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Make Promises You Can Keep

If people can't take you at your word, you've got serious problems. Here are 4 simple ways to straighten up and fly right.

This story appears in the February 2003 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

Politicians are famous for asking us to trust them; as they liketo say, "My word is my bond." And, of course, manybusinesspeople just love to seal a deal with a handshake. Yet, asone infamous American president once said, "it depends on themeaning of the word 'is.' "

If we in business are to be taken at our word, everyone has tobe on the same page as to what our words actually mean. So it'scritical that there be no ambiguity in what we say. I guess this iswhere the lawyers enter the picture. They are great at creatingdocuments that close the door on ambiguity. The only problem is, wemere mortals don't seem to understand the fine print. And so,it's back to giving your word and exchanging handshakes.

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