These communication pitfalls have been rattling around in my head for quite some time. These issues mostly pertain to clients communicating with agencies, but I imagine these pet peeves can be on both sides. I was wondering if I’m being overly picky or if others find these communication missteps as irritating as I do? Don’t get me wrong—I’m grateful for all of the new technology that makes communicating much easier, but it has also created some pretty bad habits and unnecessary confusion.
1. Creating an email from an old email with an unrelated topic.
When someone simply won’t take the time to send a new email with a relevant topic to what they are writing, they must not care about what they are passing along. I have had clients send content for a project and attach it to an unrelated email and wonder why I can’t find it.
2. Sending edits for a project via instant messenger or through a text to a mobile phone.
Working in a marketing agency with multiple clients means you have to log information as it comes and keep track of where it is going. The only thing worse than sending info via IM or text would be through Snapchat. This may be faster for my clients but it makes for poor quality control on our end and doesn’t save any time in the long run.
3. Resist using the telephone when a conversation is really necessary.
If emails have gone back and forth and there is still confusion by one or both parties, pick up the phone and talk! I have to admit, I’m more willing to do this than the younger generation who is used to text messages, IM and Snapchat. However, sometimes nothing can replace a voice-to-voice or face-to-face communication. Not to mention, sometimes a message can be communicated with the inflection or tone of voice. This nuance is totally lost with a written response.
4. Not responding to all of the questions in an email.
I have noticed over the last 5-10 years that people really hate to read which is why little snippets of content are much easier to digest. I try to make it easier for clients to respond to my questions by numbering them or creating short bullet points. Either way it doesn’t seem to matter, they usually respond to the first one or two queries and then lose interest.
5. Sending handwritten edits via fax.
Yes, we do still have clients that do this. I think it is faster for people to do this rather than work with the annotation tool in Adobe Reader. However, it is much less accurate and takes us more time in the long run. Many years ago these handwritten edits were copiously kept and logged. If the handwriting isn’t legible, or the fax cuts off a note, no time has been saved. Adobe Reader Professional is one communication tool I love and urge my clients to use. It is better for both of us. That is one application everyone should embrace.