Over the past three years of working for one of Charlotte's top digital marketing agencies, I have learned that communication is one of the key ingredients of a successful project. When everyone is on the same page, projects tend to move along smoothly. Based on my experience, navigating rough waters is much better when everyone is on the same boat.
In a former life, I was a front-end developer and communication did not play a huge role in my day-to-day life. I would comment on a task, ask a few questions, complete the assignment and go about my day. In my current role as an Account Manager with Union, my day consists of a variety of tasks, all of which are meant to communicate. For example, I am regularly updating timelines and time estimates, making and receiving phone calls, sending and responding to emails, participating in meetings and sending project status updates.
These tasks may seems like simple day-to-day activities, but they are actually the lifeblood of our projects. These are all forms of communication and the information shared is important to the client, to the Union team and, most importantly, to me, the Account Manager. It is absolutely vital that I use this information to communicate project expectations from the client to the Union Team, and vice versa.
Even Difficult Conversations Have Value
Sometimes these discussions are difficult, especially when they involve topics like going over budget or pushing a website launch date back. In my early days of working at a digital marketing agency, I would loathe having these conversations with my team and especially with a client. I would avoid them like the plague. Over time, I've gained a better understanding of the value that even the toughest conversations can provide. This has helped me become more comfortable discussing these topics.
Another tip I picked up for communicating not so pleasing news, do so in a conversational manner and provide alternative solutions. This opens up a dialogue and can quickly turn an awkward conversation into an opportunity for collaboration.
Also, providing feedback and praise when warranted goes a long way with people. Who doesn't like a pat on the back now and then? And though it can be tough, if there is a request or idea that you think will not help the client achieve their goal, speak up but try offer a different idea or explain why you disagree. No one wants to hear that their idea is a bad one, so try to offer an alternative solution in a constructive manner.
Over the years, I have also learned that when communicating with others, it is best to ask more questions and to avoid making assumptions about ideas that are discussed or functionality that is requested. Asking questions can help you understand the underlying goal and ensure that you're providing the best solution to achieve it.
Don't be Shy
In my opinion, there is no such thing as over communicating. The more open the lines of communication, the better. So, send out those emails and ask those questions but, most importantly, just communicate!