Communication as a tool: things to remember building effective business relations

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This is obvious, but worth repeating. In order to communicate effectively, you should listen to people and put attention to what they are saying. With this ‘listening’ stuff you’d be able to understand what consumers or partners think before they say it out loud (even before they realise it). But this skill needs practising. Why communication is important in business? You’ll have to talk and organise with subcontractors, freelancers, colleagues, explain to others your vision, brainstorm, meet people at exhibitions, present the project and make skype calls all over again.

It’s not easy, but it isn’t impossible even if you consider yourself an introvert.

E-mail is your friend

Raise your hand those who’d never was in a situation when you did something right, but had no evidence of that. Having everything put down in the mail (= ‘written in blood’) can save you in many situations.

In advertising, there’s a term ‘covering-ass-mails’. It means that you fix everything that had happened (you didn’t receive a piece of work in time; you have actually sent the report which was lost by an addressee; you need a confirmation) in writing so that it even has some kind of legal power in extreme cases. Very useful instrument working with freelancers.

Write follow-ups after meetings and send it to the team, because nobody remembers anything after the door of the meeting room is closed. Believe me.

Messengers are good for an ongoing work where you need quick answers on simple and short questions, but it’s not a very good way to do business and fix agreements about budgets or whatever.

And the most annoying thing for me is receiving work emails on my personal account. Please just don’t.

Always try to stay in touch with people, don’t vanish into the blue whatever you answer is

People were wasting their time writing you a message, please respect it. Even words ‘At the moment your service/product is not relevant to us, but thank you, let’s keep in touch’ are better than silence.

I understand that there are various obstacles, but staying present in the dialogue, answering emails even with a delay is extremely important, it shows your professionalism, your respect, your ability to operate in the changing environment.

It is an essential thing to do not only for people you ‘need’, but even for representatives of platforms and tools you’ll never use. I try to follow this rule, I’m not 100% good at it, but I try.

‘Everybody lies’ except you

By all means, you have to avoid overpromise and lies, especially in written form. It’s very easy to be caught and lose your and your employer’s reputation. There can be a situation when you’re not totally in the picture (developers in your team are always one step ahead of you, they already know something you don’t know about updates, features etc.), then doublecheck before talking. There can be unintentional lies from you, the spokesperson. And it could turn very, very bad.

Instead of ‘our game is 90% ready’ you’d better write more truthful and slightly less promising thing ‘our game is conceptually ready, we have a vision that is written down, now we’re in the development stage’. People will value your sincerity in case you are not pulling their leg.

Try to be as transparent as you can.

Fight chaos

The industry is very chaotic. Development deadlines, meetings, ‘Facebook’s in coma again’ situations — everything is always not according to plan. Still, as a person in management (yes, marketing management) you have to strive to stay calm, consistent, organised. Your emails as one of your main weapons should be structured and clear: with headings, greetings, introduction, bullet points, contacts etc.

Don’t look at people who can’t express themselves explicitly in the mail. You should be better.

A simple thing to do: get in the shoes of the person you are trying to reach. What could be important for him/her?

Let’s respect each other.

Amen.

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Marketing/communication strategist in a gaming industry @ Riga, Latvia (from Moscow, Russia)

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Ekaterina Prikhodko

Marketing/communication strategist in a gaming industry @ Riga, Latvia (from Moscow, Russia)