They say things come in three’s and unfortunately I had to send three very difficult emails this month. All having to do with communication… or lack thereof. Two were personal and one was business.
Please let me start by saying the following:
1. I always try to use the services of other entrepreneurs/small businesses that I know personally or have been recommended to me by someone I know.
2. Method #1 normally works well for me.
3. I truly hate any type of confrontation which is why I prefer to use method #1.
4. Method #1 did not seem to work in my favour in these three instances.
I will not go into detail about my recent experiences because I don’t want to embarrass or call anyone out, so instead I’ve decided to focus on the topic of communication.
Everyone has heard the saying “Communication is Key”. Communication is the main ingredient in every aspect of your life from your personal relationships to your business relationships. Think about your daily interactions and how communication affects each and every one. My husband and I have it out when there is a of lack of communication, but our relationship thrives when our communication is high.
As a Virtual Assistant, frequent communication is a staple. Without it, my business would fall apart. I work best with clear and concise instructions. It is also important that I communicate to my clients about how I work and what to expect from me. In the beginning stages of my business, I lost clients due to my lack of communication as I wasn’t asking the right questions or being open enough about my abilities and skills. I have also released clients due to their lack of communication and in once instance their over-abundance of communication (that’s a fun story to tell lol). I run a business and I don’t have time to chase you for important information, nor can I read your mind (I wish I had that superpower), nor can I spend valuable business hours trying to talk you off a ledge (more fun stories).
My clients receive a weekly email from me, normally on Mondays, and this email clearly states any current projects I am working on for them, where I am on those projects, how much time is left in their package, and I ask for any information I may be missing to complete a project. It also asks them to contact me should they have any questions. My current clients are great at getting back to me. Some are just confirming the information I gave them, some are giving me the information I requested, and some are apologizing for not getting back to me after last week’s email. lol
We are all business owners and most of my clients have families as well, so I get it, shit happens. All I ask is that if shit is happening at this current moment, please let me know. If I know you have some personal issues happening, or you are so ridiculously busy that you need to get back to me next week instead, or your child has been sick, or you’re currently on holidays, that is totally fine, I can re-arrange my schedule, just let me know (my clients are very good at this).
The same goes for anyone I am hiring. If I hire you for a service or a product, I expect it in a timely fashion. Especially if it has already been paid for (this should go without saying). I also expect some form communication about the status of my product and/or service. And if shit is happening and my product/service isn’t getting done, or won’t be completed within the original time-frame, YOU NEED TO LET ME KNOW! It’s that simple.
I tell my husband and my kids this all the time, as long as I know what is happening, it’s all good. I may not like it, but I respect it because you kept the lines of communication open and I can arrange our schedules as necessary. I also always tell my husband to not leave things up to my crazy imagination, because that’s not good for anyone. lol
I wondered if I was overreacting a bit to this topic, so I asked a friends & colleagues her thoughts on communication. Here’s what she had to say:
“Michelle, I totally get what you are saying and I think we have all definitely been there at one point or another. Without open communication, things can be left to interpretation. If I don’t hear from you I may think I did something wrong or you are mad at me. It’s just how women seem to overreact, especially when they communicate with emotions!There I said it, yes women tend to communicate with emotion. The important thing is to take emotion completely out of communications. When you read an email and think someone is upset with you, you may read that email with a completely different set of eyes then you would if someone wasn’t. Remember tone is not present in an email like it is in a one to one conversation! The one thing I have learned is when you do have any kind of emotion then keep an email in your draft folder for at least 30 minutes. Take a break, go for a walk or do a different task and after the 30 minutes go back to the email and read it again before you send it. The same holds true for reading an email. If you read an email and think someone is upset, play a happy song and get into a fantastic mood and then read the email again – it is amazing what your own change in emotion can do to any communication!”
PS. Since writing this email at the beginning of the month, I have yet to hear back from one of the business people I was referring to. Very disappointing to say the least.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic as well. Comment below and share your thoughts.
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