Communication is very important to me and is the basis of a good relationship – personal or business. Over the last few weeks I have seen how good communication can be very beneficial and how bad communication can lead to mistrust, tension, and overall unhappiness.
Case One – Good communication. I am finishing up a large web site for a client who I have been working with for a few months now. To stay on top of everything, we have a scheduled weekly conference call once a week, and then every Sunday I send out a “Web Site Update” email containing all the work I have done, all the questions I have, and address any of the unresolved issues brought up on our weekly conference call. Not only does the conference call help us keep on track, but my weekly email helps communication by making the client happy because they know that:
- they always know that when they check their email first thing on Monday morning, they will know exactly where the project stands
- they have a record of progress available to them to look back through at any time
- they never have to initiate communication regarding what I am doing and what I am not doing (thus letting me drive the development instead of getting pushed)
Case Two – Bad communication. I am currently working on a project with someone who at the very beginning was very open and available for questions/status updates. A few missed deadlines later, I cannot get ahold of him whatsoever. To me, I can understand missing a deadline or two. What I cannot understand is the complete lack of respect for returning my calls/emails/IMs. If there is a problem, let me know – do not ignore me. If there are competing priorities, problems at home, etc – let me know and I will understand. I just want to know that the work/project/etc will be done, but just not in the timeframe we had agreed to. I am not hard to get ahold of and I am always available for a call/email/IM. Ignoring clients/friends/associates is not professional and is only making you look bad.
My refrain: open communication is important. Do not take it for granted. If there is some issue, be open…most likely the other person just knowing some status so suck it up.