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Before you begin negotiating with the other party, you should spend some time considering what you are concerned about and what you want to happen. If there are any documents that are relevant to your dispute, you should review them. Good preparation will help you negotiate.
When preparing to negotiate, you should:
Before you start, it is a good idea to gather any documents or information you have about the problem. For example:
If the problem has been going on for a long time, you may also want to write a chronology. A chronology is a list of events and the date on which they happened, from the first event to the most recent event. This will help you feel confident when speaking about what happened, and when.
For some types of disputes, for example problems with neighbours or family members, you may not have any documents to bring.
If your dispute involves legal rights and responsibilities, you should get legal advice so you can make a good decision about any agreement.
A lawyer can give you advice about:
You can also do some research about your legal rights and responsibilities by:
For more information, see
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Think about what you want from the other person. For example:
Think about what the other people involved may want. Will they want something different or are there things you both want?
When you are negotiating, you may learn new information that could change your mind or help you to understand what the other person needs to come to an agreement. For example, if you learn that time is not important to the other person, you could offer to repay the money over a longer period of time.
While it is important to start with what you want, you should consider:
You and the other party may have to give up some things if you want to reach an agreement.
Think about what might happen if you don't reach an agreement. For example, if you go to court:
Think about your 'must haves' and your 'nice to haves'. Must haves are the things you refuse to give up and the nice to haves are the things you can do without.
It may be a good idea to talk to someone you trust, who is not involved in the problem. They might come up with some new options for how to resolve the problem.
If you want to settle the problem but are worried what the other person will say, you won't know unless you try. For example, if you are negotiating with a business about a debt, such as a bank, credit union, debt collector, collection agency or insurance company, you can make an offer to pay a lesser amount. The business may agree to accept a lesser amount to settle the dispute quickly and cheaply.