IDIOM CONNECTION

Lesson 55

Negotiations and Card Playing Idioms

Introduction

1. Do you ever play cards?

2. What card games do you play?

Reading

The negotiations began with the large buyer and the small supplier both playing their cards close to their chests. The large buyer was very powerful and seemed to hold all the cards in the negotiations. The supplier had a good product and they also had a card up their sleeve because they were the only company who could supply the product quickly. However, they did not want to play this ace immediately. The negotiations dragged on for several months. Finally, the buyer raised the ante when they said that they would find another supplier if they could not close the deal quickly. The buyer had much power but the supplier decided to force the buyer's hand and let them try to find another supplier. This was not possible and the two sides were finally able to make an agreement.

Reading Questions

Answer the following questions. The answers can easily be found in the reading above.

1. Who were playing their cards close to their chests?

2. Who held all the cards in the negotiations?

3. Who had a card up their sleeve?

4. Did the supplier want to play their ace at the start?

5. How long did the negotiations drag on for?

6. How did the buyer raise the ante?

7. Did the buyer want to close the deal quickly?

8. Did the supplier decide to force the hand of the buyer?

Making Connections and Idiom Meanings

Some of the idioms have another meaning or are connected to another meaning. Use this information to help you choose the correct meaning for each of the following idioms:

1. If you are playing cards and you do not want the other players to see your cards, then you can play the cards close to your chest. What does to play one's cards close to one's chest mean in other situations?
a)    to be very open about something
b)    to be secretive and cautious about something
c)    to negotiate very seriously

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. to hold all the cards
a)    to be in a strong position
b)    to be in a weak position
c)    to continue to discuss an issue

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. Originally, when someone was gambling, they could cheat by having a secret card up their sleeve. This was dishonest but it would give the player a secret advantage. What does to have a card up one's sleeve mean in other situations?
a)    to refuse to express your feelings
b)    to have a hidden advantage
c)    to refuse to negotiate

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The ace is the most powerful card in a deck of playing cards. What does to play one's ace mean in other situations?
a)    to play and not be serious
b)    to use one's best resources
c)    to stop negotiating

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. to drag on
a)    to end quickly
b)    to take much time
c)    to stop working

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. In poker, an ante is the amount of money that you pay before you start playing. When you raise the ante, you bet more money which you may win or lose. What do you think that to raise the ante means when you are negotiating?
a)    to increase what can be lost or gained in a dispute
b)    to make a great effort to do something
c)    to make less effort to end a dispute

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. to close a deal
a)    to successfully end a negotiation
b)    to be very close to ending a negotiation
c)    to stop negotiating

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. Sometimes, when you are playing cards, you can force someone to play one of his or her cards or to show these cards. What does to force someone's hand mean in other situations?
a)    to help someone do something difficult
b)    to make someone do something that they do not want to do
c)    to agree with someone's proposal

Your answer is: ___  out of 1



Correct or Incorrect

Which of these sentences uses the idiom correctly? Which uses it incorrectly? Why?

1. The man is playing his cards close to his chest. He is telling everybody his plans.
a)    Correct
b)    Incorrect

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The manager holds all the cards in the negotiations. The manager has most of the power.
a)    Correct
b)    Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. The woman has a card up her sleeve in her fight with her company to get more money. The girl does not have a hidden advantage.
a)    Correct
b)    Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The man played his ace when he was negotiating with the large supplier. The man did not use his best resource during these negotiations.
a)    Correct
b)    Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. The meeting dragged on for many hours before we could go home. The meeting was over quickly.
a)    Correct
b)    Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The small company raised the ante in their dispute with the supplier. They increased what was at risk in the negotiations.
a)    Correct
b)    Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. The woman closed the deal on the new car. The woman will not buy the car.
a)   Correct
b)   Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. The manager forced the hand of the employee to make a decision. The manager made the employee make a decision.
a)   Correct
b)   Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Grammar Focus

Choose the word or expression that makes each of the following sentences correct:

1. Our supervisor likes to __________________________.
a)    look at his cards close to his chest
b)    play his cards close to his chest
c)    playing with his cards close to his chest

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The man wants more money from the bank but the bank manager ___________________ in the negotiations.
a)    held all the cards
b)    hold all the cards
c)    is holding all the cards

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. I __________________ and I believe that I can successfully negotiate a good deal with the car dealer.
a)    had a card up my sleeve
b)    am having a card up my sleeve
c)    have a card up my sleeve

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. I will __________________ when I try to convince my friend to do what I want.
a)    play my ace
b)    play aces
c)    play the aces

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. The speech at the wedding ________________ for a very long time.
a)    dragged off
b)    dragged over
c)    dragged on

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The employee _________________ when he said that he would quit his job.
a)    will raise the ante
b)    raised the ante
c)    raise the ante

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. We were able to __________________ and buy the new house.
a)   closed the deal
b)   closing the deal
c)   close the deal

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. The woman _______________ of her friend when she asked her about the money.
a)   forced the hand
b)   will force the hand
c)   force the hand

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Discussion Questions

Answer the following questions using the idioms from this section:

1. Do you ever play your cards close to your chest?

2. What is a good reason for someone to play their cards close to their chest?

3. Do you know anyone who is holding all the cards in some negotiations?

4. Have you ever held all the cards in some negotiations?

5. Have you ever had a card up your sleeve when you asked someone for something?

6. Do you know any athlete who had a card up his or her sleeve during their negotiations?

7. Do you know any other athlete who could play an ace in their contract negotiations?

8. Were you ever able to play an ace in some negotiations?

9. Have you ever experienced anything that dragged on for a long time?

10. Do you know any negotiations that dragged on for many months?

11. Have you ever raised the ante in a dispute with someone?

12. Do you know any situation where someone raised the ante?

13. Have you ever closed a deal to buy something?

14. Do you know anybody who closed a deal for something recently?

15. Would you force the hand of a friend if he or she said that they would not pay you back some money?

16. Do you know any company that forced the hand of another company because of some issue?

Role Play

Student A: You are negotiating with a car salesman to buy a new car. You are both playing your cards close to your chests but you have a card up your sleeve. You can pay cash and you know that the car salesman needs the money and must sell the car quickly.

Student B: You are a car salesman and you want to close the deal and sell the car. The negotiations seem to be dragging on because the buyer wants a very cheap price.

Lesson 55