Our reader poll today asks: Have you been burned before by not having a contract with someone and relying on a handshake agreement instead?
- Not yet—all my handshake agreements have gone well and without issue 38.95%
- Yes. The handshake agreement was a bad idea and I should have had a contract instead 61.05%
Put it on paper. More than 60% of you report a “handshake agreement” going wrong and that you should have had a contract instead. Contracts in business relationships, even with friends and family, are a good idea. They lay out expectations clearly and specify accountability if things don’t go well. Handshake agreements leave too much to memory and differing interpretations of what the deal is. While someone may feel insulted that you want a contract with them because they’re a friend or family, that small moment of discomfort can help you avoid losing a relationship in the long run. If you’re uncomfortable drafting the contract, ask the other party to put something together in writing so you can react to it. That will give them a feeling of control and comfort in that initial interaction and make it seem less like you’re putting something over on them or don’t trust them.
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These results were originally a SmartPulse poll in SmartBrief on Leadership which tracks feedback from more than 240,000 business leaders. Get smarter on leadership and sign up for the SmartBrief on Leadership e-newsletter.