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Review ~ International Negotiations

A detailed, practical English language course that takes students through the entire negotiation process of business deals.
Reviewed for Teflnet by Rory Banwell
International Negotiations

International Negotiations

International Negotiations by Mark Powell is a textbook focused on learners who want to look at the area of business negotiations. Published by Cambridge University Press, as part of the Cambridge Business Skills series, it should interest any ESP teacher or learner looking for a comprehensive guide through this complicated area of business. The course book takes learners through the whole negotiating process from preparation to finishing the deal.

It is described by Cambridge University Press as a short course (15-20 hours) and it is aimed at learners from intermediate to advanced. My initial impression however is that in order to cope with the pace of the course and nature of the language, learners will need to have a fair grasp of the English language.

The first part of the book consists of the standard course work. It is divided into 10 units and each unit addresses a different negotiation skill. For example, it starts with Unit 1: Preparing to Negotiate and then carries on to Unit 2: Relationship Building. Each unit guides you through the negotiation process sequentially and the book finishes with Unit 10: Closing the Deal. Within each unit there are an abundance of activities. Typically, there are warm up exercises that introduce the topic and/or introduce necessary language. This is followed by listening and/or reading activities that explore the theme or give real examples of negotiations. The related language and themes in these activities are further explored before freer language tasks such as pairwork, roleplays or skill building games. The second part of the book provides such things as audio scripts, key with commentary, and additional materials. Included are two audio CDs, and there is online support for the teacher. The whole book is packed with a wide variety of resources – on which more later.

So what about the language content and practice? This is one of the books strong points. International Negotiations uses authentic business language and the materials are drawn from the real business world. As well as providing a comprehensive commentary on its subject, it is packed with a lot of vocabulary and vocabulary building exercises. There are grammar exercises that go into the different nuances of the target language’s use, and there is an in-depth look at cultural influences on communication. It really is a thorough look into this particular world of business English.

For teachers there are a lot of accessible resources. The book provides an initial student needs analysis (an often neglected area) and there is a remarkable amount of language content in the course work itself. In addition, there are a lot of ideas, tasks and activities included in the second part of the book. These range from negotiation set ups to challenging information gaps. Coupled with online support for teachers (including trainer’s notes) and a feedback system for learners, it gives the teacher flexibility to provide a course designed for the needs of the students. The nice thing about all this is that it is done from the one book and there is no need to buy everything separately.

Overall, International Negotiations is ideal for a higher level student who is interested in learning how to negotiate and the language that is required to do so. Although it is possible for students to get a lot out of this textbook with self-study, it is specifically tailored for group classes. It is a practical course and it has the potential to be used as a guide for learning business negotiations not just in language learning contexts. I’m sure it will prove to be a valuable resource in many different situations.

Reviewed by Rory Banwell for TEFL.NET February 2013

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