Regardless of whether you are leading a civic, social, or religious organization, business entity (regardless of size), or any government component, mastering the art, and science, of effective negotiations, and creating a meaningful contract, requires certain, relevant knowledge, combined with the experience, expertise, and commitment/ discipline, to demand, including, certain essential, contract clauses. Far too often, those doing the negotiating, often, proceed, without paying keen attention to ensuring, their actions, are in the best interests, especially, in real – terms, of the group, they serve and represent. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, 5 of these, essential clauses.

1. Specific group needs/ requirements: There are various reasons, groups need to negotiate specific contracts. Before, proceeding, therefore, the negotiator must fully consider, and understand, specifically, what this organization seeks, and needs, to achieve, or ensure, via, this contract. Therefore, an organizing (or similar) committee, must clearly identify the requirements, so the individual, fully proceeds, keeping these, in – mind, throughout the process! How can one make the best decisions, without beginning with this knowledge, and understanding?

2. Expectations of both sides/ guarantees: Quality negotiators must know, and appreciate, not only his expectations, but, also, what his adversary needs, prioritizes, and seeks/ requires. The best approach, therefore, is using, win – win negotiating, where both sides, end – up, satisfied with the results. What clauses should be included, to guarantee performance, including, penalty clauses, bonuses, and other specific requirements?

3. Costs/ Financial issues/ Options/ Alternatives: Before one begins, the process, a realistic, well – considered, budget, should be prepared, and used, as a guideline, to determine, what is realistic, and whether, to proceed. Knowing as many costs, as possible, eliminates many future obstacles, and challenges, because it makes the group, you represent, better prepared, and ready, to proceed. A smart approach is to recognize, and consider, with an open – mind, as many viable options, and alternatives, so financial issues, etc, are properly considered!

4. Performance Issues: Simply, negotiating a clause (or clauses), into a contract, are usually, not enough! How one, ensures, actual performance, of these aspects, requires inclusion, of performance clauses, which include severe penalties, which make, non – performance, unattractive!

5. Conflicts Resolutions: How can one be certain, any future, potential conflict, is able to be, resolved, in a well – considered, timely manner? In my, over four decades, of involvement, in a variety of types of contract (and other) negotiations, I have witnessed, how one prepares, for eventualities, often, differentiates between getting what you seek, and disappointment!

Negotiating can, either, be one’s best friend, or worst enemy! Will you be prepared, to achieve your objectives?