I believe in communication—old-fashioned, interpersonal communication. You know, the class you took freshman year—the one that didn’t involve the concept of cell phones, text messages or (gasp) social media. Yes, that admits that I am actually quite old and maybe the truth is my philosophy on communication is even older, but in any case I think that antiqued philosophy serves 3Seed quite well.
My motto is: If you can’t easily explain it within two or three sentences of an email, then there’s no good reason to send an email. In fact, if I do receive one that’s longer than I prefer, I will instantly pick up the phone to call the sender and have a real-time conversation. Not only does it make for quicker progress when answering questions and resolving issues, but it also helps to build a stronger partnership whether it’s with a client, vendor, or fellow 3Seeder. There’s no guesswork. I answer a question, you ask another, we come to an understanding and BAM – 3 longwinded emails avoided.
Not to mention, how many times have you received an email that leaves the tone up to interpretation? If it’s in all caps, ARE THEY YELLING AT ME? Maybe it’s a response that was very direct and to the point—why are they being so short with me? Did I miss something? My answer: Pick up the phone and find out! Or better yet, set up a meeting.
I know, I know, time is money, but there’s no better payoff then building a true partnership with a client. You value them, they value you and together you produce quality, creative work. AND where does that relationship start? You’ve got it, with good communication. You meet (yes, you might actually have to jump on a plane) and get to know one another. It is exactly like dating and to that same regard you need to put in the time and effort for it to work. At 3Seed, I like to set up standing monthly meetings with clients. Even if there’s nothing new on the agenda, there’s always something to discuss. Maybe it’s just, “How are you?” But in any case, you’ve made a commitment to the relationship and to keeping the lines of communication open.
So the next time you’re afraid that your email might come across wrong or it’s taking you 20 minutes to draft, stop yourself and pick up the phone. AND if the topic feels more like a face-to-face conversation, go with your gut and set up a meeting. I know it might seem “easier” to send that email, but I promise your client will appreciate your old-school communication much more.