Doublin’ Down on Communication

Posted: August 3, 2012

Topics: Technology

If I had to pick out one of the most important lessons I’ve learned throughout my internship this summer at PUSH 22 it’s this — more than one method of communication is often necessary.

Following up an email with a phone call, following up a phone call with an email, following up an email with a face-to-face conversation… you get the idea. It all helps keep the agency running smoothly and efficiently and when it doesn’t happen, sometimes stuff gets missed. I have found this to be especially necessary with emails. For one reason or another, things seem to get lost or overlooked in cyberspace. Then again, it is easier to ignore someone via email as opposed to on the phone or face-to-face.

Regardless, there are two main reasons I have found it necessary to use more than one method of communication (other than to avoid being ignored).

First, we are all different.

Our brains are different. Our vocabularies are different. We are just different. These differences can lead to miscommunication and confusion. While you may believe that you’re giving clear instructions, they may not always be clear to others.

Jason, push’s web-guy, is great about laying things out for me step-by-step because he knows I don’t speak “computer” as well as him. He usually sends me an initial email detailing a project and then comes to my desk to explain it in person. He’ll even walk me through the first few steps to be sure that I completely understand what needs to be done and how to do it properly. He understands that sometimes two forms of communication can be helpful. Being able to read his instructions and hear his verbal explanation makes learning new programs and processes a breeze.

Second, people are human.

This means they may have read your email or listened to your voicemail and simply forgot. Or maybe they missed a detail in your message.

When an online advertising representative from an online ad network didn’t get back to me by the specified time we’d laid out in a previous email, I had a problem. Since we needed the information before an upcoming meeting with our client, I reached out via the phone to remind her that we needed the information as soon as possible. She profusely apologized and I got the information I needed. Following up over the phone allowed me to reach her directly and possibly more quickly than an email, and she got the necessary information to me later that day.

The lesson: sometimes using more than one method of communication is needed to get a job done well, efficiently, and on time. At first I was afraid it would be annoying, but people typically understand and want to help you learn or do your job well. This is a lesson that can be applicable outside of the office, for example as a recent graduate looking for a first job it is important to stand out as an applicant. In order to make it out of the endless pile of resumes, it is necessary to follow up with companies. And hey, follow up again.

I’m Liz, but my friends call me Nugget … Don’t ask. I’m 22 years old and spending my summer interning at an advertising agency called PUSH 22. Each week I’ll be dipping into the different aspects of agency life and serving up supersized chunks of insight about my experience at push, things I’ve learned about the advertising industry and much more.