How do we Negotiate in the Pandemic

How do we Negotiate in the Pandemic
What are Our Options
Couples are faced with having to cancel or postpone their Wedding Date for 2020, which is having a significant impact on the Wedding Industry both for the Couples and Vendors.
Part/Full payments would have been completed for services throughout the industry, with cost ranging from as low as TT$500 to as much as TT$40,000 in some cases. Some Couples are now having to postpone their wedding date to 2021, while some are staying with their date, but with smaller numbers based on Government guidelines. Some Couples are also cancelling outright and rescheduling when the restrictions have eased up for hosting events.
Contract Obligations
Those scenarios have led to significant negotiations between Vendors and Couples and the contractual arrangements in place that can be used as a basis for negotiating. Most contracts refer to the Force Majeure Clause, which is included in most contracts that speaks to unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters and wars. The current Pandemic however does not appear to fall into that category. It has been noted by senior contracts specialist that “No Contract on earth could have contemplated what has happened throughout the world over the last four (4) Months”.
What Do we Do
So what do we do? Contractual adversarial bargaining may not be the most ideal method as against a more collaborative negotiating process which leans towards a “win win” situation to all parties involved.
When negotiating, be guided by some negotiating best practice.
Being Prepared
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” Benjamin Franklin
When going into negotiations, prepare and plan your approach to the meeting. Identify the key issues you would like to discuss, ranking in order of priority the options available that you are willing to accept. If for example, the Venue is already booked with a down payment of 50% of the cost and the size of your wedding has been reduced by 90%.  What are some the key points to consider?
  1. Quantity of Furnishings (Tables, Chairs etc)
  2. The duration of the event (Number of hours)
  3. Cleaning Fee
  4. Use Bar/Commercial Kitchen
What Can we Trade
What are you willing to give up in order to achieve your goal. It will be important that:
  1. Identify the issues considered to be non-negotiable. You are not willing to sign a contract without it.
  2. Look at the issues you are willing to give concessions on, what you can give up for something in return
  3. What are the items that you can give up, and which is also important to the buyer/seller. Use it as a selling point to capture your overall objective.
Review Vendor/Client Strategies
When identifying the issues involved, review the strategies your Vendor/Client might employ. This approach can place you in a position to be prepared for their key strengths and weaknesses, which you will identify in your review.
Force Majeure in COVID 19

 

The link below is a SAMPLE Force Majeure Clause and Contract Amendment for a Photographer’s Contract. This sample can address some of the changes the COVID 19 Pandemic has placed upon us.

Force Majeure Contract Template

At the beginning of 2020, no one forecasted the major impact this Pandemic have had on the world. Changes in life however requires us to rise to the challenges that presents us and be able to act wisely to ensure that we achieve our goals.
Whatever you decide for your Wedding day, be guided in the knowledge that whatever happens around us, you will be marrying the one you love, for a lifetime of cherished memories.

 

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