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The art of compromise is essential to any negotiation. Use the following role plays to help your students learn how to make compromises and negotiate with tact. This lesson can be used in a wide variety of situations such as business English role plays or other advanced skills classes. It's important to check students' use of standard phrases to improve their negotiating and compromising skills in English.
- Give students a few examples of situations which call for negotiation and compromise.
- Elicit phrases you might use when making compromises and write them on the board.
- Ask students to first write out a few sentences using each of the forms you have written on the board (see further suggestions below to help get the discussion started).
- Break students up into pairs. Ask students to read through the situations and choose at least three situations they would like to practice.
- Ask students to choose the situation they felt they negotiated the most successfully with fair compromises.
- Students write up a dialogue on the role play they have chosen.
- Students act out their negotiations in front of the class. Encourage acting skills!
Useful Phrases for Compromising
Negotiating a Compromise
I see your point, however, don't you think that…
I'm afraid that's not true. Remember that…
Try to see it from my point of view.
I understand what you're saying, but…
Imagine for a moment that you are…
Asking for Compromise
How flexible can you be on that?
I'm ready to agree if you can…
If I agree, would you be willing to… ?
We would be willing to… , provided, of course, that…
Would you be willing to accept a compromise?
Negotiating a Compromise Role Play
Choose a role play from one of the following scenarios. Write it up with your partner, and perform it for your classmates. Writing will be checked for grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc., as will your participation, pronunciation, and interaction in the role play. The role play should last at least 2 minutes.
- You are a student at an English school in the US or the UK. You'd like your parents to send you some more spending money. Telephone your father (your partner in the role play) and ask for more money. Your father feels that you are spending too much money. Come to a compromise.
- You are visiting your cousin (your partner) whom you haven't seen in a long time. Catch up on all the news from your two families, as well as from your own lives.
- You are a student who has improved at school, but your mother/father (your partner) doesn't feel that you have done enough. Discuss together what you can do to improve your grades, but also recognize your increased efforts.
- You are the aunt / uncle of your partner. Your partner wants to ask you about what life was like with your brother (your partner's father) when you were both teenagers. Have a discussion about the old times. Compromise on how the present and the past have certain advantages and disadvantages.
- You would like to get married to a man / woman your parents do not approve of. Have a discussion with your mother / father (your partner) about your plans. Try to break the news gently, while still maintaining your desire to get married.
- You are having a discussion with your husband / wife (your partner) about your son who is having problems at school. Accuse each other of not being a good parent, but try to come to a conclusion that will help your child.
- You are a technological wizard and have a new idea for a great start-up on the internet. Try to convince your father to fund your business with a $100,000 loan. Your partner will be your father who is very skeptical about your idea because he thinks you should be a doctor.