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Contract Negotiation Confidential: 5 Essential Tips

When handling contracts, agreements, and disputes with third parties, in-house legal teams are the first point of contact. Our new guide, Contract Negotiation Confidential, explores how to maximize your negotiation outcomes and sharpen your skills based on advice from seasoned lawyers. Below are five negotiation tips and strategies that can help you navigate through complex situations. Better yet, grab the complete guide to negotiating here.


1. Understand Your Position and Your Opponent's Position

Negotiation starts with a clear understanding of your position and your opponent's. Before entering into any negotiation, conduct due diligence and research on the subject matter. This will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your position and opponent. These facts will enable you to develop a negotiation strategy that will ensure you achieve your desired outcome.

2. Develop a negotiation strategy

Having a negotiation strategy is crucial to achieving your desired outcome and helps you stay on track when the discussion veers off. When developing your negotiation strategy, always consider your best alternatives to a negotiated agreement, popularly known as (BATNA). A BATNA will give you options to consider should the negotiations take a different turn from expectations.

3. Never Show Your Hand Too Early

Don't reveal too much information too soon, mainly if it concerns points that will weaken your position. Remember that negotiation is all about give and take and revealing your hand too early removes your bargaining power.

4. Listen Actively and Empathetically

Listening is an essential aspect of a successful negotiation. Always pay attention to what the other party is saying, and try to understand their position. Try to detect their mood and attitude, as they can give you clues about their intentions.

5. Use Timing to Your Advantage

Timing is everything in a negotiation, and always aim to be the first one to make an offer. This is because the first offer serves as an anchor point and sets the direction of the discussion. Additionally, you can use timing to your advantage, introducing new points in the negotiation when your opponent is least expecting.

The ability to hone your negotiation skills should always be noticed. Understanding your position, having a BATNA, developing a negotiation strategy, active listening, and timing are essential elements of a successful negotiation. 

Negotiation is a core aspect of the legal profession and an art that requires continuous honing. Grab our free guide on Contract Negotiation to sharpen your skills and maximize the output of your hard-fought negotiations.

Christina Sullivan is a Content Marketing Manager at LinkSquares.