Agreements, especially those of a business or legal nature, are best documented and confirmed.  You risk future conflict by leaving an agreement verbal.  Emails provide a fast and effective means of confirming verbal or on-phone agreements to ensure proper documentation of terms and conditions. Writing emails to confirm verbal agreements can also act as reference documentation for the future.

Business professionals must cultivate good email writing skills to effectively communicate with clients and other organizations.  With the use of email to receive and confirm various business transactions, organizations can manage costs and improve productivity.   Therefore, business professionals must develop the skills to effectively confirm and executive business agreements by email.

Tips for Writing Emails to Confirm Verbal Agreements

Verbal agreements can be quickly altered by human memory or completely lost in translation, so ensure you get it in writing.  Here are some important considerations to keep in mind to help you effectively confirm verbal agreements.

Maintain Best Email Writing Practices

When writing an email to confirm a verbal agreement, maintain email writing best practice.  Your email should have an introduction that states the purpose of your email; a middle/body detailing the information you want confirmed by the client, and conclude with a call to action that ensures you receive the requested information/reaction.

Pay attention to your choice of words when writing your email. Language and tone are important communication tools that greatly affect the ability of the receiver to understand your email as intended.


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Write Emails to Confirm Verbal Agreements Promptly

Timing is key when writing an email to confirm verbal agreement(s).  Ensure you send the email within minutes of the conversation to ensure that the details are still clear in their mind.   Taking notes when having phone conversations is an effective technique to ensure that you capture information accurately.

If you are unable to send your email within minutes or hours of the conversation, be sure to reference the occasion, date and time of the conversation in your email.

Capture Specifics of Verbal Agreements Clearly in Your Email

Verbal and On-phone conversations can often have several dimensions especially when several issues are discussed.   Review your call notes clearly to identify the issues that are pertinent to your conversation and the statements that pertain to your agreement.

Though a lot may have been discussed, clarity on the specifics of the agreement will minimize back and forth exchanges and prevent misunderstanding.  If you are unclear about how something that was discussed plays into the agreement, separate the unclear details in the body of your email and deal with them separately as details that need clarification.

Ask for Confirmation of the Verbal Terms

An email to confirm a verbal agreement must conclude with a call to action for the receiver to validate the accuracy of the information captured.  Use your conclusion to prompt the receiver to provide any additional information to ensure all possible issues are covered.

Also, use the closing section of your email to outline next steps or further action required for the progress of the agreement/business initiative.

Sample Email to Confirm Verbal Agreement

As a business development consultant, you received a call from a potential customer that wishes to develop a business plan for a new business.   The client runs a catering business which she has been running from her home for the last 2 years. She finally has enough money saved to rent a proper space and set up a café to generate income in addition to her catering services.  After discussing her business idea and needs, you have agreed on a price for writing the business plan on the phone.   Now, you are faced with the task of crafting an email to capture the key points of your conversation and outline the next steps.

RE: Business Plan Development for Alize Catering

Dear Alice,

Thank you for your call this afternoon and your interest in my business development services.  It was great talking to you and discussing your business concept and expansion plans for Alize Catering.

As discussed during our telephone conversation:

You would like me to develop a detailed business plan for Alize Catering.

The business plan will set out guidelines for Alize Catering operations in terms of the:

Organizational plan

Production plan

Marketing Plan; and

Financial plan

The total cost for the development of the business plan is $300 payable in 3 installments, with the first installment due immediately as confirmation of this engagement, the 2nd due on receipt of the draft document, and the 3rd due on delivery of the final document.

Please see the attached invoice including bank account details for payment of the first installment.  Once payment is received I will send you a proposed outline for the business plan and a data collection questionnaire.

During our conversation, you mentioned wanting to have everything pertaining to Alize Catering branded with your company logo and colours.  Would you like the business plan branded or were you referring to the promotional materials?

I look forward to your feedback and working with you to develop a solid plan for Alize Catering. Kindly confirm that I have captured everything correctly based on our telephone conversation.

Warm regards

Anne

Business Plan Corps.

Conclusion

Most interactions with potential clients and business partners will be verbal or on the telephone.  Make these interactions and the agreements that arise from them more concrete with email confirmations.   If you already have some email writing skills, you are well on your way to documenting verbal and on-phone agreements. Take accurate notes while having telephone conversations or verbal discussions.  Prepare an email promptly after the interaction to outline key discussion topics, recount details of your agreement, seek clarification on unclear issues and secure confirmation of your verbal agreement.

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