Negotiation Case Studies , Negotiating Tips , Negotiation Strategies July 22, 2010

By Default -- Negotiating Tactic

Not every contract is air-tight, and there may be wiggle room for people who want to find it. Taking advantage of the wiggle room, that is, finding any omissions or ambiguities in the contract, is the default tactic...

Not every contract is air-tight, and there may be wiggle room for people who want to find it. Taking advantage of the wiggle room, that is, finding any omissions or ambiguities in the contract, is the default tactic. Needless to say, the default tactic is unethical and unfair.

A negotiator using the default tactic will study the contract carefully to find any holes. Then, that negotiator writes a memorandum to the other party, saying that an action will be taken by a specific date. The other party will wait a “reasonable” amount of time for a response, and if none is received, they will act unilaterally.

To protect yourself from a default tactic, you should incorporate procedures into the agreement to protect the contract and the parties. For instance, if you want to change the payment terms, it must be done in writing within a set amount of time and both parties must agree explicitly.

By being aware that some parties use the default tactic, you should be on the lookout for any changes to the terms that the other party is trying to make.

The default tactic also highlights the importance of having a good contract that lays out each party’s responsibilities and agreements. Post-negotiation activities such as elaborating the agreement, approving the agreement, contract administration and contract closure are critical to help prevent misunderstandings and unethical maneuvers.

Have you ever been victimized by the default tactic?
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