Recently, I had two opportunities within a 24-hour period to visit the practice of verbal agreements and what happens when one party chooses to not honor – or renegotiate – a verbal agreement when there is no written, signed document of the verbal agreement.
The first situation was handled with a bit of heat and raised voices, then it was resolved through clear communication and renegotiation. That experience was such an eye-opening circumstance for me, really solidifying the importance of getting a signed agreement, although my word IS my bond and I will do what I’m saying I will. And me not getting a signed agreement was *completely* my mistake as a businesswoman – a mistake I won’t make in business again. A signed agreement protects both parties.
The second situation was in my personal life and it was handled with a soft voice, lowered head, and while hiding behind a wall. There was no clear communication and no re-negotiation. There was also no accountability for the other person’s willingness to back out of our verbal agreement. There was simply, “This is the way it is, Angie. You have no say in it.”
This circumstance really left me in a lurch and has sent me for a tailspin of anger, sadness, and fear. It also had me saying something to the effect of, “I totally understand that person’s point of view and I would have done the very same thing if the roles were reversed.”
I actually said that to a loved one today and she said, “Whoa! Really?! You’re telling me you would willingly renege on your word, back out of an agreement, and hang another person out to dry without another option Really?! You’re willing to stab someone in the back like that?”
Well, when she said it *that* way, NO!
This second situation had me looking at the fact that I DO value my agreements – verbal or written. It also offered me the chance to get really clear about the fact that I would have figured out a different resolution so that both parties in the verbal agreement were honored, instead of just one.
In the end, I have an invitation for you, especially if you are in business… always get your agreements in writing and if you choose to go into verbal agreements, honor them as if they are legally binding agreements even when things get a little tight and emotions are running the show.