It’s been a wild ride this summer for us here at Makeup to Go! with adjusting to living bi-City.
One of the life elements that seem to have taken a hit during this transition has been communication. I have had more weird interactions with people over the last couple of weeks, and it is not just me! A friend who is a veteran of many seasons of major runway shows had a totally bizarre backstage experience at one of the shows this last New York Fashion Week, and even a podcast I listen to told a story of a business inquiry email gone wrong. Communication is everything and can mean the difference between doors opening and closing and the difference between maintaining a sustained relationship and a one and done gig.
As you read this, please know that I have made seemingly every single mistake possible with regards to my business communications. I have sent poorly worded emails, I have failed to return phone calls, I have failed to follow-up, you name it I have done it wrong. LOL! I am still here and I still have an in-tact career. As with everything in life, you live and you learn. Here are my thoughts on on what constitutes effective communication.
1 ) Communication Is Not Just Talking
Just saying something – be it verbally, written form, etc. – is only part of the communication equation. In today’s world of email blasts and tweets those lines often get blurred. And for certain, there are artists have attracted great opportunities for themselves via those methods – myself included. Constantly talking, however, is only one side of the street.
2 ) If The Other Person Does Not Understand You Have Not Said Anything Yet
For me the other aspect of effective communication is the other party understanding you. Tweets and Email blasts are fine but they are just announcements. In order to communicate I need the full story, not just the highlights. Leaving out salient information, or the feeling that I am catching you midway through an already-in-progress conversation, are communication no-nos. Likewise, meandering, indirect, vague communications do not get it done either. I am guilty of the latter. I used to yammer on and on without arriving at any particular point and without saying what specifically I wanted in my emails. I am sure people looked at those emails, deleted them, and went about their day. LOL!
In the case of two of the less-than-successful communications that prompted this article – as of the time of this writing – I still have Absolutely No Idea what exactly the people who contacted me wanted. NO idea, even upon asking for further clarification. Mission not accomplished, not that I know what exactly the mission was.
3 ) The Medium Makes a Difference
There are times to send an email, times to send a text message and times to pick up the phone. I asked several of my working artists friends, most of whom are Senior artists, and we all concur that we prefer not to get business inquiries by text, for example. If it is someone with whom we work regularly that’s different, but for a first contact not so much. This does not mean it never happens, in fact I booked a job that way this week. That said, it would have been easier and clearer via phone or email for sure. When I am the person initiating contact, I have found that an email followed by a phone call has worked best. In those instances where it may be appropriate to start the conversation with a text message, I will generally want to follow with a call or an email just to make sure everyone is on the same page.
4 ) Do Not Be Too Casual
Friendly is not the same as being “friends”. I am friendly with all of my long-term clients but I still respect the fact that these are business relationships and I am mindful of this in my communications with my clients. Likewise when I am contacting someone for the first time, I am a professional approaching another professional so I want to be friendly but not too casual or overly familiar as if the person I am contacting is one of my best homies. Earlier in my career I used to be very bad about this until I got called out by a photographer that my email to him was too casual and thus he did not take my inquiry seriously. Lesson learned.
PS – What is that lead photo about? It is taken from the website Is Mercury In Retrograde. Mercury Retrograde is an astrological occurrence involving Mercury’s revolution around the sun. It is believed by some that when Mercury is in Retrograde communication is more difficult and conflicts and misunderstandings are more likely to occur. You can read more about Mercury Retrograde by clicking here. Whatever the communication problem is of late, it has not been cause by Retrograde because Retrograde does not return until October 21st.
© 2013 – 2016, Tania. All rights reserved.