The heart of Negotiating starts with a verbal give and take that moves the parties from their individual wants and needs to a point of agreement.

That, of course, is negotiating, but the most important thing is to formalize the verbal agreement and translate that to a written contract.

    Always be the one to write the Contract

In a typical negotiation, you verbally negotiate the details, then put it into writing later for both parties to review and approve.

Even when you feel you have covered every situation and feel you have covered every detail in the verbal negotiation, there will always be points that you have overlooked when you were verbally negotiating, and you will want to detail in writing.

When you sit down with the other party or parties to approve or negotiate the points that were discussed and are ready to sign the written agreement, that's when the party that writes the contract has a tremendous advantage over the other party or parties.

Most likely when you are writing the contract you will think of several things that did not come up during the verbal negotiations.

Because you wrote the contract you can then write the clarification of those points to your advantage, leaving the other party or parties to negotiate a change in the contract when they are asked to sign it.

This is extremely important even for counter proposals just as much or more than it is for the original contract that may contain several pages.

These additions are probably not big enough to be challenged by either party or a party who is eager to complete the transaction; however, there is a substantially benefit the party who wrote the counter-offer.

The person who writes a one-paragraph counter-offer can affect it as much, as the person who wrote the multi-page contract.

When you are writing the contract, it's a good idea to keep notes throughout the negotiation and put a check mark in the margin about any point that may be part of the final agreement.

Each parties enthusiasm may lead them to believe that they have reached an agreement when they really hadn't.

Both parties may genuinely think that they had reached agreement on a point whereas their interpretations may be substantially different when it is written out.

    This does two things:

1. It reminds you to include all the points that you wanted.

2. When you write the contract, you may be reluctant to include a point in the agreement unless you can specifically recall the other party or parties agreeing to it.

Your notes will give you the confidence to include it even if you don't remember it clearly.

If you are negotiating with a team, be sure to have all the other members of your team review the contract before you present it to the other party or parties.

You may have overlooked a point that you should have included or you may have misinterpreted a point.

It's common for you as the negotiator to let your enthusiasm overwhelm you to a point that you feel that the other side has agreed to something when it was less than clear to more independent observers.

Once the verbal negotiations are over, it is important to get a memorandum of agreement signed as quickly as possible.

The longer you give the other parties before they see it in writing, the greater the chances that they'll forget what they agreed to and question what you've prepared.

Also, it is important to make sure the parties understand the agreement.

Don't be tempted to have them sign something when you know they're not clear on the implications.

You Write the Contract

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