As we enter the festive period, businesses will be starting to close off their activities for 2021 with operations winding down in preparation for the Christmas/New Year shutdown. This raises the question of “how do we deal with negotiations that are still in progress?”. Regardless of whether it is a complex, long term negotiation or a deal you don’t feel will be wrapped up before the break - if you are needing to adjourn over the holiday period, there are a few tips that will help ensure you successfully pick up and progress the deal forward when you return in the new year:
1. Summarise the discussions to date with the other party. Make sure that all the hard work you’ve both put in so far is on the record and traction gained is not lost!
2. Give the other party enough time to respond. Ensure that the other party is provided the opportunity to clarify any of the points within your summary, and better still - provide their own summary of the discussions to date in return. Make sure you give them enough time – don't leave this until the last day of trade!
3. Best practice would be to ensure these summaries are documented via email. This ensures everybody has something concrete to refer back to when returning to the office rather than relying on memory which may not be so dependable after a couple of weeks of relaxation and festive merriment! 😉
With these simple but effective processes in place, each party can then take the time to relax over the Christmas break with a view to resume conversations in the new year.
It is important to keep in mind that once meetings do resume in the new year, you should kick things off by summarising where you left off. However, a great question to include at this point would be “Is there any new information that we should be aware of?”. This will help clarify whether both parties are still on the same page or whether there were hidden issues or changes introduced over the break which both parties need to consider, and which may change the direction of the negotiation.
Summaries are a crucial negotiation tool which ensures that important information is not forgotten, whilst also minimising the potential for any intended or unintended “deal creep” to sneak in.
Best wishes for the festive period and happy negotiating!