Designers – Don’t Let Email Replace Personal Communication
The speed of e-mail is a blessing and a curse. We can view or send messages quickly anywhere in the world. But on the other hand, the availability encourages some to misuse it. Hastily-written missives are barely coherent. People get incautious with the “Reply All” and “Forward” buttons. And then there is the spam.
As a result, architectural and design professionals are hard-pressed to separate the important information from the clutter in their inboxes. Despite this problem, the speed-focused culture in today’s economy often encourages over-reliance on email. This puts stress on client relationships and teamwork within the firm. In our business, even one missed communication can dramatically impact the bottom line.
E-mail is a wonderful tool, but it should not completely replace personal contact with your client. Professionals should consider scheduling a combination of face-to-face meetings, video conferencing, and phone calls throughout the project. This will build confidence and keep the lines of communication in good working order.
Design professionals would also do well to seek personal contact with colleagues. As many architectural and design firms are small businesses, this could be as simple as walking down the hallway or stopping by the office. Use the phone! Or consider using an online video phone service. Taking the time for personal interaction facilitates outstanding teamwork.
When e-mail is used, there are many ways to make it a more useful and productive experience for everyone. First, consider whether the email is necessary to send. Next, identify the folks who need to be contacted on the issue, and write your message specifically to them. Use a descriptive subject line. If your email is several paragraphs long, briefly summarize the content of the email in the first paragraph. Lastly, take a deep breath before you hit “Send.” Read through what’s been typed, and determine whether it communicates clearly. Your message recipients will appreciate your consideration, and it will be easier for them to follow through.
When you’re looking for innovative placemaking in the corporate environment, Forcade Associates will help you find the way. We have a proven track record with Corporate, Educational, Retail, and Health Care clients. Organizations in our neighborhood and around the world appreciate our focus on productive client service. With offices in six cities and three continents, we’ll be available where you need us.