When you\u2019re drafting a contract, you\u2019re setting the\nboundaries and expectations for a business relationship that may continue for\nyears and years. It\u2019s critical that you get the details right. Here are nine\ncontract drafting tips that will help you go from handshake agreement to signed\ncontract. \n\n\n\n1. Start with an\nOutline of the Deal\n\n\n\nBefore you start working on the actual language of the\ncontract, you need to make sure you are clear on what the deal is you are\ntrying to memorialize. Create an outline of the agreement that includes the\nanswers to these basic questions:\n\n\n\nWhat is going to be delivered?When is it going to be delivered?Who is delivering it?How much is it going to cost?How will payment be made?When will payment be made?Who is paying?\n\n\n\nIf you have a good outline, drafting the contract will be\nmuch easier. \n\n\n\n2. Choose a Template\nto Get Started\n\n\n\nThere\u2019s no need to stare at a blank page. You can start with\na template or a similar contract you\u2019ve used in the past. However, you need to\nmake sure you change details such as the party names. Make sure all of the\ninformation from your outline makes it into the contract, and that any\nreferences other parties are eliminated. \n\n\n\n3. Choose Clear\nLanguage\n\n\n\nCommercial contracts are more effective if they are easy to\nunderstand. Your goal is clarity. Use precise language. Don\u2019t be afraid to\ninclude a list of definitions to make sure everyone has the same understanding.\nAny ambiguity is a seed for a future conflict. \n\n\n\nAvoid using words that have specific legal meanings, and that have different meanings in other contexts. If you need to use legal terms of art, make sure your intention is clear. \n\n\n\nDo you want to Win at Contract Management? Schedule Live 1 on 1 Demo.\n\n\n\nWhen you use clear language, you increase the chances the\nagreement is executed smoothly by both sides. \n\n\n\n4. Be Consistent with\nTerms \n\n\n\nContracts need to be clear, but they also need to be\nconsistent. It\u2019s okay if the contract is boring. It\u2019s not supposed to be\nriveting reading. Don\u2019t use synonyms. Use the exact same words the same way\nthroughout the document. \n\n\n\nYou also need to be consistent with how you refer to the\nparties. \n\n\n\n5. Be Concise\n\n\n\nThe first rule of excellent writing is: Omit needless words.\nExtra words not only make a contract longer than necessary, but they may also\nsubtly alter the meaning of a key clause. \n\n\n\nShort sentences are easier to read and understand. Your\nfirst draft of the contract will not be perfect. Your first editing step should\nbe to eliminate extra passages and phrases from the document. Only include\nclauses that are relevant to the specific deal\/\n\n\n\n6. Define the Parties\n\n\n\nThe best practice is to define the parties in the first\nparagraph and announce how they will be referred to in the rest of the\ncontract. For example, you will want language similar to this:\n\n\n\nACME Inc., hereafter\nreferred to as \u201cVendor\u201d, and Big Bucks LLC, hereafter referred to as \u201cBuyer\u201d\u2026\n\n\n\nYou need to make sure a stranger to the deal can easily tell\nwho has agreed to do what. Clearly defining the parties will make the rest of\nthe contract easier to read and understand. \n\n\n\n7. Define the Purpose\nof the Contract\n\n\n\nIt may be clear to you know what the purpose of the contract\nis, but it may not be clear in three years after you\u2019ve been promoted and\nsomeone else is trying to make sense of the contract you left behind. \n\n\n\nAfter you have defined the parties, you should define the purpose of the contract. This is the part of the contract known as the recitals, where you state a set of facts that the parties have agreed to that form the basis for making a deal. \n\n\n\nNever lose a contract again! Work more effectively, increase your revenue, centralize & secure your contracts. Available anywhere, anytime & on any device.Get your Free Demo today! \n\n\n\n8. Dispute Resolution\nClause\n\n\n\nNot every contract is going to have a happy ending. You need to draft a dispute resolution clause that outlines how the parties will handle any disputes.\n\n\n\nYou may want to require mediation or arbitration instead of\nlitigation. \n\n\n\nHaving a brief dispute resolution clause could save your\norganization a lot of money.\n\n\n\n9. Draft with an Eye\non Future Litigation\n\n\n\nWhen drafting a contract, you need to imagine the entire\nlifecycle of the agreement. This includes drafting with an eye towards the\npotential of future litigation. The document you are writing may end up in\ncourt being interpreted by a judge or a jury.\n\n\n\nYou need to draft like the future of the deal depends on a\nstranger being able to understand exactly what all the details of your\nagreement are. \n\n\n\nTaking the time to carefully draft a contract will help\nreduce your risk and will help ensure a strong business relationship between\nthe parties.