I usually don't send clients a "contract", but a "project proposal". The proposal includes an explanation of the work I'll do (and not do) for them, the deliverables, what I require from them (technically and content-wise), my fees, terms of payment and other general terms (copyright, source files, what happens if the project is cancelled).
In short, it has almost everything a contract should have, just presented a different way. It uses conversational language, and is worded in a non-threatening way (Not "the client shall pay 30 days after or be subject to late fees and litigation" but "The final payment will be made within 30 days of completion and deliveryof the project"). It also helps that it outlines in detail what BOTH parts are agreeing to. More of a way of stating how we will partner together.
I've never had anyone complain about it. I think the combination of it not being called a contract and having a friendly tone helps take away client reservations. And thankfuly I have never had to test its validity in court ;)