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Tips on how not to negotiate a contract

8/30/2011

A recent Meetings and Conventions article explained practices that companies should avoid when engaged in contract negotiations.

First, the article advises companies to avoid being trapped by artificial time constraints. The author explains that he used to travel internationally for negotiations. However, in doing so, he had a return flight set up, meaning his negotiations must take place during this period. If negotiations did not go the way he intended, he may be forced to agree to terms of use outside his comfort zone just to have a deal in place before he leaves. Thus, companies need to ensure they avoid creating these artificial negotiation periods.

Businesses also need to be careful not to concede any terms they originally wanted. Both sides should enter negotiations knowing what terms they absolutely need and work to have them included in the agreement. Furthermore, participants should have a list of terms that would be "great to have but not necessary," which they can use to compromise.

Finally, companies should want to write the agreement themselves, as the contract would then be in their own words. In addition, doing so forces companies to read the contract thoroughly and understand it. Thus, no ambiguity should take place, which could affect a business down the road.