listen up

the Art of Communication

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Last night I was able to attend a local AIGA round table on communication. We had a great discussion about some hurdles we have. Some of the great things discussed were:

  • Stop assuming things
  • Covering all the details
  • Get things in writing
  • Be clear about action items (what you are saying you will do, or what you expect)
  • Emailed commitments are legally binding, and will hold up in court
  • Storing and archiving all email communications can be a life saver, do it!
  • Always have a contract
  • Limit how much you communicate, and what is acceptable communication (a text message or Instant message proof approval is not the same as an email

We had the privilege of having a former art director from the early 80’s with us (sorry i dont recall her name). Because she was around before email, she offered some great insight about what could be the problem with todays creative professionals. Too much communication. Phone, Cell, email, Instant Message, text message, mobile email, twitter, etc. We have 15 avenues of communication, and not 1 single most effective one. She made the comparison that we are becoming a jack of all trades, master of none.
How true this can be. I feel that we are pretty good about sticking with the few main stream lines of communication, i will admit i have dabbled with twitter, and other forms of communication, but after last nights discussion, i think I will keep what I have.
What hurdles have you found in communication? horror stories to share?
I’ll start with my horror story.
In a past career life, i was the marketing department for a real estate developer. We printed signs to go on properties announcing future tenants (target, home depot, etc). We wanted these signs up asap, because they were PR for getting the smaller shops sold.
On all projects in the past, the project manager would approve a sign, which meant print, and get the sign shop to install asap. On this project, a rather large one involving a super target. The Project manager approved my sign verbally, in a hallway passing. Great! print and install right.
Bad things. We later found out that super target was not yet a done deal, and they were pissed at our announcement.
Lesson: Have a proof approval process involving 2 check boxes. Art approval & Sign install date. No verbal approvals.
To this day, we ask for email approvals that are clear in order to move on.
What do you have? lets hear some awesome stories!