In most cases, significant deals should be reduced to enforceable written contracts. Preferably, you and/or your lawyer should draft them and you should have standard templates for your standard agreements. Doing so has several advantages:
1) Your first draft becomes the starting point from which all subsequent negotiations proceed;
2) You get to include your standard terms;
3) By making your counterpart suggest changes, you can get credit for being reasonable when you accept them;
4) You have first crack at addressing issues you didn’t originally negotiate but subsequently identify.
Of course, make sure your standard templates do not include extensive legalese and archaic jargon as these make it unpleasant to edit and difficult to understand.
In fact, in a recent Financial Times article contract drafting consultant Ken Adams suggests that “using standard English generally cuts about 25 per cent of the words without losing any of the substance” and can significantly improve a contract’s clarity.
Adams also suggests using information technology to streamline the process. And in that regard, ExpertNegotiator includes a document management element so you can associate contracts with specific negotiation plans and strategies and document the results of the negotiation – all of which becomes part of your company’s easily accessible negotiation “tribal knowledge” and further improves your negotiation process.