Managing Expectations in Contract Negotiations

contract negotiations Apr 05, 2022

Negotiating contracts isn’t just about what you say when discussing the contract terms. It is also about the tone and expectations you set before and during the process.
Here are some things to think about with your negotiations:
1. Your expectations
Start with you. What are you expecting?

Because your preconceived ideas will influence your approach. You might be more aggressive and on edge if you expect a fight. If you expect it to be easy, you may not keep your guard up as much as you should.
2. Your team’s expectations
What do your manager, clients, and stakeholders expect?

Understand how they measure success and if it is realistic. If it isn’t, take some time to clarify what they want to happen and ways to achieve it.

Stay aligned on the negotiation’s timelines, goals, and priorities.
If you are working with someone new, get a feeling for their expertise level and negotiating style. If that person is very experienced, they may expect you to step out of the way.

But if the person is more junior, you may need to coach them more on what to expect and how the process flows. 
3. Your counterparty's expectations
What is your counterparty expecting?

Consider taking steps to set your counterparty’s expectations early in the discussions.

For example, when they ask for something, do you listen thoughtfully and give your response, or do you just shut them down with a firm no and no discussion?

They are paying attention and will adjust how they approach issues by how you negotiate the preliminary points.

Setting expectations in your expectations is a simple step that you can take to make your negotiations go more smoothly.

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