I read an interesting article on Freelancers Union today about the way we communicate and the effect it has on creativity and yes, even our passion for what we do. This quote got me thinking:
I just hired an illustrator and a graphic design team for two different projects. During a call, the illustrator spoke in a glib and slightly cynical manner, and I got the sense that he’d been used and spit out by clients in the past. He seemed taken aback when I said that we were excited to work with him and that he was very talented. It was clear he’d never heard that from a client. He warmed immediately, his follow-up emails showed more enthusiasm than his initial correspondence, and the ideas started flowing. I told him he was talented and we were honored to work with him because it was true. I wasn’t trying to butter him up. I was grateful because he was going to be able to materialize the vision for the brand and already had the work to prove it. If he didn’t, I wouldn’t have hired him. But saying so is necessary. Praise or positive reinforcement is important every step of the way. That’s the way we humans actually work. Endorphins and energy rise with positive human interaction.
How many times have you read an email from a client and felt like they really didn’t have any respect for your work?
I have been reading a certain website that encourages vendors to rant about their clients in an effort to educate brides on how they should behave and how they should treat their vendors. I understand completely how frustrating some brides can be, been there done that and learned to refrain from throwing a giant wad of fondant at them! However, I wonder if parading our collective frustration out like so much dirty laundry isn’t doing more harm than good to our vendor/client relations.
How can we, as wedding vendors get out clients to treat us with respect? Maybe we need to start the reaction by being more civil on our end. Pay it forward.
I am not saying that we are intentionally rude or short with our clients, just that we may be short-changing the niceties of polite discourse in favor of expediency in our busy lives.
I am as guilty as the next person. If you have worked with me on a project then you know that in the middle of it, my emails tend to the quick, clean and to the point style. In fact, you have probably at one time or another gotten an email from me that simple read “done”, meaning that the task in the email I am replying to has been completed. Heck, made sense to me, but I think I need to change that.
Reading that article made me realize how important positive reinforcement really is. It made me think about how much more creative I am with clients that show me that they value my skills with more than a paycheck. (not that I don’t value the hell out of that) If you think about it, I’ll bet that you will find that you have worked harder and with more joy for the brides that let you know that they are loving what you are doing.
Maybe, just maybe if we start it on our side, and set an example, our brides will begin to act more civilly. Tell them the choices they have made that rocked. Tell them about the parts of their wedding that you’re excited to be creating. Validate them. It is entirely possible that they will return the favor, that the bride that was at risk of tipping over into bridezillaland may just turn it around.
You never know. It’s worth a shot anyway.
Oh, just to keep me honest, during the month of October, if you get a “done” email from me, call me on it!