You know what it’s like. You both read or saw the same thing. You both participated in the same conversation. But each of you took away something completely different. It happens every day. And it really mucks things up. Because after you talk or email, you go your separate ways and forge your paths based on what you THINK you heard and on what you THINK the other person is acting on.
Assume nothing. Polish your communication.
Whether you’re ironing out terms for an exhibit, workshop, commission, or gallery contract, protect your interests by using these four tips to keep you from making the wrong assumptions.
1. If you’re on the phone, repeat to the person on the other end of the line what you thought you heard–rephrasing it for clarification. After you get off the phone, send an email stating the same thing. Ask that the recipient confirm receipt and content of the email. (This last step is important! You can send the email, but only the other person can tell you if it was received.)
2. If it’s an email, try something similar. Respond not just with a Yes or No, but restate what you think is being requested. Again, ask the recipient to confirm the receipt and content of the email.
3. Use snail mail. If your relationship involves the exchange of money or a long-term commitment, consider sending two hard copies of a letter, agreement, or contract. Spell out all of the details as you understand them. Sign both copies and leave a place for the other party to sign them. Include an SASE and ask that one signed copy is returned to you. Write a personal note on the top: “This is how I understood our conversation. Do you agree? Please make adjustments as needed.”
4. Meet face-to-face. It’s much easier to understand intent when you’re looking into someone’s eyes. Whenever you can, negotiate in person and follow up with an email or written agreement.
People only know what they think they heard or saw.
THINK ABOUT THIS—~>
Your perception will never be the exact same as someone else’s.
Assume nothing. Repeat what you think you hear or see and ask for confirmation. Put things in writing that should be more official. It’s your responsibility to look out for your interests.
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