How to ask for a raise (negotiation phrases)

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Negotiation phrases

negotiation phrases


Here we come with a Business English lesson plan that focuses on teaching negotiation phrases and lets you have 1-to-1 negotiation role-plays in your classroom! With this worksheet, your students will:

  • discover new Business English idioms and practise using them
  • talk about how to ask for a salary increase and listen to tips from an expert
  • learn a variety of business negotiation phrases
  • role play two scenarios to practise negotiating in real-life situations
B2 / Upper Intermediate60 minStandard LessonUnlimited Plan


The lesson starts with a vocabulary activity in which students need to discover the meaning of 5 Business English idioms. They have sample sentences where such idioms are used and definitions to match. Give students around 5-7 minutes to do this task and let them compare their answers. What follows is a short speaking task, where students need to say what they would do in particular scenarios and use one of the newly learned idioms.


Before you watch the video with your students, there is a pre-watching task. There are 4 questions that students need to answer in pairs. While the first one refers to their personal experience, others are more general and, in fact, will be answered in the video. Give your students a few minutes to discuss these questions and encourage them to note down what they think.

Next, watch the Business Insider interview with Barbara Corcoran where she explains how you should ask for a raise. She speaks rather fast in this interview which might be a challenge for some students. We recommend watching the video once and gauging how difficult it’s been for the students to follow or checking which information they’ve managed to get. Then, let your students watch it the second time (you may play it with subtitles). Afterwards, they should compare their ideas with what Barbara Corcoran said and discuss how useful and realistic her advice is.


The next page consists of groups of common phrases that can be used during negotiation. Students need to go through those phrases and choose the right label for each group. This way they get to know different expressions and when to use them. Give them 5-7 minutes to do this task and help them understand any problematic phrases.

And now comes the most fun and engaging part of the lesson, i.e. the role-play. We prepared for your 2 unique scenarios so that each student can take one of the two roles in the negotiation process. Obviously, one is about asking for a raise 🙂 while the other is a classic buyer-supplier contract negotiation. In both cases, students will have plenty of opportunities to use negotiation phrases from page 2 in practice.



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Leave a Reply

  1. paolobusinessenglish

    This is the best ESLBrains lesson I have used! Business students for some reason are very engaged with this topic 🙂 The role plays are great too – more of these would be fantastic.

    1. Justa


  2. Viktoriya


    Excellent lesson!

    I think there is a typo in #3 ,discussion questions: it says: asking for a RISE but it should be Raise .



    1. Justa

      In British English, “a (pay) rise” is OK!

  3. Marta

    “You’re a single parent who wants to get back to work after a parental leave [a win-win situation] – what is the possible scenario here? Cannot think of one.

  4. Stan

    Challenge accepted! 😉 Let me try:
    “I could work from home just for a few hours a day at the beginning. This way I can take care of my child and start getting back to my career life. It’s a win-win situation for me and my employer:”

  5. Mariel Frost

    It also says “rise” on slide 12: “How would you ask for a rise?” Also BE?
    Thank you!

    1. Justa

      Yes, it’s British English. In this worksheet, we wanted to show students that both options (raise and rise) are correct.

  6. Lina López

    This is such an interesting topic. Thanks for this great lesson! It’s really engaging.

    1. Justa

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  7. Lina Shumlianska

    amasing lesson!


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