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Tico Talk: Negotiating in a Foreign Language

The art of negotiation, hard enough as it is, imagine now a different set of values, different cultures, in a different language. What are the ways we can smoothly communicate with others to get along and also get what it is that we want. As we say, good ole sage advice is sound because it has stood the test of time.

There are a lot of things you can do to ensure that you get the most out of a negotiation. Knowing who is in front of you is just as important as knowing what it is that you want. For example Tico’s typically aren’t confrontational, so best to use a calm voice. An easy ice breaker would be making an effort to speak someone’s native language if it happens to be different from your own, in this case, a little effort goes a long way. Being firm in your approach but also being polite can also impact any outcome. Knowing your points of negotiation before starting any talk will ensure you get your non-negotiable points met. 

Knowing the jargon too and a few helpful phrases will help get you started on the right track. Herein are but among a few that we suggest to get acquainted with.

  • I am open to ideas.
  • Estoy dispuesto a escuchar ideas.
  • What is the best price you can give me?
  • ¿Cuál es el mejor precio que puedes m’ofrecer?
  • Can you bargain with him or is he very inflexible?
  • ¿Puedes negociar con él o es muy estricto?
  • What is the bottom line? 
  • ¿Cuál es el factor más importante?
  • Maybe X isn’t a good approach. What other options are there?
  • Quizás X no sea el mejor manera de hacer. ¿Cuál otras opciones hay?
  • I am looking for the best solution possible. I would like to find a win-win scenario.
  • Estoy buscando la mejor solución posible. Me gustaría encontrar un opción en la que todos ganemos.
  • Do you have a counter proposal?
  • ¿Tiene alguna segunda offerta?
  • We are in a deadlock and cannot seem to reach an agreement.
  • Estamos en un punto muerto y parece que no podemos llegar a un entendimiento.
  • Have we reached a consensus?
  • ¿Hemos llegado a un acuerdo?

When in doubt – smile! Being friendly during a tense moment can go a long way.

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