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WUC 107/03
Workplace Communication
Meetings and Negotiations
Unit Overview
Welcome to Unit 5 of WUC 107/03 Workplace
Communication Skills. In this unit, we will focus on
meetings and negotiations.
It will help you plan as well as participate
actively and effectively in meetings. You will
learn how to chair meetings and how to make
sure that each meeting serves its purpose.

You will be introduced to words and phrases

which would normally be used at meetings and
you will practise using these terms.
This unit is divided into two sections.
The first section deals with effective
meetings. You will learn about the basic
requirements for a successful meeting.

You will learn how to write a clear

agenda as well as how to document the
minutes of a meeting in grammatically
correct English.
The second section helps you prepare
for successful negotiations.

You will learn the key terms to be used

at a negotiation so that you can
manage a negotiation

As you are aware, the use of correct

communication skills is essential to
Unit Objectives

By the end of Unit 5, you should be able to:

1. Identify different types of meetings, their purposes as well as
plan for them.
2. Produce documented actions and decisions made at meetings.
3. Conduct business meetup effectively and productively.
4. Explain how communication technology tools can enhance
5. Explain what makes a successful negotiation.
6. Justify positions, make and respond to proposals and bargain
effectively in a negotiation.
7. Evaluate conflict and sticky issues firmly but politely and close
a negotiation satisfactorily.
Unit Introduction
The fact that there are so many meetings held
everyday shows that meetings must
serve an important purpose. Meetings are
held to deal with issues that cannot
be solved with a simple telephone call,
memo or email message. Why then do we
sometimes emerge from meetings feeling
that we have wasted our time?
5.1 Effective Meetings
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Define the purpose of a meeting.
2. Prepare an agenda for a meeting.
3. Plan for a meeting.
4. Conduct and participate actively and
effectively in a meeting.
5. Produce the minutes of a meeting.
6. Appraise the effectiveness of a meeting.
Have you ever wondered whether there is a need to
call for a meeting and what you should actually do
after you make a decision to do so? Have you ever
asked yourself what you are supposed to do when
informed by your superior that you have to attend a
This section guides you through from the moment
you decide to hold a meeting or are informed that
you have to attend a meeting, to
the preparation involved and finally, to a review of
the meeting to decide on its
Organising effective meetings
Ensuring the need for a meeting
Very often, participants at a meeting find that
they are none the wiser at the end of a meeting.

Many feel that time and company money have

been wasted as no definite
decision was made and no new ideas were
With the convenience of the telephone, email and fax
machines, the need to hold a meeting can sometimes be

If you just want to inform a few people in

the organisation about a decision, you can easily email just
the people concerned without having to get them away
from their workstations to attend a meeting.

A meeting should only be held when it is necessary.

Why did he call for
the meeting ?
Consider the following before you decide to call
for a meeting.
1. A meeting must have a definite goal or purpose.
2. The agenda of the meeting should clearly
indicate how participants should prepare for the
3. A meeting which can be replaced by an email
message should never be held
at all.
Depending on your job, you may be
attending meetings once a week or even
several times a day.

Do remember that meetings can be useful

and are very often essential in an
organisation. Properly planned meetings can
achieve a lot.

They can solve problems and develop team

Determining the type of meeting
Different situations require different types of
meetings. Each type of meeting serves
a different purpose and the structure of each type
of meeting is therefore different.
There are various ways of categorising meetings.
1. Regular meetings are held weekly or monthly
and follow-up action is expected
after every meeting.
2. For irregular meetings, participants are called
together because of a special
project and they usually will not need to meet
again once the project is accomplished.
Meetings can also be classified into discussion
meetings and briefings.
1. Discussion meetings require participants to share
ideas and opinions. An
example of a discussion meeting is the problem-
solving meeting.
2. Briefings are meetings where one or a few speakers
deliver information to
the listeners. In this case, there is little participation
from the people present
except for a few questions here and there. Sales
presentations and training
sessions are examples of such meetings.
With the advanced technology, we now have
teleconferencing which permits
people from all corners of the world to participate
in a discussion. These meetings can be conducted
without people having to physically leave their

With teleconferencing, the cost of meetings can

be reduced as people do not have to travel to
attend a meeting. We hope that some time soon,
such facilities will be available to you so that you
can have better communication with everyone
taking this course.
Defining the purpose of a meeting
It is crucial to know the purpose of a meeting.
Participants can only prepare for a meeting
when the goal is clearly defined.

The goal of a meeting is what you expect to

achieve at the end of a meeting. The goal is
however very much related to the type of
A meeting is usually held for
one of two basic purposes:
1. To give information.
2. To elicit information.
A clear idea of the objective to be accomplished at
a meeting is essential in order
for a meeting to be effective.

You must know what you hope to achieve at the

end of a meeting and a successful meeting must
achieve the intended objective.

You should be able to phrase your objective by

completing the following sentence:
By the end of the meeting, the group should .
Activity 5.1
Phrase the objectives for the following meetings:
1. A meeting held after complaints by customers about
poor quality control of your products.

2. A meeting of residents in an area where there have

been many cases of petty thefts.

3. A meeting of company executives after employees

have threatened to go on strike unless there is a pay rise.

4. A meeting with company executives after a group of

tourists have demanded compensation for poor food
and service during their package tour.
Preparing an agenda for a meeting
A memo is a notice to inform participants about the
meeting. It will have to be sent out before the
meeting. All memos or letters calling for a meeting
should include the following:

1. Date and place of meeting

2. Time meeting is scheduled to start and end
3. Meeting objectives
4. Agenda
Grammar 5.1
A memo calling for a meeting should be
written in the future tense.

1. A meeting of the Graphics Department will be held

on .
2. There will be a meeting to discuss .

The agenda serves as a guideline to both the chairperson and the

participants. An agenda is a list of items to be considered or discussed
at any meeting. It gives a sense of purpose to the meeting and ensures
that everyone stays focused. It is usually the duty of the chairperson
and his/her secretary to prepare the agenda.
1. Topics to be covered and a discussion leader or presenter for
each topic.
2. Any background information that participants should know so
they can be prepared to contribute to the meeting.
It is always best to keep the agenda
simple and concise. Items on
the agenda should be prioritised. It is the
duty of the chairperson or the secretary
to make sure that each person knows why
he/she is being invited to attend the

The agenda must be realistic

to ensure that all items can be discussed
within the time allocated.
Below is an example of a memo
calling for a meeting. This
is not a regular meeting. The
participants for this meeting are
called up for a special purpose.
Note that the memo is made up of
two parts:
1. Notice of meeting
2. Agenda
To: Ali Hassan
Tom Ariea
Lim Lee Lin
Sunita a/p Guna
Jason Tan
Asmah Ahmad
From: Alex Tan (Chair)
Re: New sales strategies
There will be a meeting to brainstorm for new sales strategies on
Friday, 29 May 2014 from 3.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. in the Conference
Your attendance is compulsory and will be much appreciated.
1. Opening address Alex Tan
2. Report on sales for Jan June 2008 Ali Hassan
3. Strategies proposed by head office Lim Lee Lin
4. Brainstorming All
5. Summary of decisions and action Alex Tan
Below is another example of a notice calling for
a meeting. The agenda for the meeting is also
given. This is also not a regular meeting as
participants are called because a problem has
arisen and they need to work out a solution to
the problem.

Notice that the purpose of the meeting is clearly

Hitech Car Company
Meeting date: 10 March 2014 Meeting time: 10.00 a.m. 11.00 a.m.
Venue: Conference Room 1
Purpose: Discuss action to be taken to prevent further decline in
car sales.
Chairperson: Mr. Tan Teik Kooi Note-taker: Ms. Ranee a/p Sivam
Participants: Ms. Lee Lay Lee
En. Ramli Abdullah
Mr. Lee Nai Lee
Cik Norizan Ahmad
Ms. Sunita a/p Ramesh
Agenda Items Presenter Action Attention
1. Opening address Tan Briefing All
2. Report on car sales Ramli Presentation All
for June Dec 2013
3. Suggestions to prevent Norizan Presentation All
further drop in sales
4. Discussion on other All Brainstorming All
5. Items for future Tan Briefing All
6. Date of next meeting Tan All
The next example is of an agenda of a
regular meeting. Regular meetings will
follow up on what was discussed in the
previous meeting.

Such meetings usually update the staff on

what action has been taken since the last
meeting and inform the staff of any new
At regular meetings, two items must be added to
the agenda.

1. Confirmation of minutes of previous meeting

2. Matters arising
Minutes of the previous meeting have to be confirmed to
ensure that what has been recorded is correct. A person
present at the previous meeting must propose that the
minutes be passed and another person must second the

If there are any mistakes to the minutes, then an amendment

has to be made.
1. Apologies for absence
2. Confirmation of minutes of previous meeting
3. Matters arising
4. Annual staff dinner
5. Selection of event organiser
6. Any other business
7. Date of next meeting
Grammar 5.2
All the items on the agenda must start as a noun or a noun
If you have a verb at the beginning of the agenda item,
always change it to a noun phrase. E.g., Change discuss
product launch to discussion of product launch.

1. Appointment of new Department Head
2. Discussion of product launch
3. Report on production figures
Grammar 5.3
Look at the agenda below. Rewrite each item on the agenda so that
it starts with a noun or noun phrase.

1. Pass the minutes of the last meeting
2. Select a place for the dinner
3. Mr. Lee will report on the sales figures
4. Discuss sales strategies
5. Decide on the date of the next meeting

1. Confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting
2. Selection of a place for the dinner
3. Report on the sales figures
4. Discussion of sales strategies
5. Date of the next meeting
Vocabulary 5.1
Match each word with people or things it includes.
1. Documents
2. 2. agenda
3. facilities 1. d
4. refreshments
5. equipment 2. f
6. office bearer 3. a
a. conference room, tables, chairs
4. E
b. overhead projector, microphone, 5. b
laptop 6. c
c. chairperson, secretary, treasurer
d. memos, handouts, minutes
e. coffee, sandwiches, fruit
f. meeting objectives, matters arising,
confirmation of minutes of previous
Vocabulary 5.2
Meeting terminology
A motion is a subject for discussion at a meeting.
A resolution is a decision made at a meeting.
An amendment is a correction made at a meeting. This is
usually done to minutes of the previous meeting.
Minutes: The minutes of a meeting record what was said and
decided upon at a meeting.
Show of hands: This is one way to show that you approve of
something at a meeting. You can be asked to show if you agree by a
show of hands.
Ballot: This is a piece of paper that is used in secret voting. At some
meetings, voting is done by a show of hands. At other meetings,
voting is done by secret ballot.

Off the record: Sometimes, people say certain things they do not
want recorded in the minutes of a meeting. They then say that their
remarks should be off the record or not recorded.

Propose, Proposer, Proposal: When someone proposes something at

a meeting, he/she makes a suggestion which is then discussed. The
suggestion is called a proposal and the person who made it is called
the proposer.
I second the

I propose that ..

Second, Seconder: When someone seconds a

motion, he/she supports the motion
brought up by the proposer. A person
who seconds a motion is called a
Adopt, Adoption: When people at a meeting adopt a motion, they
vote to accept the motion.

Office bearer: This is someone who holds a position on a

committee e.g., the chairperson, secretary, treasurer or another
member of the committee.

Quorum: This is the minimum number of persons who must be

present at a meeting before the proceedings can be considered legal.
The required number may vary from one organisation to another.

Adjourn: To adjourn is to end a meeting. When we say that the

meeting adjourned at 5.00 p.m., we mean that the meeting ended
at 5.00 p.m.
Activity 5.2
Read the following dialogue at a meeting and fill in the
blanks with the appropriate words you would use at a
meeting. You can refer to Vocabulary 5.2 on pages 13 14
or use words you have come across during meetings at your
Chair: Right. You have read the minutes of the last meeting. Any
______________? amendments
Tom: I _____________ that the minutes be passed. propose
Ali: I ____________ that. second
Chair: Next item on the __________. We have to _________
for ideas for the Christmas party. agenda brainstorm
Ranjit:I ____________ that we hold the party at a hotel by the
beach. propose
Ali: I suggest that family members of staff be ____________.
Tom: I dont agree. That will incur too much expenditure.
Chair: Lets put it to the ____________. Can we have a show of
_______________ from those who want the families
invited? vote hands
Vocabulary 5.3
Choose the most appropriate word in the brackets below.
1. Before the meeting takes place, we should invite (audience /
participants) to propose items for the agenda.
2. Drawing up the (problem / agenda) is usually done by the
secretary or the chairperson.
3. The (chairperson / treasurer) usually opens the meeting.
4. The first item in the meeting is usually (Matters Arising / Actions
5. For a whole-day meeting, it is typical to (take breaks / eat out)
for lunch.
6. During a meeting, we can ask for a (kick start / time out) if we
are feeling tired.
7. You will take the minutes if you have been (nominated /
seconded) to do so in a meeting.
8. Finally, the chairperson will (exit / close) the meeting.

1. Participants 2. agenda 3. chairperson 4. Matters Arising 5. take breaks

6. time out 7. nominated 8. close
Activity 5.3
Writing Practice
Write a memo calling for a meeting using a format you feel
comfortable with. Make sure you state the objective clearly
and that the agenda is clearly worded. To ensure that this
exercise is of practical value to you, we leave you to decide
on the objective of the meeting. Try to relate it to your
workplace. You can email what you have written to your
tutor for comments and feedback.
Identifying suitable participants for a meeting
Invite only the people who need to be there. This would refer to
people who have something to contribute or who will have a role
to play. These people may have expertise or knowledge in the
area you plan to discuss.
Defining and assigning tasks
Identify participants to prepare for certain items on the agenda. For problem
-solving meetings, you may want the group to read up on background

In this case, you may want to indicate that every participant should come up
with a possible solution to the problem. This will set everyone thinking before
the meeting so that no one is unprepared.
Choosing an appropriate place for a meeting
The location depends on the size of the group
expected to attend a meeting.

A small room crammed with too many people

can be stuffy. The place of the
meeting should be convenient to the

You do not want them to drive

thirty minutes to attend a one-hour meeting.
Starting and ending a meeting on time
All meetings should start punctually to be fair to those who are on time.
Starting a meeting punctually also shows how serious you are about
making the meeting effective.

It is the duty of the chairperson to politely stop a participant who has

overshot his/her time. A simple statement will prevent a speaker from
rattling on.
1. I think we have to move on. We can return to this
subject later if time permits.
2. Were running short of time. Shall we move on?
It is the duty of the chairperson to make sure that a meeting ends on time.
Stick to your time limit. Do remember that those attending the meeting have
other commitments. So, if a meeting is scheduled from 10.00 a.m. to 11.00
a.m., then make sure you adjourn the meeting at 11.00 a.m. and not one hour
Documenting actions and decisions made at a meeting
Minutes of all meetings must be recorded and properly filed. The minutes
provide a summary of what happened at a meeting in the order of the

Keep a proper
All minutes must include:
1. The name of the organisation.
2. The date, time and place of the meeting.
3. The names of those who attended and those
who were absent.
4. Approval or amendments made to minutes of
the previous meeting.
5. A brief write-up of the discussion and
decisions made.
6. Actions to be taken.
There are three steps involved in the writing of the minutes of a meeting:
Step 1 " Study the agenda.

Sachet Technology
To: Names of members
From: Name of chairperson
A meeting to discuss the annual company dinner will be
held in the Conference
Room on Monday, 2 March 2014 from 9.00 a.m. to 10.00
a.m. Your attendance will
be much appreciated.
1. Apologies for absence
2. Confirmation of minutes of previous meeting
3. Matters rising
4. Selection of venue and date
5. Selection of event organiser
6. Any other business
7. Date of next meeting
Step 2 " Write notes following the agenda.
Take notes in the order of the agenda. Do not write complete sentences.
1. Apologies for absence " Jane Tan, MC
2. Confirmation of minutes of previous meeting " Ajita
Pillai, Denis
3. Matters rising " RM20,000 from CEO for dinner
4. Selection of venue and date
Suggested venue " Traders Hotel, Bayview Pacific Hotel
and Evergreen Hotel
Teana " check on prices by 20 March
Date: Saturday, 25 April
5. Selection of event organiser
Source event organiser; get quotations " John Lim " 20
6. Any other business
Retirees in 2014 " to be invited
7. Next meeting " 9.00 a.m. 20 March " Conference Room
8. Adjourned 10.00 a.m
Step 3 " Write the minutes from the notes.
Grammar 5.4
Be careful with grammar when writing the minutes of a meeting.
You will normally use the past perfect tense, simple past tense and
simple future tense when writing minutes.
The simple past tense describes what took place during the meeting.
If you proposed something at a meeting, that should be recorded
in the simple past tense.

1. John Lim proposed that Christmas Eve be declared a

2. The Chair announced that there would be an Open
Day in early August.
3. It was decided that Anjita Pillai be appointed the new
Customer Relations Manager.
The past perfect tense refers to something which happened before
the meeting. If you conducted research on consumer preferences
before the meeting and you report that at the meeting, then what
you say about the research should be recorded in the past perfect

1. Marina Musa had conducted research on consumer

2. The Chair had asked the CEO for an allocation for the
staff dinner.
3. The discussion with the supplier had resulted in a
The simple future tense tells about what action has to be taken
after the meeting. If anyone is given a duty to perform after the
meeting, that should be recorded in the simple future tense.

1. John Lim will source for a new supplier.

2. Teana Hassan will check on the complaints lodged by
regarding quality control.
3. Josephine Aeira will advertise for tenders.
Activity 5.4
Writing Practice
Read the following transcript of a part of a conversation at a meeting.
Proceed to write the minutes of the meeting, bearing in mind the
three tenses you will need to use. Use the outline given after the
conversation below as a guide. You can add in whatever you think
is necessary to make the minutes complete.
Chair: Next item on the agenda is matters arising. Yes, I would
like to thank Lyn for taking care of foreign investors during
their visit.
Lyn: Thank you. I enjoyed doing that.
Chair: I have noticed several people reporting late for work this
week. As department heads, would you care to explain this
John: Yes. Three out of the ten people in my department reported
late this week. All three claimed it was because of the rain.
Ann: No one from my department was late " not even on rainy
Mida: One person from my department was late but she had
applied for time off the day before. Her daughter is sick.
Lee Li:I reprimanded the person who came in late this week. He
is very often late and I have already sent him a warning
Chair: John, do you have people who come in late on a regular
John: Yes. Ive spoken to them several times but they dont seem
to be bothered.
Chair: Send them to see the Human Resources Manager the next
time they are late.
John: Yes, Ill do that.
Chair: Next on the agenda. Oh, yes. We have six vacancies in three
departments. Lyn, can you put an advertisement in all the
Lyn: Yes, Ill put an advertisement in all the daily newspapers.
Chair: Make sure the advertisements are in the Malay, Chinese
and Tamil newspapers.
Lyn: Sure. The advertisements should be out by 5 May.
Chair: Okay. Any other matters? If not, the next meeting will be
on 12 May at the same time and place. Is that fine with
everyone? Right then, thank you for your attendance
You can write the minutes using the example provided in the next
page. Remember that you need to record important details for
each item of the agenda.
Minutes of a weekly meeting of department heads held
in the Conference Room on Monday, 27 April 2014 from
9.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m.
1. Apologies for absence
2. Confirmation of minutes of previous meeting
3. Matters rising
6. Date of next meeting
The meeting adjourned at 10.00 a.m.
Recorded by: Confirmed by:
(Secretary) (Chair)
Reviewing the effectiveness of a meeting
At the end of every meeting, the effectiveness of the meeting should be reviewed.
Decide whether you managed to achieve the meeting objectives. If you did, how
did you manage to do so? If you did not, why not? Any improvements suggested
should be implemented at the next meeting. You can ask the participants for
comments at the end of the meeting.
Sometimes, questionnaires are distributed to participants to allow them to
assess the meeting. The questions are usually simple and direct and would just
require a Yes or a No as an answer or a grading of 1 5. This will allow the
chairperson to modify the meeting procedure for the next meeting.

Were the goals of the meeting met? Yes/No

Was there a balanced discussion? Yes/No
Did the presentations achieve their purpose? Yes/No
Was the time allocated for the meeting appropriate? Yes/No
Guidelines for effective participation
Participation is the soul of all meetings. Of
course, when it is a briefing, one person will
dominate the meeting as this person will be
providing most of the information.
Some participants may give the impression of being rude when they do not
mean to be just because they phrase their opinions or objections incorrectly.
Compare the statements below and note that you can avoid being rude by
rephrasing what you say.
Examples of rude statements

1. That is a silly suggestion.

2. I want to finish presenting my opinion.
3. You have gone out of point.
Examples of polite statements

1. I dont think I agree with that suggestion.

2. Can I continue and finish off?
3. I think were moving away from our topic.
Identifying language specific to meetings
As English is widely used in the business world, most business meetings are
conducted in English. There are various aspects of language involved in
These range from the formal language of chairing and controlling official
meetings to the language of opinion giving, agreeing, disagreeing, persuading,

I think he made
I dont see the a good point.
Below are some phrases you may
find helpful.
1. Asking for opinions
What are your feelings on ... ?
What do you think of ... ?
Whats your opinion of ... ?
Could we hear your opinion of ... ?
2. Giving opinions
Im inclined to think ... .
I think ... .
My opinion is ... .
I feel that ... .
Im absolutely sure that ... .
I tend to think ... .
3. Agreeing
I completely agree with you.
I agree.
Well, yes.
Thats right.
I couldnt agree more.
That seems reasonable.
4. Disagreeing
I agree up to a point but ... .
I dont agree at all.
Im afraid I dont agree with you.
I totally disagree with you.
I disagree.
Thats completely wrong.
Activity 5.5
Complete the conversation below according to the functions stated.
Make use of the words given in brackets.
Amin and Anne are discussing a proposal brought up by Kelvin at
the meeting.

Kelvin: I propose that we cancel the order

we placed last month.
1. Todisagree Amin: ______________________________________ .
2. To give a reason ________________________________________ .too late to
cancel the order)
3. To express a Anne: ________________________strong opinion
_____________ .
(convinced, right decision,
cancel order)
4. To involve others ______________________________________ .(comment)
5. To recommend Ju Li: _____________________________________ .
(think it over)
Activity 5.5
1. I totally disagree with you.
2. It is too late to cancel the order.
3. Im convinced that the right decision would be
to cancel the order.
4. Would you like to comment, Ju Li?
5. Why dont we think it over?
Activity 5.6
Choose the best word to complete the sentence
positively keen thoughts focus idea
negative extent respond

1. Excuse me, Id like to _________ to that last comment made by Ms. Jasmine.

2. Everyone, we need to __________ on the key issues, not irrelevant details

3. A lot of people have responded _____________ to the new election campaign
4. Kindly share your ___________ with all of us here. Wed like to hear them.

5. A few members of this group seem to hold a ___________ view of this plan.

6. I think to a certain ______________ the plan might work but we need to have a
good consultant.

7. Does anybody else have an ____________ to share with us here?

8. Im not so _____________ on paying such amount of commission to the publisher.

Activity 5.6
1. respond
2. focus
3. positively
4. thoughts
5. negative
6. extent
7. idea
8. keen
Preparing for meetings
The chairperson will prepare for a meeting differently from the participants. In
addition to preparing the agenda and sending out a memo calling for a meeting,
the chairperson must know what he/she expects of himself/herself.

If you are a participant at a meeting, then you need to know the purpose and
the final objective of the meeting. You must source for information so that you
will be able to contribute productively at the meeting.
If you have been assigned a task, then make sure you do the necessary
The task assigned to you will normally be shown on the agenda.
Participating actively at meetings
There are many ways you can participate actively
at meetings. If you are the chairperson, it is quite
obvious you will automatically be involved.

If you are a participant, then the chairperson will

usually ask for your opinion. If you have prepared
for a meeting, then you should be able to voice
your opinions confidently at the appropriate time.
Below are some rules to remember when you are at
1. Be courteous and respect the opinions of others.
2. Ask questions when you need to but remember
that participating actively
does not require you to monopolise any discussion.
3. Make sure what you say is concise and that you do
not beat around the bush.
4. You may disagree with the ideas of others but
never criticise anyone.
5. Do not take rejection of your ideas personally and
do not get defensive when others do not agree with
To be effective as a participant, you must
remember to relax and to smile often. Do
not be serious all the time. Where
appropriate, inject some humour into what
you say.
Creating a positive impact at meetings
Whether you are the chairperson or a participant at a meeting, you naturally want
to create a positive impact at the meeting. Once a positive impact is created, people
will listen to you and it may mean better opportunities at the workplace.

The right attire, a smile on the face, a firm handshake and the appropriate
greeting should start you off on the right footing. Greet everyone you know at
the meeting and introduce yourself to anyone you do not know.


1. Hello, Im Chris Lim; and you are ?

2. Hello, Kumar. How are you?
Do make it a point to remember the names of all those present at a

1. Anne, I dont think I agree with that

2. Ali, will you write the minutes for
this meeting, please?
However, at a formal meeting, you will need to refer to them in a more formal

1. Ms. Lim, I dont think I agree with that

2. Encik Ali, will you write the minutes for
this meeting, please?
In order to be able to create a good impact, it is important to speak confidently
and clearly.

The tone of your voice is very important. You can show enthusiasm and
sincerity through your tone of voice and body language. A person who speaks
confidently and with enthusiasm will definitely impress more than one who
mumbles away in a monotone.
Leading meetings effectively

Can I have your

Attention, please?
Most meetings take up too much time or lack sufficient purpose. These are
problems that an effective chairperson can prevent.

The chairperson has two tasks:

1. Dealing with the subject of the meeting so that the meeting achieves its

2. Dealing with the people present at the meeting.

Starting punctually
A chairperson who starts a meeting punctually gives a good first impression.

Beginning effectively
The way you start a meeting is of utmost importance. You begin a meeting
by greeting the participants and welcoming them.


1. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Shall

we get started?
2. Good afternoon, everyone. Can I call the
meeting to order?
If it is a meeting of a small group, make sure
you introduce participants who do
not know one another. Then, according to the
agenda, you proceed with apologies from those
who are unable to attend the meeting.
Activity 5.7
Match the word/phrase with its corresponding expression (opening
a meeting).
1. Starting
2. Welcoming and
3. Apologies for absence Activity
4. Introducing the agenda 5.7
5. The minutes 1. f
6. Process and roles 2. d
7. Length of a meeting 3. a
a. Im afraid Ms. Poon cannot be with us 4. g
today because of some personal 5. b
matters. 6. c
b. Ms. Jane, could you take the minutes? 7. e
c. I suggest we go round the table first.
d. Id like to start by welcoming everybody.
e. Can we keep each item to ten minutes?
f. Lets get down to business.
g. Have you all seen the agenda of
todays meeting?
Activity 5.8
There are errors in each of the sentences below. Rewrite the
so that they are correct.
1. Have you all seen the agenda for the meeting today?
2. Id like for hear what everyone has to say before we make a
3. The meeting is fixed to finish at 3.00 p.m.
4. Jacinta will takes the minute of the meeting.
5. Ali Hassan apology for be absent the meeting.
Activity 5.8 ( answers)
1. Have all of you read the agenda for the
meeting today?
2. Id like to hear what everyone has to say before
we make a decision.
3. The meeting is scheduled to finish at 3.00 p.m.
4. Jacinta will take the minutes of the meeting.
5. Ali Hassan sends his apologies for being
absent from the meeting.
Using an agenda
The chairperson should review the agenda and identify the aims and objectives
once the meeting starts.

Keeping to the agenda and making sure that you do not allow the members to
digress from the items on the agenda is the only way to make sure that
precious time is not wasted.

The chairperson who uses and follows an agenda is a person who must be able
to manage and control the participants.


1. I think we are digressing. Shall we get

back to what we were discussing?
2. Were digressing. Shall we go back to
the agenda?
Activity 5.9
Fill in the blanks with the correct word
Skip motivate come to reformulate
Clarify side-tracked assume scope

1. She tried to __________ people to attend the meetings by

serving fancy refreshments.
2. Can we just _____________ the question for now?
3. If you dont ____________ the meeting, the manager will
surely notice your absence.
4. I ___________ all of you have understood the terms and
conditions proposed?
5. Its obvious that were getting _________________ . We need
to stick to our original topic of discussion.
6. Please remember that complaints are outside the _________
of this discussion.
7. Halim just confused everybody more by giving all those
statistics in order to try and _________ his point.
8. I suggest we ______________ our approach as the original
plan is not working.
Activity 5.9
1. motivate
2. skip
3. come to
4. assume
5. side-tracked
6. Scope
7. clarify
8. reformulate
Activity 5.10
Fill in the blanks with the correct words.
1. I think we are ____________ (digressing/sidetracking). Can
we come back to the main point?

2. She tried to ____________ (clarify/restructure) her point so

that the others could understand.

3. In ____________ (other/simple) words, are you proposing a


4. Were short of time. Shall we ____________ (overlook/skip)

this item?

1. digressing
2. clarify
3. other
4. skip
Staying focused
Focus on agenda items. Even if these items are clearly listed and emphasised,
intelligent and committed people may stray from the topic.
To get a meeting back on track, the chairperson can say:

We are going off topic and need to move back to .

The chairperson goes on to repeat the topic or question.

When a participant strays from the subject, he/she should be brought back with
a polite reminder:

Could you relate that to what were discussing?

Make sure all items on the agenda are covered and necessary action
Balancing the discussion

Make sure it is

Effective meetings are participatory and good leaders try to get everyone
Make sure everyone has a chance to offer an opinion.
As chairperson, you need to balance the ideas and opinions presented in the
discussion. You should recognise any opinion presented and ask for others.

1. Thats a good point, Tom. Can we have

other ideas?
2. Thats interesting. Would anyone like to
add to that?

In order to make the best decision, it is wise to listen to as many viewpoints as


The chairpersons duty is to ask questions and listen to the answers. You call for
a meeting because you want to listen to the opinions of the participants. Asking
questions, listening to ideas and showing respect for each speaker will help keep
a discussion balanced.
Do remember that structuring your questions the right way will help you get
the opinions and ideas you want.

Ask open-ended questions that will require the participants to express their
feelings or opinions.

1. Whatof do
Examples you think
open-ended will
questions happen if we decide to
reduce production?
2. What do you like about this proposal?
Never ask a close-ended question that requires merely a Yes or a No as an
answer. These close-ended questions do not give participants a chance to
contribute further to the discussion.
Examples of close-ended questions

1. Do you agree?
2. Do you like the idea?
Activity 5.11
Read the following questions and rewrite them so
they become open-ended questions.
1. Do you think it is a good idea?
2. Do you agree with Tom?
3. Do you support his proposal?
4. Is it the best choice?
5. Do you want to accept the quotation?
Activity 5.11
1. What do you think of the idea?
2. Can we have your opinion about Toms suggestion?
3. What are your thoughts about his proposal?
4. What is your opinion of that choice?
5. Can we hear what you have to say about the quotation?
Vocabulary 5.4
Mark each question as either OPEN or CLOSED.
1. What exactly are you trying to say? [] []
2. What does the device do? [] []
3. How could you explain that in simple [] []
4. Are we going to vote on that issue? [] []
5. Have you presented our annual budget? [] []
6. Tell me frankly, do you like his idea? [] []

Vocabulary 5.4
1. O
2. O
3. O
4. C
5. C
6. C
Making decisions and delegating assignments and duties
Discussions should not go on for too long. Participants lose interest if the
discussion is too lengthy. A time frame of fifteen or twenty minutes is sufficient
for a discussion of any topic.

1. Im afraid we now have to come to a decision before we

move on to the next item on the agenda.
2. Can we come to a decision now?
3. We shall decide by a show of hands.
When a decision has been made, summarise your objective and the decision
If duties have been assigned to participants, this must also be mentioned. The
deadline for action should be included in your summary.

1. Good. We have decided to allocate RM5,000 to door

gifts for the function. John will source for the gifts and
report to us by 5 December 2013.

2. Great! We have all agreed that the factory will be closed

for ten days from 24 December 2013 to 2 January 2014.
Aminah will prepare a memo to be circulated to all staff
members by 1 December 2013.
Ending effectively
Similar to an essay, a meeting has a beginning, a body and an end. After you start
a meeting, you discuss the matters on the agenda and make certain decisions.
It is normally good to prepare the participants for the end of a meeting.

1. We have covered all items on the agenda. Is there

anything else we need to discuss?

2. I believe thats all for today. Is there anything else?

The chairperson should end by expressing his/her appreciation to the participants.

1. Thank you for your contributions.

2. Thank you for attending the meeting.

A meeting should end when all the items on the

agenda have been covered or when time allotted to the
meeting is up.
Activity 5.12
Match the word/phrase with its corresponding expression (closing
a meeting).
1. Completing the agenda
2. Summarising
3. Delaying decisions
4. Final questions
5. Confirm new
6. Next meeting
7. Closing the meeting
a. Before we close, let us sum up the
main points.
b. Can I check just one thing?
c. I suggest we go round the table first.
d. It was a pleasure to see you all today.
e. You should have the copy of the
minutes by tomorrow.
f. I think weve covered everything.
g. We need more time to decide on this.
Vocabulary 5.5
Fill in the blanks with the correct phrasal verb.

agree with carry out drawing up came to

put forward

1. The task to ____________the project required considerable

amount of time and energy.
2. The Chairperson ___________ a suggestion that was wellreceived
by the participants.
3. Nobody seemed to __________ him about the steps to solve
the financial issues.
4. The group eventually ___________ a decision after five hours
of discussion.
5. The committee was responsible for __________ an action plan.
Tips on how to make a meeting successful
A successful meeting requires a chairperson who is prepared, unbiased and
capable of getting the participants to contribute.

The choice of location and facilities also help determine the success of a meeting.

If you have planned for a lengthy meeting, arrange for breaks and refreshments.
Finish on time and make sure the minutes are written and distributed to the
participants well ahead of the next meeting.
Activity 5.13
Role play
This is a role play activity which will be conducted when you attend the next tutorial

You live in an area where the city council has decided to demolish
all the houses to cater for a highway. All property owners have
been offered compensation based on market value. Some owners
are happy with the offer, some do not want to move for sentimental
reasons and another group wants to negotiate for a better price.
The council president calls for a meeting of all property owners
affected. Below is the agenda for the meeting.
1. Opening address by Council President
2. Briefing on property acquisition and compensation by Council
3. Update on stand of property owners by Chairman of Residents
4. Discussion of possible solutions
5. Items for future discussion
6. Date of next meeting
In this section, we discussed how to prepare
for meetings.

We discussed the preparation of an

agenda and you even practised writing one.
Self-test 5.1
You are the secretary of your companys social
club. Expand the following notes on the agenda
for presentation as minutes.
5.2 Ingredients for
Successful Negotiations
By the end of this section, you should be able
1. Plan and prepare for negotiations.
2. Create the right climate when starting negotiations.
3. Clarify positions in negotiations.
4. Propose and respond to proposals during negotiations.
5. Bargain effectively during negotiations.
6. Handle conflict in an appropriate manner in
7. Close negotiations satisfactorily.
8. Review negotiations.
9. Use appropriate terminology at negotiations.
Negotiation is a communication process which we use when we try to
reach an agreement with others. We are involved in negotiations
everyday at the workplace and at home. All negotiations involve
discussions, agreements and also disagreements which can end in
conflict if not properly managed.

Negotiating in the English language is often a source of anxiety for those

whose first language is not English.
The negotiator and key terms
Negotiation is the process where parties resolve
disputes, agree upon courses of action, bargain for
individual or collective advantage and attempt to reach
outcomes which are of mutual interest.
In negotiations and meetings, there are key
terms we need to be familiar with
and we need to know the type of negotiation we
are involved in. The type of
negotiation is related to the outcome you want
to achieve.
1. The win-win negotiations are conducted
with the intention of coming to
an agreement beneficial to all parties. In
such negotiations, the goals of all
parties concerned are achieved and this
outcome produces the best long-term
relationship between the parties involved.
This is obviously the preferred
end point of any negotiation.
2. The second type of win-win negotiation is
when both parties attempt to obtain a
favourable outcome from a particular
business deal. This is a one-off deal and
there will probably be no other business
deals with the other party in the near future.
3. The win-lose type of negotiation is when the two parties
regard themselves as opponents and only one party can
win. A successful negotiation in this
approach is when one party is able to obtain all or most of
the outcomes he/she desires without driving the other party
to permanently break off negotiations. In most cases, there
is ongoing conflict and the need for further
negotiations since the goal of only one party is achieved.
4. The lose-lose negotiation is one where no one achieves a
satisfactory outcome. In this case, the goals of all parties are
not achieved and there is likely to be conflict and ill feeling
which will disrupt relationships. This is the type of negotiation
which we all try to avoid.
Opening and creating the right atmosphere
Preparation is an essential first step before any negotiation.
Determine what you must have and what you are willing to
give. Do be prepared with alternative proposals

. Gather facts about the other party and the negotiating style of
his/her team members. Do also anticipate the position they will
in a conversation to establish rapport and create the right atmosphere.
1. Its my pleasure to welcome you to .
2. Welcome to .

You may want to offer some drinks before you proceed with
the proper negotiation.
Activity 5.14
What is the person doing? Label each sentence or question using
the words below. Some words may be used more than once.

welcoming introducing offering greeting using small talk

1. Its a pleasure to meet you. ()

2. Is this your first time visiting Penang Island? ()
3. Let me get you some tea. ( )
4. This is Benny. Hes in charge of marketing. ()
5. How was your flight? ()
6. Let me take your coats.
7. Allow me to introduce Asokan, our new Manager.
8. On behalf of A&A Sdn. Bhd., Id like to welcome you to our
Activity 5.14
1. greeting
2. using small talk
3. offering
4. introducing
5. using small talk
6. offering
7. introducing
8. welcoming
Activity 5.15
Below is a conversation before the start of a negotiation. Fill in the
blanks with suitable words.
Jeremy: Im Jeremy Lim, the manager of Apex Communications.
Im very ________ to welcome you to Malaysia.
Julia: Im Julia Oman. Im _______ to meet you.
Jeremy: _______ was your flight?
Julia: It was a pleasant flight.
Jeremy: ________ you like some coffee?
Julia: Thank you. Thats very ________ of you.
Activity 5.15
Below is a conversation before the start of
a negotiation. Fill in
the blanks with suitable words.
Jeremy: Im Jeremy Lim, the manager of
Apex Communications.
Im very glad to welcome you to Malaysia.
Julia: Im Julia Oman. Im delighted to meet
Jeremy: How was your flight?
Julia: It was a pleasant flight.
Jeremy: Would you like some coffee?
Julia: Thank you. Thats very kind of you.
Agreeing on an agenda
At a formal or business negotiation, it is necessary to agree on the procedure
and the agenda at the start. The company hosting the meeting should make
sure that the chairperson appointed by them starts the meeting by suggesting a

1. I would like to begin by suggesting the following

2. To start with, I think we should establish the overall
All parties involved need to discuss and agree on the way the negotiation
should be conducted. In a way, this is like setting the agenda for a meeting.
Approval should be sought from the other party and the procedure agreed
upon should be closely followed. Different processes can be used
depending on the goal of the negotiation.

1. Does that seem acceptable to you?

2. Is there anything youd like to change?
3. Is this okay with you?
Make sure that everyone is clear about the objectives right from the start. If you
are managing the negotiation, spell it out clearly before you seek for agreement
on the agenda.

1. Our objective today is .

2. The purpose of our meeting today is .
An example of an agenda which can be proposed at a negotiation

Proposed Agenda
1. Clarify and define the objective
2. Present proposal of contract terms
3. Discuss areas of disagreement
4. Decide on the most acceptable terms
5. Craft and refine an agreement
6. Review and recap the agreement
7. Plan to implement the agreement
8. Decide on follow-up of the outcome

You should also specify and seek agreement on the duration of the
Activity 5.16
Match each question with the appropriate response.
1. Do you expect to complete all
of those today?
2. May I suggest we first establish
the agenda?
3. Should we move on?
4. How does that sound to you?
1. g
5. How are we doing for time?
2. d
6. Are there any questions so far?
3. b
7. How long will that take?
4. a
a. That sounds fine.
5. c
b. No, not yet. I still want to
6. e
discuss something.
7. f
c. We only have 45 minutes left.
d. Ok. Where do you recommend
we start first?
e. Yes. Id like to have more
clarification on your first offer.
f. Not more than 5 minutes.
g. Yes, if possible.
Vocabulary 5.6
Choose the most appropriate word in the brackets below.
1. Everyone in the department is (imposed / required / stated) to
attend a training workshop at least twice a year.
2. The main (purpose / negotiation / agreement) of todays meeting
is to discuss the contract terms proposed by your company.
3. Several of the (sessions / participants / roles) were late because
of the flash flood.
4. This is not a problem existing only in our country. It is a
(formal / global / serious) problem.
5. We (achieve / aim / provide) to reach our target before the
projects deadline.
6. Impressive! Youve made your companys (issue / position /
agenda) very clear in your opening statement.

Vocabulary 5.6
1. required
2. purpose
3. participants
4. global
5. aim
6. position
Stating your position
A negotiation itself is a careful exploration of your position and the other persons
position, with the goal of finding a mutually acceptable compromise that gives
you both as much of what you want as possible.

If you are the host, ask about the proposal of the other party.


1. May I ask what your proposal in connection with our company is?
2. What in general are you looking for here?
Activity 5.17
Below are situations which may sometimes arise at the workplace.
These situations do not involve international business. However,
you need to start off politely and phrase your request so that it
sounds reasonable. Study each of the situations and decide what
you will say to start off the conversation and make your request.
Email what you will say to your tutor for comments.
1. It is the policy of the accounting company you are working for
that employees are not permitted to take leave from work during
the month of February every year. This is the period when the
workload is heaviest and deadlines have to be met. You need to
apply for seven days of leave to attend your sons convocation
ceremony overseas. You meet up with your manager. What will
you say?

1. Good morning, Mr. Lim. Is this a convenient time to talk? My

son has completed his Bachelor of Science course and he would
like me to attend his convocation ceremony in February.
I know that company policy does not allow me to apply for leave
in February, but could you consider an exception in this case?
2. Your work contract indicates working hours from 9.00 a.m. to
6.00 p.m. five days a week. You have worked for the company
for three years and you are normally given extra assignments.
You very often finish work only at 8.00 p.m. You meet up with
the manager of the company to negotiate for an overtime
allowance. How will you start the conversation?

2. Good afternoon, Mr. Ranjit. Can you spare a few minutes? As

you know, Ive been working for this company for three years.
I really enjoy my work here but since I work until 8.00 p.m.
every night, I was wondering if you would consider an overtime
3. You are a supervisor in a factory. A senior supervisor has called
for a meeting of all supervisors on a Sunday when you are off.
How would you start a negotiation with this supervisor to ask
for the meeting to be held during a working day?

3. Excuse me, Ms. Ani. I received your circular calling for a

meeting on Sunday. Since its our only day off in the week,
perhaps you might consider holding the meeting on a
Clarifying positions
In all negotiations, active listening is of primary importance. We need to listen
for facts and reasons behind the other partys position and explore the needs of
the other party. Make sure you fully comprehend what the other party is saying.
People love to hear themselves talk but a skilful negotiator listens.
Good listening must be followed by appropriate responses such as phrasing and
summarising the main points of the discussion.

1. What you are saying is .

2. Your main point is .
3. Can we summarise your position as ?
Put yourself in the other persons shoes. Ask yourself questions such as
Why does he take such a position? and Does any aspect of my proposal
conflict with those interests? It is essential to show that you respect what
the other party says and that you are sympathetic to his/her position.
You may reflect on the feelings of the speaker or reassure him/her of your
sincerity in the negotiation.

1. Youre concerned about .

2. Your worry is that .
3. Let me reassure you that .
4. Have no doubts that we will .
Ask appropriate questions to obtain more information about the other party and
his/her position in the negotiation. Hypothetical questions encourage creative

1. What would happen if we ?

2. Suppose that .
Close-ended questions will enable you to
get specific answers.

1. What is the cost involved?

2. What is the figure you propose?
Early on in a negotiating session, you should ask open-ended questions and
The more you listen, the more you learn. Open-ended questions will require the
other party to provide you with information in addition to what has been provided.
Because these questions cannot be answered with a simple yes or no, they will
encourage the other party to talk and hopefully give you strategic information.
Open-ended questions are valuable at all stages of a deal. This is especially so
at the beginning when each side is sizing up the other.

1. What would you do with ?

2. What is the reason for wanting to ?
3. Could you outline in detail ?
4. What are the implications if ?
To reach a win-win outcome, an atmosphere of open discussion should be
maintained at all times. You can only start bargaining when you fully comprehend
the position of the other party. So, ask questions and always seek for clarification
when in doubt.

1. Im not sure I fully understand your point.

2. What exactly do you mean by ?
3. Could you be more specific?
Activity 5.18
Complete the conversation below according to the functions stated.
Make use of the words given in brackets.
1. To ask for clarification Jones: _________________________
_______________ ?
(clarify what you said)
2. To clarify Ali: _______________________
_________________ .
(meant, air fares will be seasonal)
3. To enquire Jones: Will __________________
__________________ ?
(special fares for tour groups)
4. To ask about priorities Ali: How ____________________
_________________ ?
(important, group fares to your
Jones: That is our major concern.
Activity 5.18
1. Jones: Could you clarify what you said?
2. Ali: What I meant is that air fares will be seasonal.
3. Jones: Will there be special fares for tour groups?
4. Ali: How important are group fares to your company?
Managing the negotiation
Managing a negotiation successfully requires a lot of planning. Arranging a
negotiation at a time and place convenient to all is the first step. Creating the
right rapport and speaking truthfully are also of vital importance. The person who
chairs a negotiation must ensure that the negotiation starts off the right way and
stays on track. He/She must know how to deal with digressions.

1. May we leave that till later and first look at .

2. Can we deal with first?
The chairperson must manage conflict in a calm and unbiased manner. It is his/her
duty to make sure that he/she ends the negotiation by repeating the final outcome.

1. Lets make sure we agree on these figures (dates/etc.).

2. Can we check these points one last time?
After a negotiation, it is vital to review the negotiation as it helps you learn how
to achieve a better outcome. Therefore, you should take the time to ask yourself
what went well and what could be improved the next time.
The following are vocabulary items useful at negotiations.
Bargaining is something which all of us have engaged in some time or
We bargain when we go to the market and when we go shopping at certain
places where the prices are not fixed. In business, bargaining is that stage of
a negotiation where two parties or more dispute over the price, the service or
the terms before they come to a compromise which will eventually lead to an
agreement or a transaction of benefit to all parties concerned.

Can you let me

Nasi lemak ! have it for RM1.50 ?
RM2 per packet !
Knowing your goals
Every negotiator must have a goal. Your goal is the best outcome you can achieve
in the situation. If you are clear about your goals, it will help you present your
position to others and anticipate their goals.
In a business negotiation, you should have a goal statement.

1. The customer will bear half the shipping cost.

2. The employees will forgo their bonus for staff
development training.

When you phrase your goal statement, remember that your goals
must be clear and achievable.
Knowing your alternatives
It is not always possible to achieve your goal in negotiations. So, you should
identify your walk away alternative.
The best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) is a term you
have to be familiar with in all negotiations. If you are being offered a deal of
less value than your BATNA in a negotiation, you will not accept the deal and
you probably will not proceed with the negotiation. All parties involved in a
negotiation should have a goal and a BATNA. Only then can you negotiate
For example, if you have an offer from Hitech, an established computer parts
company, to buy your old laptop for RM500, then your BATNA when dealing
with other interested purchasers would be RM500. You would normally not accept
an offer or terms lower than the BATNA. However, certain considerations (such
as relationship, likelihood that the other party may not keep his/her side of the
bargain, etc.) can result in acceptance of terms below the BATNA.
Below are examples of other offers that may not meet your BATNA but where
you may be willing to close a deal:
An offer of RM400 by a close relative. (Do you value the relationship
enough for you to give up RM400?)
An offer of RM550 to be paid in 30 days. (With the extended payment
period, there is a chance of this commitment falling through, by which
time the other party which met your BATNA may not be interested in
the deal anymore.)
Activity 5.19
Write your goal statement and your BATNA for each of the
situations below. Your BATNA should be realistic.
1. Your class has been given three days to complete an assignment.
Your class is asking for an extension of four days. Another class
taught by the same lecturer was given four days to complete
their assignment.
2. You plan to set up a small business with a friend. You need
RM50,000 as initial capital to start the business. Your partner says
he will come up with RM20,000 as he has experience and
contacts which you do not have. You would like him to come up
with 50% of the initial capital. Another friend is willing to partner
with you and he is willing to contribute RM23,000 as initial capital.
He has some experience but fewer contacts.
3. You are representing your company at a follow-up of a previous
business negotiation. Both parties have agreed on the
transaction price but the other party is asking that your company
pays the full cost of shipping. You have had a previous deal with
the same company where they paid 50% of the shipping cost.
4. A breakdown in your production plant resulted in a seven-day
delay in delivery of goods to a customer. The customer has
refused to accept the goods. Another buyer is prepared to accept
the goods at 85% of the original contracted price.
You can write your answer using the guide below:
1. Goal statement: The class will _______________________
____________ .
BATNA: The class will ________________________
____________ .
2. Goal statement: __________________________________ .
BATNA: __________________________________ .
3. Goal statement: __________________________________ .
BATNA: __________________________________ .
4. Goal statement: __________________________________ .
BATNA: __________________________________ .
Activity 5.19
1. Goal statement: The clas s wi l l be given one week to
complete the assignment.
BATNA: The class will be given four days to complete
the assignment.
2. Goal statement: My partner will pay RM25,000 as initial capital
to start the business.
BATNA: My partner will pay RM23,000 as initial capital
to start the business.
3. Goal statement: The customer will pay 90% of the shipping
BATNA: The customer will pay 50% of the shipping
4. Goal statement: The customer will accept the goods at 90% of
the negotiated price.
BATNA: The customer will accept the goods at 85% of
the negotiated price.
Knowing your counterpart
In every negotiation, you must know your counterpart. You probably have to
conduct some research on the persons negotiation style. If the person is of a
different nationality, you will definitely have to find out about the cultural and
negotiation styles unique to your counterparts country. The effort you put in
will definitely help you from the initial greeting through the entire process of
Using correct communication skills
For a negotiation to be successful, it is important to maintain an atmosphere of
respect throughout. One way of doing so is through the use of language.
When making requests, it is advisable to use would like rather than want.
This is a more polite and respectful way of making a request. The word want
sounds like a demand.

Demanding: I want to have .

Respectful: I would like to have .
Using words like should, could and might make any reminder or request
sound more polite.

1. You might consider .

2. Could you think about ?
3. Should you decide to ?
Phrases like I think, maybe and perhaps enable you to introduce
suggestions without being too demanding. Unlike what most people believe,
these words do not indicate that you are unsure of yourself. They merely show
that you are trying to be polite to the party you are communicating with.

Note the difference in tone between the expressions below:


1. Respectful: I think we need to .

Authoritarian: We need to .
2. Respectful: Perhaps we should change .
Authoritarian: We should change .
3. Respectful: Maybe you can .
Authoritarian: You can .
It is always wise to use questions when making suggestions. This does not mean
that you are asking for permission but it is a sign of respect for the other party.
You are allowing him/her the chance to disagree or interrupt before you go on.

1. Can we agree that ?

2. Are you saying that ?
The process of bargaining involves responding to proposals, making and considering
concessions as well as making counter proposals. Below are some expressions used
in bargaining which may prove useful.

1. Our position is .
2. As far as your proposal is concerned, we think that .
3. We would be willing to , provided that .
4. Wed be prepared to . However, there would be one
5. May we offer an alternative? We propose that .
6. From where we stand, a better solution might be .
Activity 5.20
Rewrite the following sentences so that they sound more polite and
1. I do not agree with the figure you proposed.
2. We cannot accept those terms.
3. You need to change the conditions stated in the proposal.
4. I would like to hear an explanation.
5. I want to hear your counter proposal.
6. We want a guarantee that there is strict quality control.
Activity 5.20
1. I do not think I agree with the figure you
2. Perhaps you could modify those terms.
3. Could you change the conditions stated
in the proposal?
4. Perhaps you could give an explanation.
5. Would you like to present your counter
6. Maybe you can provide a guarantee that
there will be strict
quality control?
Vocabulary 5.7
What kind of bargaining is used? Label each statement using the
words below. Some words may be used more than once.

Rejecting making new offer setting condition accepting

1. Our company is willing to go along with your arrangement.

( )
2. If you placed an order of more than 100 units, weve got a deal
( )
3. Those conditions are too rigid for us.
( )
4. That is impossible! But would you consider another price?
( )
5. Im afraid that wouldnt meet our requirements.
( )
6. Right, we can agree to those terms.
( )
Vocabulary 5.7
1. accepting
2. setting condition
3. rejecting
4. making new offer
5. rejecting
6. accepting
Handling conflict
Most negotiations will encounter problems which need to be dealt with. All
parties concerned should keep their objectives in mind to ensure that there is a
win-win outcome.

Conflict can arise as result of unrealistic demands, cultural differences,

misunderstandings due to poor communication skills and a host of other reasons.
The manner in which we handle conflict will vary according to the situation.
Yelling at each other is not negotiation; it is a confrontation where all parties are
likely to emerge losers.
When emotions run high, it would be good to take a break so that everyone can
cool down.

1. Perhaps we should take a break and resume later.

2. I think it might be good to adjourn for a while.
After that, the parties involved can identify the cause of the conflict and proceed
from there.

1. The main obstacle to progress at the moment seems to

be .
2. Our one big problem is .
3. Lets take a closer look at this problem.
Sometimes, conflict can be resolved if the parties involved are willing to make
1. Can there be a trade-off here?
2. Can we reach some kind of compromise?
A lose-lose negotiation will of course see the session ending without achieving
anything. Even if this unfortunate situation should arise, the negotiation should
end on a polite note.

1. I think we cannot achieve anything today.

2. Maybe we should reconsider our positions before we
meet again.
3. Im sorry but I think well have to call it a day.
Remember to use words and expressions which are
polite and respectful which you learnt earlier in Using
correct communication skills in this section.
Activity 5.21
Look at the points below. Group them according to CAUSES OF

set achievable goals respect cultural differences

forget it and call it a day! involve a mediator personality differences
take time to cool down poor communication misunderstanding
lack of commitment

Causes of conflict Conflict resolution strategies

poor communication
personality differences set achievable goals
misunderstanding involve a mediator
lack of commitment respect cultural differences
forget it and call it a day!
take time to cool down
Activity 5.22
Below is a dialogue at a negotiation. Fill in the blanks with suitable
John: We seem to be at a deadlock. The major ___________
(hurdle/obstacle) at the moment seems to be the price.
Lilian: I think we all need to give some ___________ (ground/
earth) here.
John: Yes, I think we can ______________ (come/reach) a
Lilian: Perhaps we should ___________ (postpone/adjourn) for
a while to reconsider the matter.
John: Thats a good idea.
Activity 5.22
John: The major obstacle at the moment seems to be the price.
Lilian: I think we all need to give some ground here.
John: Yes, I think we can reach a compromise.
Lilian: Perhaps we should adjourn for a while to reconsider the
John: Thats a good idea.
Offering a compromise
We all hope to achieve our goals in negotiations. However, we should all be
prepared with the best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA). When
necessary, we need to offer a compromise.
If you do not reach agreement with the other person, what alternatives do you
have? How much does it matter if you do not reach an agreement? How
is the other party to your future plans and does failure to reach an agreement cut
you out of future opportunities? What is the history of your relationship with the
other party? Should this relationship be considered in the negotiation? All these
factors should be considered when you offer a compromise.
When a conflict arises, you may want to offer a compromise. You may ask for

1. In return for this, would you be willing to ?

2. We feel there has to be a give and take.
Make sure you fully comprehend the concession being offered. Ask for further
information and seek clarification for anything you are not sure of.

1. Would you like to elaborate on that?

2. Could you go into more detail on that?
Of course, both parties may either accept or decline an offer. Sometimes, when
concessions are not up to your expectations, you may have to decline the offer.

1. Im afraid your offer doesnt go far enough.

2. Unfortunately, we must decline your offer for the
following reason(s).
3. Im sorry but we must respectfully decline your offer.
Closing a negotiation
In a win-win situation, a negotiated outcome is achieved. All parties should
be happy with the decision. This is an opportunity for the different parties to
summarise their clear understanding and acceptance of the outcome publicly. It
is important to review and recap what both parties have come to an agreement
on. The terms of the agreement should be clearly spelled out and there should be
no uncertainty regarding what some may consider minor details like deadlines.

1. Lets just confirm the details then.

2. Lets make sure we agree on these figures (dates/etc.).
3. Can we check these points one last time?
Once a decision has been made, it is important to confirm the agreement.

1. We are happy to accept this agreement.

2. This agreement is acceptable to us.
3. I believe we have an agreement.
Of course, a written record of the negotiated outcome must follow. Written
records are vital for reference regarding what was agreed on and what follow-up
action needs to be taken. There should be an action plan for implementing the
outcome of the negotiation.

1. Well prepare the agreement for your confirmation in

two weeks.
2. Well send the minutes for your approval.
If there is to be a follow-up session, make sure the date, time and place of the
meeting is decided upon before the participants leave the negotiation table.

1. Can we have the next meeting ?

2. Would it be fine to meet again in ?
Always close on a positive note. Show that you are pleased with the negotiation
and thank everyone.

1. I believe were all happy with the deal. Thank you.

2. That was a fruitful discussion. I look forward to working together
with all of you.
Thank you.
Always conduct a review of the negotiation
with your team members. Was the
outcome of the negotiation satisfactory? If
so, what strategies did you use that
you could apply again? If the negotiation
ended in a deadlock, analyse what went
wrong and avoid making the same mistakes
in future.
Vocabulary 5.8
Choose the most appropriate word in the brackets below.
1. We took over four hours to (tie up / put together / draw out)
all the loose ends in the contract.
2. They will (review / depart / suit) this again in five months.
3. The contract is (lawfully / legally / dutifully) binding because
both parties have reached an agreement and signed it.
4. The supplier breached the agreement and so the contract was
(broken / void / legit).
5. We made a (legal / verbal / historical) agreement over the phone
concerning the partnership.
6. This agreement should become the (privilege / exclusivity /
basis) for a good collaboration between all three companies.
7. There are a few (accurate / outstanding / ridiculous) issues left
to be resolved before the negotiations are closed.
8. I need to have my superiors (carry forward / go over / draw up)
the details before we ratify it officially.
Activity 5.23
You have come to the end of a negotiation and your counterpart is
in the process of summarising the outcome. Look at each of the
statements below. Identify what is wrong or not clearly specified
and respond accordingly. Your response can be in the form of a
statement or a politely phrased request.
For example, you could start off by saying For record purposes,
could you ? and continue from there.
1. To sum up, we have agreed to supply electronic parts by
30 June 2014.
2. The final outcome of our negotiation is that we have agreed to
a transaction of three reconditioned Boeing 727s at a price of
USD50,000 each.
3. The following is a summary of our agreement. The company
will compensate all employees by paying them three months of
their current salary when the company shuts down and relocates
to China.
Vocabulary 5.8
1. tie up
2. review
3. legally
4. void
5. verbal
6. basis
7. outstanding
8. go over
Business deals with people of different cultures are now the norm. Even if you
are running a boutique, it is normal to see customers from different countries
and cultures who will need to be treated in different ways.
Cross-cultural negotiations is about how
people of different cultures close deals. It
involves looking at all factors that can
influence the proceedings of a negotiation.
Below are some examples of cross-cultural differences.
1. Eye contact
In the US, UK and in most parts of northern Europe, strong, direct
eye contact conveys confidence and sincerity. In South America, it is a
sign of trustworthiness. However, in some cultures such as the Japanese,
prolonged eye contact is considered rude and is generally avoided.
2. Time
Western societies are very conscious of time. Time is money and
punctuality is crucial. This is also the case in countries such as Japan or
China where being late would be taken as an insult. However, in South
America, southern Europe, the Middle East and even in Malaysia, being
on time for a meeting does not carry the same sense of urgency.
3. Handshakes and greetings
Most international business people meet with a handshake. In some
countries, however, this is not appropriate between genders. Some cultures
view a weak handshake as a sign of weakness whereas others would
consider a firm handshake as aggressive.
4. Addressing the other person
The way we address people should also be considered. Some cultures
prefer the use of the first name as this creates a more friendly atmosphere.
Others think this is rude and prefer to be greeted by their surnames or
5. Gift-giving
In Japan and China, gift-giving is an integral part of business protocol.
However, it has negative connotations in the US and the UK. Where gifts are
exchanged, should we give expensive gifts? What should we not give?
Some Chinese will not be happy to receive clocks as gifts as it is somehow
related to death.
6. Numbers
Are there numbers that should be avoided? In Hong Kong, the number
four is frowned upon as it is also related to death. Thirteen is regarded
by Western cultures as an unlucky number.
7. The English language
People from different countries speak English with a different accent. It
takes time to get used to a foreign accent. If you do not understand anything
the other party said, do not hesitate to ask the person to repeat what was

1. Could you please repeat what you said?

2. I beg your pardon?
International negotiators understand these issues and they will be quite happy to
explain what they said as they also want to be certain that there is no
It is better to be safe than sorry later.
All these seemingly minor issues will in one way or another have an impact on
cross-cultural negotiations. Doing or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can
create cross-cultural misunderstandings which can affect negotiations negatively.
Vocabulary 5.9
Find ONE error in the following sentences and correct it using a
word from the given list.

Consensus excessive reacted deadline ritual formality

1. The way the lady action made me believe that I had made a
very blunt remark about her appearance.
2. Dont forget! The promise for our negotiations is this evening!
3. We need to be aware of some cultures that require one to give
a person a kiss on each cheek as a form of sympathised greeting.
4. We could not bring ourselves to accept the gifts because they
were wealth and made us feel indebted.
5. Please observe the level of frankness required when negotiating
with the Japanese.
6. Our group could not reach a coverage and thus the meeting
was a failure.
Vocabulary 5.9
1. action "> reacted
2. promise "> deadline
3. sympathised "> ritual
4. wealth "> excessive
5. frankness "> formality
6. coverage "> consensus
You may or may not be involved in international business negotiations at the
moment but we do negotiate with others more often than we are aware of. Below
are some guidelines which will be of help when you negotiate in any work situation.

1. Know what you want and do not want.

2. Know what your counterpart wants.
3. Know what you are willing to give up.
4. Know your alternatives.
5. Know your counterpart and his/her style.
6. Learn to listen.
7. Use appropriate communication skills.
8. Maintain your cool and avoid conflict.
9. Do not mind read. If you are not sure, seek clarification.
10. Do not assume you know everything.
11. Do not offend.
12. Be prepared.
Negotiation is a skill which can be learnt. We negotiate everyday
over minor issues as well as major ones. Negotiation is a skill we
use at home, in society and at the workplace. The situation under
which the negotiation takes place determines the formality of the
session and the amount of preparation involved.

In this second section of Unit 5, we went through the process of

planning for a business negotiation. We discussed the importance
of a goal for every negotiation and we covered issues related to
clarifying positions and management of conflict. We went through
the stages of a bargaining process and you were introduced to the
language needs at different stages of a negotiation. We also related
the language skills introduced in this section to simple everyday
negotiations at the workplace.
You were exposed to the language of negotiation and you attempted
exercises to familiarise yourself with negotiation terminology. You
also attempted a variety of exercises which will help you negotiate
at the workplace.

We hope you enjoyed this section on negotiations and that you will
put the language skills you have learnt to practice whenever you get
the opportunity to do so, whether be it at home, among friends or
at your place of work.
Self-test 5.2
The following are statements made at different stages in a
negotiation. Respond to each statement accordingly, using the words
provided in brackets.
1. Im very glad to welcome you.
To return a greeting: ______________________. (happy)
2. Would you like a drink?
To accept: ___________________________
_________________. (kind)
3. I think we should get started.
To propose and ___________________________
to seek for approval: ___________________.
(think, establish a procedure)
___________________? (agree)
4. We propose that you start the project this month.
To counter propose: ___________________________
________________. (next month)
5. I think delivery will be sometime in August, this year.
To ask for clarification: ___________________________
____________ ? (a little more specific)
6. We could offer a discount of 5% if you place an order for 10,000
To react negatively: __________________________
_________________. (problem)
7. We cant agree to that but would you consider a 10% discount
if the order is for 10,000 units?
To accept with condition: _________________________
_________________. (cash terms)
8. I think we cannot come to an agreement.
To terminate a negotiation: ___________________________
(adjourn, reconsider our positions)
Summary of Unit 5

In this unit, you came across various issues related to meetings
and negotiations. You learnt about meeting procedures and the
communication skills required to chair and participate actively at
meetings. You also wrote the agenda of a meeting as well as the
minutes of a meeting. In the course of attempting these exercises,
you practised using appropriate meeting terminology.

This unit also introduced you to international business negotiations.

However, simple negotiation skills at the workplace were also
included. You were introduced to language skills at different stages
of a negotiation. You also attempted several vocabulary exercises
aimed at building your vocabulary in preparation for business
We do hope you have started to use the skills you have learnt in
this unit. Make the most of the meetings and negotiations you get
the opportunity to be involved in and we hope that you will find
communicating at work a real pleasure.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the
best in the coming examinations.
Unit Practice Exercise
Task 1
Identify a word or expression usually used at meetings
and negotiations in place
of each of the expressions below:
1. A list of items to be discussed at meetings or
negotiations. ___________
2. A correction made to the record of a meeting.
3. A person who supports a motion proposed by
someone. ___________
4. People who hold positions in a committee.
5. To end a meeting or negotiation. ___________
6. A record of what is said and decided at a meeting.
7. A decision made at a meeting or negotiation.
8. A condition in a negotiation where progress has
stopped. ___________
Task 1
1. Agenda
2. Amendment
3. Seconder
4. Office bearers
5. To adjourn
6. Minutes
7. Resolution
8. Deadlock/Stalemate
Task 2
The manager of your company passed the note below to you. Prepare a
memorandum calling for a meeting.

To: Jane Lim (Secretary)
From: Rosalind Tan (Manager)
Date: 16 July 2014
Please call for a meeting of all heads of department regarding the
above. Friday,
20 July, after lunch should be fine. Will need about 15 minutes to
brief them. Ask
Alex Xavier to come out with a programme for the one-hour visit
to be discussed
at the meeting.
The meeting should be for only an hour as I have to head for the
airport early.
Attendance is compulsory.
To: All heads of department
From: Rosalind Tan (Manager)
Re: Official Visit by CEO

There will be a meeting to discuss the official visit of the CEO on

Friday, 20 July from 2.00 p.m. to 3.00 p.m. in the Conference Room.

Your attendance is compulsory.

1. Opening address and briefing Rosalind Tan
2. Presentation of programme for visit Alex Xavier
3. Discussion of proposed programme All
4. Summary of decisions Rosalind Tan
References (nd) Effective Meetings Produce Results: Before the Meeting http://
(Accessed 27 February 2014)
Brodow, E (2014) Ten Tips for Negotiating in 2014
NegotiatingTips.html (Accessed 26 February 2014)
Business English
negotiations_vocabulary.html (Accessed 20 June 2008)
KLS Training (nd) Tips for Chairing Meetings http://www.ksl-
chairing-meetings/tips-for-chairing-meetings/ (Accessed 26 February
Miller, R F (1995) Running a meeting that works, Cassell Business Guide, New
York, Barrons Educational Series, Inc.
Mind Tools (nd) Running Effective Meetings
RunningMeetings.htm (Accessed 27 February 2014)
Negotiation (Accessed 20 June 2008)
Nutting, J, Cielens, M and Strachan, J (1996) The Business of Communication,
3rd edn, Sydney: McGraw-Hill.
The Irish Times (2014) Mastering the Art of Successful Negotiations http://www.
Shortlisted topics for the exam WUC107/03 Part A

1. Terms when using technology at the workplace: Hackers, Viruses, Firewalls, Passwords.

2. Explaining terms- internal communication and external communication.

3. Basic forms of non-verbal communication.

4. Basic principles that can help people improve their oral communication skills.

5. Guidelines to making a telephone call.

6. Useful tips for writing email at the workplace.

7. Steps that can help you when faced with an assertive caller on the telephone.

8. Factors that influence our tone in writing memos.

9. Instances when you are encouraged to write letters using the passive voice.

10. Things you need to do while profiling the location before your speech and the audience.

11. Advantages of speaking from notes.

12. Ways of preparing for a negotiation.

13. Tips on how to make a meeting successful.

Dear students,

For part B,you have to answer 2 questions. Any

2 of the following will be tested- letter, memo,
email or speech.Please ensure that you get all
the formats correct as well. Do discuss this
with your tutors during tutorial 5 or on the