One thing I’ve learned over the past 30 years is, when there’s a problem, it’s almost always a communication problem.
Does your boss not value you enough? Try talking to her honestly about what you’re trying to accomplish, maybe even ask for some pointers.
Does you girlfriend think you don’t appreciate her? Try talking to her about why you do.
Does a client frustrate you to no end? Rather than bad mouthing them with your team try setting up a heart-to-heart talk with them where you can listen to them. Chances are, they’re frustrated too. Talking honestly can help to bridge the gap and get your project back on track.
Communication skills are key to every aspect of your life. Don’t try to communicate with real people like you do on Facebook and Twitter.
Have you ever written an email to a client like this?
Here’s the thing we promised you.
Let me know your feedback and we’ll start in on revisions.
Yea, so have I. It’s terrible. Stop doing it right now.
Your client hired you because you have some level of expertise and knowledge that they don’t. Remember that you need to communicate that value when you are selling your work. The selling part continues even after they signed the contract and work has started. Even quick notes to your clients need to have your values expressed in them.
I’ve finished up the thing we talked about. I found that X, Y and Z will work best because of the super-awesome logarithmic system that we mentioned during the kickoff meeting. In the past that system has increased sales 9% and I think you should see similar performance.
Let’s set up a time tomorrow so I can explain the data points that lead us to thinking this is the best path for your business and what the next steps should be. During that meeting we’ll gather your feedback and plan revisions with you.
The truth is, you’re smart and the client should trust you 100% already right? Maybe after 10 years they will, but for the first 10 years you need to remind them how awesome you are.
Could you do a better job of selling your ideas?
photo by: John McNab via Flickr
Karl Sakas says
Phil, that second email is much better — but I have to admit, I’ve sent the “here’s the thing” email more than once…
At an AIGA Raleigh event, creative director Woody Holliman mentioned the importance of “selling” a design — explaining the process, instead of just dumping the deliverable on the client. See idea #7: http://karlsakas.com/aiga-business-of-design-and-marketing/
Phil Buckley says
I think we’ve all sent a couple “here’s the thing” emails. I think it’s human nature to think of email as less formal and quicker.
Anjelica Cummings says
Phil, you are exactly right. So often we consider email as the convenient and quick method of communication. The downfall here, is that we become comfortable behind the screen and quick communication becomes our normal. Just because email is our method of outreach, doesn’t mean the work is being viewed on an average or quick scale. We all have to consciously remember that part of producing quality work includes relaying that quality to clients appropriately.
Phil Buckley says
Right Anjelica. It’s something I think we all fall prey to from time to time. I know personally I have to fight against it on a pretty regular basis.