How To Make Changes that Count: 5 Contract Negotiation Tips
Be confident at the negotiating table, even with a “take it or leave it” contract.
The contract is in front of you, and you know you need changes made before you can sign. If you’re not used to this process, it can be intimidating. Here are five tips to confidently stand in protection of your interests.
Let’s explore each tip in greater detail:
Anticipate their perspective
Before requesting any changes, it is important to think through the other party’s potential arguments against them. Taking the time to consider these issues beforehand can help ensure that your responses are well-crafted and address all relevant points.
When trying to make a case for a change, consider the other person’s point of view and try to find common ground. Identifying areas where you can reach agreement with the other side can go a long way in negotiating your position.
Being aware of how changes could potentially impact various stakeholders can also be beneficial in strengthening your argument. Take the time to understand how an upcoming change could affect those involved, so that you can explain why it is beneficial in a comprehensive way and ensure that all concerns are addressed.
Compromise where you can
The best negotiators never rule out compromise, and it can work in your favor to bolster your credibility and trustworthiness.
Compromise allows all involved parties to work together towards common goals while still respecting each other’s positions on various matters – which greatly increases the chances of arriving at a successful outcome. Demonstrate how their concerns can still be addressed under the proposed changes; this will show that you are willing to cooperate to find a middle ground.
If negotiations become difficult and progression is slow, compromise can provide much needed breathing room for both sides to better understand each other’s position. This then allows for greater clarity and can ultimately lead to both sides reaching a mutually satisfactory deal in the end. Being seen as an open minded negotiator will make others feel respected and increase their willingness to listen to your requests.
Pick your battles
Some people just enjoy arguing – but don’t take that tactic if you truly want to accomplish something. It’s more effective to show why your issue matters in the real world and in the context of the project. When the other side throws up smaller issues, use those talks to show your ability to compromise and your commitment to finding a reasonable solution.
When looking for ways to expand upon your argument and provide more detail or facts, consider researching related topics that can give you further insight into the matter at hand. You can then use this information as well-reasoned evidence in support of your position, and this can make all the difference.
Face to face is best
Written communication is useful in many ways, but it does lack nuances that are often beneficial for negotiations. Non-verbal communication, such as pace, tone of voice, and facial expression (in video or in-person) add valuable depth and understanding that can make the difference between rejection or a fruitful agreement.
Non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions (in video or in-person), and tone of voice can provide important context which is often easy to miss in written form. This context can be especially important when the negotiation involves complex topics, or when emotions are high. Non-verbal communication also allows for participants to pick up on subtleties that may have gone unnoticed via written communication, such as hesitation or agreement. All of this combined helps create a better understanding between the two parties involved as they work together toward a mutual goal: a successful negotiation.
Use fairness to your advantage
While there is no legal obligation for fairness, you can make huge strides in negotiations by effectively communicating why certain terms or outcomes simply aren’t fair. It is a simple concept but it can be incredibly powerful if done correctly.
Being able to effectively articulate why something seems unfair demonstrates an understanding of the underlying issues and gives the other party more insight into your own thoughts and beliefs. Being able to understand their reasoning and perspective can help create a stronger sense of empathy, which can build bridges and bridge gaps between two sides.
While there is no guarantee that fairness will always be maintained in any agreement or negotiation, the ability to calmly explain your beliefs without relying on emotionally charged language shows respect for others’ positions while also providing clarity on your own thoughts and opinions. Ultimately, using fairness as an argument in negotiations allows both sides to come away feeling like they have won something, while ensuring that everyone better understands each other’s viewpoints, increasing trust for moving forward.
Once all changes have been agreed upon, review the final version of the contract one more time and double-check that all alterations made have been accurately reflected. Make sure both parties sign off on any amendments, and keep a copy for yourself. Never sign a document without fully understanding it – no matter how rushed or pressured you may feel. Being aware of your rights and knowing when to stand up for them can give you the confidence needed to approach contract negotiations with assurance and security.