Negotiating With Someone Who Doesn't Understand

laura's contract tips Jan 29, 2024

Today's contract tip is about negotiating with someone who doesn't know what they are talking about.

I don't mean this in an insulting way. We all started somewhere.
We all have had to negotiate terms or transactions that were new to us and beyond our comprehension. It goes with the job.

So while it is understandable, it is still challenging for the other person negotiating the deal.

Here's what has worked best for me in these situations:

1. Don't lecture or insult

As soon as your tone turns condescending or insulting, the person's guard will go up even higher. If they feel threatened, they may shut down even more. So I make sure not to speak that way.

2. Ask lots of questions

When I can see they don't understand things, I ask open and friendly questions to encourage them to engage in a conversation about it. Use your mirroring. Acknowledge their ideas. That opens up their mind to hear what you are saying.

3. Let them save face

Sometimes people don't realize what they are arguing until after they've taken a hard position. When I see that, I suggest we hold off on that issue. I then look for softer openings to revisit.


Our LinkedIn contracts community had a lot to say on this topic.  Here's a link to the original LinkedIn post with 54 comments, or check out this recent repost with 41 comments. So many interesting ideas and suggestions!

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