Many Business English students have asked for business English role play exercises. This business English role play is the first of many to come.  It involves a negotiation between two business men in the Emirates.

Imagine that Mr Smith is an American businessman who has arrived in Abu Dhabi to meet with Mr Khan who heads an oil and gas company in the Middle East.  The two gentlemen will be discussing a deal to build a pipeline in Subsaharan Africa to drill for oil. Get a partner and role play this discussion.

For an example of the type of discussion you could have, see below:



Mr Khan: So did you find your way here okay without any problems?

Mr Smith: Yes. It was a smooth taxi ride from my hotel. No complaints whatsoever, Mr Khan. Thank you for asking.

Mr Khan: Good. Are you enjoying the weather? Too hot for you? Just right?

Mr Smith: Oh, splendid.  I am sun and sea type of a guy myself born and raised in Corpus Christie. I enjoy the outdoors, this is definitely my kind of weather.

Mr Khan: Oh good. Sometimes Westerners find our climate a bit too hot. Good to know you can handle it. So let’s cut to the chase, shall we. So as you know we are close to closing a deal with the government of Eritrea to build a new pipeline in the north of the country that will allow us to drill hundreds of tons of crude oil without too much environmental impact. It’s expected to be a bonanza and everybody wants in on this deal. We’ve got some Chinese partners who are interested in partnering up on this and as a matter of fact we are scheduled to meet today.  We are pretty close to a deal. But we wanted to talk with you guys first before we talk with them. Are you ready to make a deal?

Mr Smith: Yes indeed.

Mr Khan: We are looking for an initial investment of USD $200 MILLION in cash wired to our account in Dubai at Emirates bank within 24 hours of closing on the deal.

Mr Smith: We are very interested in making a deal. We’ve done all the due diligence and it looks like a solid project, it does check all the boxes for us but of course it will depend on the final terms. We would like a minimum of 45 percent stake in order for this to make sense for us.

Mr Khan: 45 percent? That is totally out of the question. The maximum we can offer you is 25 percent.

Mr Smith: There seems to be some kind of mistake. Clearly 25 percent is way below what you are authorized to offer and what I am authorized to accept.

Mr Khan:  Thirty percent then. That is our best and final offer, take it or leave it.

Mr Smith: Excuse me, Mr Khan but my understanding from my superiors is that the final decision for this project rests with Mr Karim Nadel Al Khomeni. And Mr Nadel just this morning before I arrived at your office personally assured me that a 45 percent stake was within the realm of possibility for this project. Now, I know Mr Nadel is currently in Qatar and cannot personally attend this meeting in person-

Mr Khan: I’m sorry, excuse me, Mr Smith. You spoke with Mr Nadel this morning from his home in Qatar and he informed you that a 45 percent stake in this project was possible?

Mr Smith: yes, indeed.

Mr Khan: This is news to me, Sir. I am afraid I will have to speak with Mr Nadel before further talks on this matter.

Mr Smith: I’ve got his contact details we can call him now and put him on speaker phone I am sure he won’t mind.

Mr Khan: No, no, no, no, no. I don’t think that would be a good idea. I would need to speak with Mr Nadel privately and get back to you on this matter. Would you mind if we postpone further discussions till tomorrow?

Mr Smith: Well, I suppose not however I was in fact scheduled to fly back to Texas tomorrow evening. I guess I can always cancel the flight if need be.

Mr Khan: Thank you for your understanding, Mr Smith and do excuse this confusion.

Mr Smith: Of course it’s no problem. Shall we reconvene tomorrow then?

Mr Khan: Yes, tomorrow.

Both men get to their feet and shake hands.



Now it is your turn to act out your own business English role play. You do not have to use the same approach you can be totally creative and original. Have fun with it and focus on having a “natural” dialogue.


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