PSU Insight

Speakers' Contracts and Other Important Forms

When You Shouldn't Use a "Contract"

Although I've outlined a number of reasons why you should use contracts whenever you speak, I want to suggest that you not use the actual word “contracts.” Use “agreements” instead. Many people think that there’s something more “official” or legal about the word ‘contract’, but ‘agreement’ works just as well.

And there’s a good reason why you should not use the word “contract” in your ‘written statement of understanding.’ Some corporations require that all “contracts” be reviewed by their legal departments before they can be signed. This can unnecessarily delay the approval of your engagement, and that obviously doesn’t work to your advantage.

However, these organizations may not have a similar restriction on “agreements”, so the paperwork can be approved much faster.

So while I may refer to “contracts” in the general sense, I recommend that you use the word “agreement” on the actual document. It won’t hurt and it might help.