This week’s tip is about training through demonstration. One way to do that is to do a mock contract negotiation. Watching a live (or recorded) mock negotiation promise is a dynamic and engaging experience, which is a stark contrast from static text materials.
Mock negotiations allow the audience to be shown and not told why the organization cares about certain things or takes certain positions. The audience taps into multiple senses when they watch a mock negotiation. Information because sights and sounds and not words on the page. Context is established. The audience will come away with a deeper and richer understanding of what you are training them on.
In the spirit of the theme of this newsletter, running a mock negotiation session involves minimal prep time. No slides, no script, no editing, no stop-starts, and no getting in your own way.
All you need is a few minutes to devise the fact pattern and locate an agreement to negotiate from, you and your negotiating partner read those over and then let spontaneity and your skills do the rest on the day of the negotiation.
Get a colleague in your department, or if you are the legal department get an outside peer or, feel free to ask me, each of you take a “side” in a mock fact pattern and role play the negotiation of the contract as a training exercise.
A good mock negotiation will have you periodically breaking the fourth wall to pause the role play to explain the rationale of your arguments and choices to the audience. Examples include explaining why you raised a particular point, why the other’s sides request is accepted, or why there is a need to check on something and get back to the other side.
Some planning, housekeeping, and formatting advice:
- You can run this live either virtually or in-person.
- Unless you plan to run more than one session, you won’t have time to negotiate and explain everything. Cover what’s important to you and your organization, including the risk allocation. The “stuff that legal just cares about” is still important.
- Let yourself negotiate live in the moment. Your performance will be much better if you don’t prepare what you will say.
- Record the session for future use.
- Leave time at the end for Q&A and make it easy for attendees to send questions afterward.
- Use this as an opportunity to explain the why behind your playbook’s content. When I run mock-negotiations, I often explain to they audience why I made an argument, what I assume the other’s sides position or interests to be and then the arguments I anticipate them to make and how I would respond to each point.
- Stuck for an idea for what contract to use? Try your standard vendor agreement, an initial redline of your sales contract by a customer, or a customer’s agreement they wanted you to sign.