|above board||If business negotiations are described as above board, they are open, honest and legal.|
There are not secret negotiations. Our dealings have always been above board.
|have an ace up your sleeve||If you have an ace up your sleeve, you have something in reserve with which you can gain an advantage.|
I’m well prepared for the negotiations. I’ve got an ace up my sleeve.
|hold all the aces||A person or company who holds all the aces is in a very strong position because they have more advantages than anyone else.|
With low production costs and excellent transport facilities, they seem
to be holding all the aces..
|back to square one||To say that someone is back to square one means that they have not succeeded in what they were trying to do, so they have to start again.|
When they refused the terms of the contract, it was back to square one for the negotiators..
|back to the wall||If you have your back to the wall, you are in serious difficulty.|
With his back to the wall, the supplier had to accept the deal.
|beggars can’t be choosers||This expression means that you should not reject an offer if it is the only possibility you have. You have no choice.|
“Beggars can’t be choosers!”
|bend over backwards||If you bend over backwards, you try very hard to do something, especially to please somebody.|
The director bent over backwards to try and persuade them to accept our porposal.
|bide your time||If you bide your time, you wait for a good opportunity to do something.|
He’s not hesitating, he’s just biding his time, waiting for the price to drop.
|blank cheque||If you give someone a blank cheque, you authorize them to do what they think is best in a difficult situation.|
Tom was given a blank cheque and told to negotiate the best deal possible.
|bone of contention||A bone of contention is a matter or subject about which there is|
a lot of disagreement.
The salaries have been agreed on, but opening on Sundays is still a bone of contention.
|bring nothing to the table||If you participate in negotiations and bring nothing to the table, you have nothing of interest to offer the other side.|
We’ll never reach an agreement if we don’t all bring something to the table.
|clinch a deal||In a business relationship, if you clinch a deal, you reach agreement on a proposal or offer.|
Paul’s final argument enabled us to clinch the deal.
|drive a hard bargain||A person who drives a hard bargain always makes sure they gain advantage in a business deal.|
Be prepared for tough negotiations with Dan. He drives a hard bargain.
|keep someone posted||If someone asks you to keep them posted, they want you to keep them informed about a situation.|
Our agent promised to keep us posted on developments in the negotiations.
|leave the door open||If you leave the door open, you behave in such a way as to allow the possibility of further action.|
Both parties left the door open for further negotiations.
|leave no stone unturned||If you try everything possible in order to achieve something, you leave no stone unturned.|
The management left no stone unturned in their efforts to reach an agreement.
|meet half-way||If you meet someone half way, you accept to make a compromise and give them part of what they are trying to obtain.|
We can’t agree to all your conditions but we could perhaps agree to meet half-way.
|nitty-gritty||When people get down to the nitty-gritty, they begin to discuss the most important points or the practical details.|
I was interested in the project, but we didn’t get down to the nitty-gritty until his partner arrived.
|play your cards right||If you play your cards right, you do all that is necessary in order to succeed or to obtain what you want.|
If we play our cards right, we’ll get the contract.
|play for time||If you play for time, you try to delay or prevent something from happening in order to gain an advantage.|
He decided to play for time in the hope that the price wold decrease.
|prepare the ground||When you prepare the ground, you try to make it easier for a future event or action to happen or be accepted.|
The two foreign ministers prepared the ground for negotiations.
|sign on dotted line||If you sign on the dotted line, you formally give your consent to something by signing an official document.|
I consulted a lawyer before signing on the dotted line.
|signed, sealed, and delivered||When an agreement, contract or treaty is signed, sealed and delivered, all the legal documents are in order.|
It is hoped that the agreement will be signed, sealed and delivered before the end of the week.
|skating on thin ice||If you are skating on thin ice, you are doing or saying something that could cause disagreement or trouble.|
Don’t mention that subject during the negotiations or you could be skating on thin ice.
|sticking point||A sticking point is a controversial issue that causes an interruption or blocks progress in discussions or negotiations.|
The choice of distributor was a sticking point in the negotiations.
|take stock of the situation||If you take stock of a situation you assess all the aspects in order to form an opinion.|
He took time to take stock of the situation before making a suggestion.
|turn on/up the heat||If you turn on or up the heat on someone, you put pressure on them in order to obtain what you want.|
If the goods are not delivered this week, we’ll have to turn up the heat.