Putting it in Writing – Part I
I always advise that it is wise to ensure that you get any agreement in writing – even if it’s as simple as following up your negotiation conversation with an email detailing your understanding of the agreement and requesting a confirmation by reply; just make sure you also keep the emails! File them with your other documents.
Putting any agreement in writing ensures that you both have a shared understanding, and gives you a record of that agreement to refer back to, if any questions, disagreements or diversions from that agreement arise later on.
Consider any agreed change as an opportunity to put your understanding in writing, and seek confirmation or agreement on that.
Why is this so important?
As a mediator and former practising lawyer, I know only too well the devastation people experience when they rely on a verbal agreement, only to find later that their expectations were radically different. Can you spell conflict? This is one that can be easily avoided (and I don’t mean by running away!)
What if you agree to take on an extra project at work? One which will require you to work extra hours, in exchange for an extra week’s vacation so you can attend your friend’s wedding next spring in Maui? You may trust that your current boss will honour that agreement, but what if something happens to her and she leaves the company? What if she has a different recollection in six months time?
It can be as simple as an email.
Getting it in writing doesn’t have to mean an elaborate document full of legalese. In many cases it’s sufficient to tap out an email of your understanding of what you and the other person just decided, or agreed to. Check that your understanding matches and ask for any changes. Then keep your emails in a file as a record of your conversation, your understanding, your agreement.
Get confirmation of it in writing in this way, and you won’t have to worry about the future vacation time.