Follow these tips to ensure your communications with freelancers run smoothly and avoid miscommunications that could disrupt your project.
Have you ever sent a text message or email and had it misconstrued entirely? No doubt you then had to waste precious time trying to clear up the misunderstanding and retain trust. This can be particularly disastrous if the person on the other end is a freelancer that you've hired to do a critical and urgent project or task.
While it is sometimes the fault of the recipient taking things the wrong way, in most cases, the responsibility lies with us, the sender. The good news is that understanding and accepting that is the first step towards preventing miscommunications.
In this article, we'd like to share what we've learned working with freelancers remotely through platforms such as Conyac.
The Elements of Communication
Communicating effectively is a process and skill that can be learned taking into account the following three elements.
Body language is by far the most influential, and it is why we are much less likely to end up in misunderstandings when we take the time to meet someone offline to discuss something.
Tonality is the next most effective, which is why it's often more effective to call someone than just send them a message.
Wording is the least influential communication element. This is the reason when our communication is limited to text that people get into trouble so often.
Ensuring Effective Communication
For face-to-face communication to be effective, our body language, tonality, and words must all be aligned with our message. This congruency allows us to deliver our message far more effectively and dramatically reduces the likelihood it will be misunderstood. It also helps to build trust with those we interact with subconsciously.
Since the majority of communication is non-verbal and its interpretation unconscious, when we are limited to words conveyed in text, the recipient is left to extrapolate what our body language and tonality might have been. Their assumptions will primarily be driven by their mindset and perception of their relationship to us.
If they are in a good mood and their relationship with us is strong, there is a high probability that they will interpret our message positively. However, if it is someone we don't know well, then we can prevent misunderstandings by providing more context and being very careful to be overly polite and accommodating in our wording.
1. Meet, Call, or Just Write Nicely
Obviously, it's ideal if we're able to sit down face-to-face with the freelancer and work through issues with them. However, if we've hired someone online through a site such as Conyac, then it's likely that they are not in the same location.
If possible, we should try to schedule a call to clarify all points and ensure we're both on the same page. If English isn't their first language, we should be patient and speak clearly.
If it's a relatively small and simple job, or it's hard to match up schedules for a call, then communicating via text will make more sense. When writing, it's important to be extra nice to avoid the freelancer mistakenly reading our messages in the wrong tone of voice. We want to try to make sure we're not coming across as bossy, terse, or scolding.
2. Providing More Context
We will often encounter situations where you have to reply on text-only platforms to communicate something expediently. When that happens, it pays to spend a little time “over-explaining” the situation to add context and eliminate room for misunderstandings.
Of course, we don't want to write a novel, but take a few moments to add enough detail that ensures the recipient will be on the same page.
3. Setting Our Intentions
Most non-verbal communication is influenced by mindset. By taking a few minutes before meetings to get into the right mindset, we can dramatically improve our ability to deliver a message congruently.
Generally, we'll want to convey excitement for the results we want the meeting to create, gratitude for the opportunity to meet with the person, and, eagerness to provide value to them.
The key opportunities we need to grow our businesses tend to come from having healthy relationships with the right people at the right time.
The most critical factor for relationship quality is trust, which is built through congruent communication. It is our intention and mindset that ensure we’re communicating congruently.
The Xtra, Inc. blog brings you inspiration and tips on how to achieve more while reducing costs and growing profits. Be the first to get our latest content by subscribing to our newsletter (scroll down to sign up). Or, if you're listening to this article off-site, visit xtra.global (that's "xtra-dot-global") to join.