Negotiations: Making Money Activity

Negotiations: Making Money activity (Download full lesson)
This activity is always one of the most exciting classes for business English courses. It combines language for negotiating, strategy and teamwork.  There are many rules, so the teacher should spend ample time at the beginning of class introducing the key phrases and explaining the rules of the game.  The object of the activity is to make money out of paper and put it in the bank (teacher as banker) and the team at the end with the most money wins. This activity can easily fill a two hour class.

Powerful Negotiation Article & Worksheet

Items needed:

4 large Brown envelopes (or one for however many teams you decide to have).

3 Scissors

4 Rulers

2 protractors

Colored pencils or markers

Many A4 sheets of paper


Step 1. Have a brief discussion about different kinds of negotiations in the workplace and in everyday life.

Step 2. Introduce and explain the key phrases that should be used in the activity.

Step 3. Explain the rules of the game. Make sure everyone is clear about the rules. Misunderstanding could ruin the activity.

Objective of the game: The aim of the game is to make money out of A4 paper by using the items found in the team envelopes to cut the shapes and write the value on them according to the dimensions below. The teacher should randomly place the items in the four envelopes, giving consideration to not giving one team too much of an advantage over the others at the beginning. Remember, the main point is to negotiate with each other for the different items so that they can make money.

Allow one member from each team to choose an envelope, and then, take out and place the contents on the team’s table for everyone to see. This will give each team an idea of what they have, what they need and who they need to negotiate with at the beginning. When a team has the correct items they can measure the paper (ruler, protractor), cut the shapes (scissors) and write the value on the money (colored pencils). When they are ready they can bank the money with the banker and have their score added to the board. They can bank money at any time during the game, however many times they want.


  1. English must be spoken at all times. If students use their native language the banker should fine the team however much she/he sees fit.

  2. The team must be in possession of the items for which they are doing the task at that time, e.g. they must have the ruler to measure the shapes (cannot use a template or will be fined), they must have the scissors to cut (cannot tear the paper or will be fined) etc…

  3. Teams are encouraged to make an action plan at the very beginning.

  4. Team member are encouraged to get up and walk around the class, communicating and negotiating with other teams as much as possible.

  5. The banker can change the value of the money using stock price rule, e.g. too many triangles in the bank, the value goes down to 12 and vice versa. This is at the discretion of the banker.

  6. The banker can award new items during the game, using quiz questions or raffles to decide who gets what, e.g. introduce a purple pencil that can be used on all shapes, introduce more paper etc…

  7. The teams can make any kinds of deals, such as trading items, buying items with money or shapes, borrowing/loaning items etc…

  8. The team with the most banked money at the end, wins!

    Useful phrases:

    Alternatives – What are the alternatives?                

    Bargain – I got a great bargain at the market today?                                  

    Compensate – How are you planning to compensate me for…?

    Compromise – I am willing to compromise if the offer is good?

    Concession – I have made enough concessions already.

    Deal – That’s a good deal.   Do we have a deal?

    Deadlock– We’ve reached a deadlock!

    Flexible – Are you flexible on your price if the conditions are right?

    Indecisive – They are too indecisive about the deal.

    Mutual – We have a mutual agreement on the price and conditions.

    Proposal – Does your proposal include…?

    Trade – How about we make a trade two sheets of paper for the green pencil?

    Unrealistic – That’s a very unrealistic offer. No deal!


    • I think we’ve found some common ground.

    • We’re willing to work with that.

    • Do we we both agree to these terms?

    • We’re satisfied with the decision.

    • You’ve given me a lot to think about/consider.

    • Let’s meet again once we’ve had some time to think.