What does a handshake mean?

I recently had multiple business dealings that were done with a verbal go-ahead and a handshake. Both deals later were reneged on by the other party under the guise of “we didn’t sign a contract.”

I was surprised someone’s word and a handshake didn’t seem to mean anything. I thought it sad, but it seems to be the reality of today’s business environment. And don’t blame lawyers for the lack of transparency — they simple represent the wishes of their clients.

Next time you are tempted to be “shrewd” or a “savvy negotiator,” remember you are simply going back on your word.