Unless you are living in a forest, feed on hunting animals and live in caves or tree-tops, communication is inevitable to human kind. Especially when this human being is running a business, then communication is coupled with promotion. Well, I call this phenomenon as ‘Business Promunication’ i.e. business promotion and business communication. As soon as you get into a business, communicating with different people and promoting yourself or your services becomes a part of your livelihood.
However, the things get a bit complicated when we talk about designers in this context. Designers are sensitive and not-interfering-with-anyone’s-matters kind of creative individuals. To them business promotion and communication becomes something that they can neither swallow not spit out. What they don’t understand it that a business card or portfolio may not always speak for you that effectively. You need to communicate and promote your services through some other ways and you have to be really good at it.
So, in order to ease the complex procedure of effective Business Promunication for designer fellows, here are a few useful tips.
Know What to Ask & When to Ask it
Timing is an important aspect of both business promotion as well as business communication. For both processes, you need to have proper homework and base material. Taking your resume to a casual gathering with potential client of employer will only show your desperation. Similarly calling the client at the middle of the night to ask something insignificant can be a big turn-off. So you need to know when to strike the iron (or even to strike it at all).
Good Speaker, Better Listener
Both promotion and communication is all about talking and listening. An effective Business Promunication takes place when you learn to strike a balance between talking and listening. You may have much to discuss with your client but that doesn’t mean that you become a chatterbox and close your ears to what the other has to say. In fact, let the client or employee talk first during which you should listen to every word being uttered. Keep making your points in mind and once he is done talking, float your thoughts.
A designer’s life is so multi-faceted that his mind can easily miss important points. In a business promotion process, take points about what the client wants and where he would need help. Similarly during communication, take notes of all important points said and discussed. Also once you are done with the meeting, make sure you write an email to the client mentioning all important points discussed in the meeting. This will keep a record of things and may avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.
Make Yourself Available
Either you are in a design process and the client wants to talk to you about something important, or your potential client likes your pitch and wants to get in touch with you, if you are not available without giving any notice, this can leave a really bad impression on your behalf. I am neither telling you to sit by the phone or computer all the time because you don’t know when a client may contact. Nor am I suggesting you to pick up client’s call even in the middle of night locked in slumber. The key is to make yourself suitable available by fixing your working hours and letting the client know about it too.
A healthy feedback is all you need to keep going. Either you are promoting your services to potential clients or are already in a communication process, there is nothing bad about asking or anticipating feedback about your work. Some designers get raged by criticism (even if it’s healthy) and consider it an insult. What they don’t know is a good feedback can save you from further and much bigger complications and often helps in successful career.
Experiment Different Strategies
There can be a lot of things which can put client off or hook you up to a great deal. If one medium of communication is not working for a client, try to experiment with another. If email is not turning as a good option, try calling or meeting face-to face. Similarly for business promotion, if the off-line sources are not reaping a good result then try online communities for business promotion. Remember that anything can strike any time, so keep your fingers crossed.
One of the common misconceptions about designers is that they are unprofessional and rather casual when it comes to business dealing. I think designers are as capable of promoting their business and communicating with others as any other professional business manager. Most of the time, for a designer, his work speaks of his talent and promotes his brand, however, the importance of human to human communication and personal business promotion cannot be undermined, and this is where effective Business Promunication comes in. I hope these small tips will help you deal with clients and other professionals in an effective way.