I’m overseeing a large project that has several producers working on individual segments. This process is incredibly rewarding, giving me the opportunity to work with very creative friends that I rarely get the chance to interact with. It’s also been a great learning opportunity. I’ve discovered new ways of organizing and managing creative people and fueling the process of fostering creativity. But I’ve also gotten so frustrated that I [edit out nasty things], well, suffice it to say, this process has had moments that have made me crazed. I’m going to write about some of them over the life of this project. Here’s the first. Try talking…
I am amazed how dependent we, who call ourselves communicators, have become on email, text, tweets and the rest of the technical ways that keep us from talking to each other. These technologies have their place, but they often give information at the expense of communication.
For example, one producer could not get an interview scheduled with the key person in their story. Finally I asked when was the last time he had tried to speak with the interview subject on the phone. There was silence (yeah, we were talking on the phone). It turns out the entire process of setting up the interview had been done by email. Not once did they talk on the phone. I had to insist that the producer make a phone call. Not surprisingly, the call was a success and the interview was booked and all was well.
Communication is a two-way process. It is a give and take. It involves hearing not only words, but reading the tone, the cadence and the non-verbal cues that are part of getting a message across. Email and the other text only technologies miss this completely. I’m convinced we need to teach producers how to make phone calls. How to read the subtle hints that someone really doesn’t want to do what you’re asking and then how to charm them into saying “yes”.
My advice, talk before you text. Build a relationship, get to know the sound of a voice, smile when you hear a laugh… you get the idea.