Intermediate to Advanced Business English
A Tough Negotiation. An Idiom Story.
A tough negotiation, an idiom story is a short story with many everyday and business-related idioms. Can you understand what the story is about?
Dave was a great negotiator, but his new client was a hard nut to crack, he just couldn’t understand what he wanted. The client kept saying there was too much red tape involved for him to get this project off the ground, especially as he didn’t like to cut corners. He kept saying he would be quickly in the red if he agreed to the contract. I couldn’t understand what he was concerned about and wondered if we were even on the same page.
I knew that if I didn’t make this client happy, I’d be in hot water with the boss. I could just see this whole project going south, so I went to a colleague to see if he had any idea as to how I could get myself out of this jam. He told me that I needed to think outside the box.
Later that night, while I was still working out a new plan, the client phoned me and said he needed to see me immediately. That felt like the last straw. I went to the meeting, and he demanded to see the contract again. Then, out of the blue, he signed it.
Below are the meanings of the idioms.
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A hard nut to crack. It is a problem that is hard to solve or a person who is difficult to understand.
Red tape. Difficult bureaucratic or governmental requirements.
Cut corners. Economise by reducing quality, taking shortcuts.
In the red. Losing money, below a specified starting point.
On the same page. Understanding the situation in the same way.
To be in hot water. To be in serious trouble with someone.
Going south. A situation gets rapidly worse.
In a jam. In need of help with a difficult situation.
Think outside of the box. Try to solve a problem in an original, or different way. To think creatively.
The last straw. A further difficulty or annoyance, typically minor in itself but coming on top of a series of difficulties, that makes a situation unbearable.
Out of the blue. Completely unexpected.
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