How to Negotiate Contracts Over the Phone

The best practices to discuss documents during conference calls

Thursday morning, ten minutes before the most important phone call of this week starts. A straightforward meeting via phone with your business partners, your colleagues and the lawyers of both parties expects you. The topic of the call is the final discussion of a strategic partnership contract in regards of a new joint venture. Five minutes prior to the call you suddenly see a mistake on page three of the contract. The contract has already been sent out to all participants of the meeting yesterday evening, no chance to make any last minute changes.

Set up an agenda to make phone calls effective

Prior to the meeting, everybody should be informed what he has to expect from the call. The most effective way to structure your meeting is by setting clear objectives. All meeting participants should be invited in a polite way to the conference or phone call in time. At least one day prior to the call, an agenda should be sent out to all participants. While relevant information from the past should always be shared with everybody, it is critical to share the documents which are going to be presented and discussed in the call upfront. Sharing important information upfront has two negative effects. First, some of the participants will go through the contracts and misunderstand paragraphs which are in need of an explanation. These misunderstandings maybe result in alienate participants. Second, there will always be somebody in the meeting who has not seen your email and therefore feels disadvantaged because he had no chance to read the information upfront. Hence, it is important to share the documents at the beginning of the meeting with everybody at the same time.

Make sure that everybody is on the same page

The most common way to share documents at the beginning of a phone call is to send email attachments to everybody. Although this sounds quite simple, it often results in little issues and makes your meeting ineffective before you event started to discuss the first page. Did you send the contracts as a PDF? If not, somebody of your participants maybe has not chance to open your format because he uses another operating system. Did you forget to include a recipient because you do not have his email address? After some more minutes, everybody finally received a copy of the document and you can start to discuss it. The more pages the document has, the less likely it is that everybody looks on the same paragraph. Especially in legal documents, where mistakes could cause millions of dollars’ damage, it is pretty impossible to know if everybody looks on the same paragraph. There are not many tools out there which make it much easier to handle contract discussions via phone.

Most conferencing solutions will solve some of your problems and create new ones. The simple tool Beamium solves all the issues described so far. Simply upload your document on by drag and drop and share the 8-digit access code to your document via link or verbally at the beginning of your meeting. All that your participants have to do is to click directly on the link or to go to and enter the 8-digit ID. Beamium guarantees that everybody of your listeners is on the same page. Whenever you click one page forward, the page will automatically move forward on the devices of your audience as well. No installations are needed for Beamium – every simple internet browser enables you to discuss documents online. Moreover, the presenter decides if the participants can access the document prior to the meeting and have a look on all pages or if they only see the first slides until he starts. Therefore, you are able to optimally prepare and start your meeting without any hassle.

Conclude the main results and send a follow-up

At the end of your meeting, you should briefly summarize the key outcomes of the discussion. Take enough time after your meeting for writing the meeting notes, summarize the to-dos for all participants and do not forget to share the discussed document with your audience. Beamium supports you at this last step as well. Immediately after your meeting, you can enable your participants to download the document and save the contracts locally on their own notebooks. Finally, you can see in your Beamium account how often the presentation has been viewed and check if everybody downloaded the document. A successful phone call starts with its preparation and ends with the distribution of the slides and meetings notes. Beamium enables you to bring everybody on the same page, makes sure that documents are shared at the right time and saves you time by distributing the slides with only one click. Do not forget to prepare your next conference call effectively to ensure its success.

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Author: beamium