All human dealings are subject to intended and (largely) unintended misunderstandings and misinterpretations. In fact, when an agreement is distasteful, it’s easy to misunderstand.
Confirm oral agreements, instructions, and understandings in writing at the first chance you get. Don’t rely on just memory.
After meetings, email all the participants recording what was discussed. That way, if there’s ever a debate about what was discussed in the meeting, there is a written record to review. Do this even for phone calls if what was discussed is important. A helpful template:
I am confirming the agreement we reached at our meeting this afternoon. We decided on the following provisions: A, B, and C. Let me know as soon as possible if this information is not accurate so we can finalize this part of our negotiations. Call me to discuss any necessary changes if this doesn’t reflect your understanding.
Idea for Impact: “If it wasn’t written down, it wasn’t said.” Documenting critical decisions—your interpretation of it at least—helps avoid future fracas. If you don’t receive a written protest or correction, your account of the meeting stands accepted.
James P. says
Paper remembers, people forget.