challenges
- 12 Perfect Idioms About Success To Show Off At The Office
Or the best way to improve your communications skills... practicing your English with a native-speaking teacher! Find out more about your English learning options with Talaera.
Talaera is an online platform that provides one-on-one English language training, anytime, anywhere, with 100% personalized lessons, HD video quality, and qualified teachers that will help you achieve your learning goals. Learn more.
Did you enjoy this post? We have more like this:
- The 7 Ultimate Tips You Need To Expand Your English Vocabulary
- The 30 common mistakes Germans make in English [+ Denglisch quiz]
- How To Learn The Difference Between 'Really' And 'Very'?
- 150+ Useful Email Phrases That Will Make Your Life Easier
- The 10 Proven Tactics You Need To Make Your Boss Say Yes
- What’s the difference between FOR and TO? Finally explained!
- 14 Simple Rules That Will Make You A Better Communicator
- Learning Business English? +20 Top Tips You Need To Know