Yep. We’re officially in an age where it is a novel idea to pick up the phone. We’ve made it. As people who have worked in digital media for what seems like forever, we totally understand how some people can forget even the littlest gestures in business that actually leave quite an impression on clients and contacts. These kind of things – like yeah, picking up the phone and talking to someone rather than sending an email that will either come off as over-enthusiastic or passive-aggressive (how does that somehow always happen?! There should be something in between the . and the ! right?) – make a difference no matter what industry you’re in, too.
As much as I’m not a phone person (I’m introverted and communicate much better in writing, what can I say?), I know that actually communicating with someone in person or by phone can be the only way to get business done at times. Often actually talking makes both you + the other person’s objective more clear, and you can hammer out big projects in an hour rather than a 13-page-long email chain. Also, even if you work in digital, it doesn’t mean that all of your clients or customers are as tech savvy as you (we have lots of stories to back that one up). Communicating 100% via email (or worse, text!) is just asking for mishaps. It’s convenient to conduct a lot of your communication on email, but when it comes to consultations, initial meetings, or big campaigns and initiatives—the phone is the way to go. Of course, it means you have to be diligent about recording what you talked about—exactly why we always conclude meetings with recap emails.
thank you notes
You know what’s kind of awkward about the digital age? It’s a little hard to properly express emotion. Even in business that’s necessary. If you want to thank someone for something major or congratulate a client, customer, coworker, or collaborator, email is once again not going to cut it. The major perk to going the extra mile is that these days it really IS the extra mile—thank you notes have lost their popularity for sure. So if not out of the goodness of your heart and undying love of personalized stationery, then do it because it’s good for business.
drafting by hand
We covered handwriting notes for someone else, now we’re onto writing notes for yourself. Physically writing down ideas or drafts is huge for memory. For both Crista and I it also helps our quality of work tremendously. Drafting communication, blog posts, and business documents on the computer first can leave you with a lot of revision—hello stream of consciousness, you don’t sound professional at all!—whereas when you write something physically it takes a lot more conscious effort. That act of transferring a draft to the computer also forces a proofread—something that many serial copy + pasters forget to do.
a filing system
Stay with me here. Even the most organized businesses can have the most unorganized documents if they are used to doing everything digitally. At least for the time being, there are always going to be those stray documents that need printing and saving—contracts, tax forms, receipts, etc. We definitely don’t recommend printing off everything you type up in Word (my heart can’t take that much wasted paper), but important records or things you just miiight (realistically) need one day are fair game. Enter, a simple filing system, which will save you loads of stress and frantic searching in the event that you need proof of something. At the very least, designate a drawer with a few folders and labels to get them off your desk! Lastly, don’t forget to backup what you DO keep digital – and store that external hard drive in a safe place too!
What am I missing here? I’m sure there’s a ton of long-forgotten practices that could be added.