Back to Basics
Communication is essential to our work with our clients. Whether its concerning information architecture, design, web standards, or even the brief forays into personal matters that help to cement relationships - it serves as the foundation of our work. Email, social media, phone calls and even via texting (yes - there are some clients with my cell #) - all are depended upon but not all are created equal in their effectiveness. All too often we gravitate to the written word - working on lengthy explanations to accompany deliverables; choosing every word carefully - balancing the act of sounding like we know what we're talking about without a heavy reliance on our fluent geek. Throw in concern for correct grammatical undertakings (that often means consulting Oscar at the desk next door)...and an hour and a half has gone by in creating one message. The expectation is of course that the carefully crafted message will 'sing' to our clients - offering them descriptors like none other; our words presenting a mental picture that resonates with clarity.
Does this always happen? Or is it better to ask, does it ever happen? We like to think so, but the truth is that our carefully formatted thoughts may make perfect sense in our own heads, but like a game of telephone (this will reek of irony in a bit), they sometimes lose their potency across the transom. Case in point - we recently had multiple rounds of exchanges concerning a revised sitemap for a client. And in complete transparency - that 'we' is 'me.' In all emails, both of us (myself and the client) kept reiterating priority points - but failed to connect our respective dots in a productive way. The solution? Doing something completely crazy, and out of the box - picking up the phone. Within 15 minutes we had reached a resolution that addressed the school's concern without deviating from our best practice recommendations. An added benefit - the person-to-person contact (or mouth to ear) eliminates all neurotic analysis of ambiguous email messages (yes - even the best of us resort to head games at times), and hopefully, the supplemental banter goes a long way in securing strong comfort levels with your client, and likewise, them with you.
This isn't a miraculous SY discovery; rather, an admission of our own communication limitations that we hope to rectify.
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