Press “Pause” Before You Hit “Send”

Dear House Rules,

I have a question about how my business communications can impact my business relationships. Our agency currently has a client who is constantly making last-minute requests, changing their minds multiple times, and generally causes chaos for their account. How can I address this with them productively (and not fly off the handle)?

Plenty of Lemons, but No Lemonade

Dear Lemonade,
You could send a series of messages, one after every request, reassuring your client that your team will handle their changes as quickly as possible. Or you could send a longer message outlining the negative pattern you see developing, and asking how you can help find a solution.

The first choice? Reaction. The second? Response.

Reacting vs Responding

• Reacting takes virtually no time; you shoot off an email or grab the telephone or fire off a text in a matter of minutes (and possibly seconds.) Responding, however, takes time to plan and process. You think about what the other party is saying or requesting, imagine what larger issues might be present, and consider how you help be part of the solution – not just a one-off troubleshooter. Essentially, reacting causes us to dive into situations without considering the consequences. Responding lets us step back, consider the context, and analyze all the available options.

• The default position for most people is reacting, unfortunately. It’s quick, it’s easy, and if it doesn’t foster a partnership-based relationship with our clients, well, that’s just how it is, right? It doesn’t have to be. Responding is different. We make sure to think about our response and make sure we have the facts. We listen to both sides. Then, we respond by using whole communication.

• Whole communication is communication that doesn’t send mixed messages (which leave out important information inadvertently) or contaminated messages (which leave out critical information on purpose to elicit a particular response). Using whole communication develops honesty and trust.

•If you’re arguing or disagreeing with an employee, a colleague, or a client, reacting escalates that argument and doesn’t elicit a solution. Responding, on the other hand, defuses an argument and sets the stage to seek solutions. It opens up new choices and jumpstarts creativity.

At Xavier Creative House, we take the time to truly listen to all of our partners, and to respond thoughtfully and appropriately. We’d love to share our expertise in the field of pharmaceutical marketing with you, so feel free to reach out to us via phone, email, or social media. We’d love to hear from you – and respond in kind!

Reference: Accessed March 8, 2018

House Rules

Sunny Beth White

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