How to call a decision by parties in negotiation to do something just to allow talks to move forwards and see the whole negotiation develop,e.g., you draft an agreement or make promise with the intention that you may change your mind.

Literally, such decision might be called a proposal but is there any other way to express it by drawing analogy to strategic game like chess or checker. Kind of wordings that make the decision sound like 'a strategic move'.

  • 1
    "Get the ball rolling" was my first thought, as it's a phrase which is frequently used in business and negotiations. However, this doesn't strongly imply that you may change your mind or call the whole thing off.
    – ArrowCase
    Sep 6, 2017 at 16:49
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    I don't have an exact word for a temporary decision by both parties, but sometimes one side can "float a proposal" to see what the other side will say about the details. Here's an example: dailysignal.com/2016/03/30/…
    – ColleenV
    Sep 6, 2017 at 18:23
  • @ArrowCase Thanks a lot! I think your suggestion has the closest impression to what I need because the purpose is for the deal to move forwards.
    – chanp
    Sep 7, 2017 at 16:05
  • @ColleenV Thank you too. Yes, my original question stem from politics just like where your example is from. U.S.-China trade deal, in case you're interested: commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2017/05/…. And, yes it was an initial result so the fact both sides need to work out the details later is exactly right.
    – chanp
    Sep 7, 2017 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


A common phrase for a formal but non-binding agreement between two private parties is a memorandum of understanding.

There are dozens of other terms depending on context. A legislative body might propose a measure or a government agency might *sponsor an initiative.

Anyone can create an outline or an agenda that goes over the main points they want to accomplish.

Other terms that might work: draft, framework, blueprint, plan, pledge, accord, agreement.

Lastly, you can use to draft as a verb to indicate any of these is not meant to be the final version:

The two sides drafted an accord that would at least allow the negotiations to continue.

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