Business GEM #6 Take Notes
Take notes, keep notes, lots of notes. Keep records, Be very organized.
It takes time but the rewards are well worth the effort. If you do, you
will avoid serious misunderstandings and possible lawsuits.
Take notes during important phone calls.
Jot down who said what.
Take notes at lunches, on napkins if need be. Take notes during
meetings, even those casual “by the water cooler” one-on-one meetings.
Take notes of business or personal discussions on plane rides. Notes.
Notes. Notes. Simply toss your notes into a box where they will be in
chronological order, easily retrievable if needed to settle
Memories are short. Recollections vary. Even with the best of
intentions, everyone, including you, will not recall accurately what
was actually agreed to.
If the agreement was fairly important,
email or drop a note to the other person just confirming your
understanding of what was agreed to. Example:
Joe, I want to be sure I recall correctly what we discussed at lunch
today. What I understand is ……………………… If this is not your
understanding, please get back to me on this right away, otherwise,
I’ll proceed with the assumption this is our mutual understanding and
As an entrepreneur, I made many deals. For every one, no matter how
small, I kept notes. Several times disagreements later arose. On
occasion, others started a legal proceeding against me—a lawsuit—but
quickly dropped it when I presented my notes to them. Notes like the
example above are legally binding. The other party’s signature is not
Believe it or not, in my entire career, including the nine
businesses I developed, I have never been taken to court in a lawsuit
or paid a penalty to settle a disagreement.
Never! Why? Notes have been a major factor. A major factor! I could tell you lots of stories.
Once while in the cellular business, I was in British Columbia for
what was supposedly a business meeting with the President of B.C. Tel.
As it turned out, I was across the conference table from him, his
General manager plus four attorneys. The President of B.C. Tel accused
me of misleading their cellular General Manager. They were obviously
looking for a major financial settlement from me and my company. After
their accusations were laid out, I simply slid across the table my
confirming note to their GM about what he and I had agreed to during a
phone call. After they read my notes, they pushed my notes back to me,
thanked me for coming, apologized, and asked me to please enjoy my
visit at their expense.
I am the only person John Wayne ever allowed to use his name on a
business venture. We were business partners. After his death, when the
vultures surfaced and made
ridiculous claims, there wasn’t any law suit or special settlement
because everything was in writing and documented.
I urge you to take notes. It will save you lots of frustrations, time and money in the long run.