1. Put It In Writing. You have nothing to lose by putting your agreement in writing. Make sure to properly document all agreed-upon terms in writing even during the negotiation process, whether by way of a formal contract or a short email.
2. Be Prepared. Before beginning any negotiation, you should know your goals and the desired outcome. You should also identify items that are non-negotiable. Ideally, before any negotiation, you should do research and find out as much as possible about the other side’s current situation, goals, desires and non-negotiable terms.
3. Be Prepared To Make Some Compromises. To ensure compliance with the terms of an agreement, it is important that both sides feel as though they have made a good deal. Because you may need make acceptable concessions, in general, you do not want to start the negotiation process by offering your absolute bottom line. Rather, leave room to negotiate, allowing the other side to feel that he/she has also achieved a good result.
4. Stay Focused On Long-Term Goals. While it may be alluring to get as many concessions as possible, stay mindful of your long-term goals. Sometimes, conceding a small point may actually be more beneficial if it encourages the other side to compromise on an issue that is more important to you. Stay focused on the long-term repercussions of each concession/compromise made or offered.
5. Focus On The Positives. Instead of focusing solely on the parties’ points of disagreement, it is important to remind yourself (and the other side) about all the issues on which you have reached agreement. This approach also requires that you compartmentalize the key terms of your agreement, discussing and negotiating the terms separately instead of adopting an “all or nothing” approach. This way, the parties can readily realize the progress they have made by way of a series of agreements rather than focusing on one impasse.
6. Know When To Stop. Negotiation is a process that requires time, effort and patience. If you reach an impasse, be willing to end the meeting and reconvene later.
7. Consult An Experienced Attorney. Even for the simplest of contracts, enlisting the help of an experienced attorney may help you secure the best results at the outset, avoiding potential pitfalls down the road. Don’t hesitate to consult an experienced attorney before and/or during negotiations.