25 Jan Opinion: Some Keys to Communicate Effectively
Yes, yes it is.
Probably a key that will unlock many doors!
In the independent creative community, whether you’re a model, photographer, makeup artist, stylist, or some other form of creative, it’s important to communicate in a timely and effective manner. It doesn’t matter if you’re speaking directly to a client or a fellow creative that you’re collaborating with for a trade shoot. Failure to communicate leads to sometimes disastrous results.
Since I began my modeling photography journey, I’ve booked over 700 shoots with models. Some situations I have failed on my end, far and few between, but it’s true, we all make mistakes or sometimes situations happen that are out of our control. A large portion of those bookings turned out to be no-call/no-shows with the models, or shoots that models cancelled last minute, or showed up to the shoot but didn’t have items they needed that I wasn’t able to supply.
So, without further delay, let’s start with things that will help with effectively communicating with others on a broad scale!
Responding. In a day and age with social media, and most creative using social media platforms to showcase their work, communicate with other creative frequently, post things in regard to political climates, and sharing photos of cut kittens and puppies, it’s critical that if you check your messages. This does go for email, text, missed calls and voicemails. If you’re working with someone on a project, whether it’s paid or not, it’s good communication to get back to them within an appropriate timeframe. Typically this doesn’t mean the next day or a few days later. If you aren’t going to be involved in the planning stages of the project, then wy even book with the person at all?
There are always posts I see on my newsfeed of people constantly bitching about people reading a message on facebook messenger or chat, but then never responding. It’s rude, of course, but if you’re one of those people being bitched about, maybe take the 5.7 seconds to send a quick reply and say, I can’t talk right now, but if you message me after such and such time, I should be free to do so. If you’re on the bitching side, maybe don’t consistently post it publicly as it can appear that you’re whiny. Which, that leads to our next topic.
Tone. Even typing a sentence to someone, posting a status update, or writing an email, has a tone that is set with it. When sending and receiving messages and texts, be sure to review the message first before sending – if the connotation of it seems weird, don’t send it, re-write it, or change your punctuation. MAYBE NOT SEND REPLYS IN ALL CAPS or respond to things like ThIs BecoS iT’s FUCKING aNNoyIng As fook. It also looks like you’re an ignorant dumbass that didn’t learn how to speak, type, write, spell, or anything. In fact, people that I come across like that personally, I instantly think they’re on drugs and don’t take themselves seriously. Which is cool, but don’t make me have to decipher hieroglyphics when trying to figure out what it is that you’re talking about.
Next up: Manners. I won’t say you need to say Sir/Ma’am on every email, message, or post, obviously, but when approaching someone for the first time, at least address people appropriately. I see a lot of complaints from women in the industry about douchebags that call themselves other creative, but then address those models as “baby”, “sugarcakes”, “girl”, etc. Pet names are not okay unless you already know the person, worked with them before, or have at least somehow developed a rapport with them so they know you enough to understand you may not mean it as some weird flirting going on. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t talk to models for the first time and automatically assume things about them in an unprofessional manner. I judge based off their portfolio, typically ignore their personal posts, definitely don’t comment political stuff on 98% of those (unless it’s completely unproven/internet folly/so far one way that it’s fucking giving me an aneurism), and typically don’t push certain styles of modeling unless they’re okay with it. That takes us to the next piece of advice.
Courtesy/Respect. I think these two go hand in hand. Simply because courtesy I feel is starting to die a slow and painful death. Respect – more and more people are starting to say “you have to earn my respect” and that’s not how I operate. I think if more people just respected people for being a fucking person, the world would instantly get .0234% better. If you’re collaborating on a project, don’t even attempt to push boundaries. A, that’s fucked up, B, it shows that whoever is trying to push boundaries potentially has ulterior motives. If someone approaches you and you begin talking about a project, if it’s not in your comfort zone, don’t do it. Not everyone shoots fetish. Not everyone shoots lingerie. Not everyone shoots swimsuit. Not everyone shaves. Not everyone is okay with everything, even if they say they are. If you are pushing boundaries, for no actual reason – except maybe (doubtful), a paying client is hiring a creative to shoot specifics, it’s been done but they want to re-do it with a little twist, but the one creative says they don’t want to (this is literally the ONLY instance where ASKING is even remotely okay) – you are in the wrong.
Alternatively, if you’re aware upfront that the project you are working on requires certain things that you are not comfortable with, do not agree to it in the first place. Know thyself. If you’re new to something, let the lead creative know! Don’t do the whole shoot, then post on social media about how you were uncomfortable the whole time, yada yada. It’s like boy crying wolf almost. The kid really didn’t want to be watching sheep so he basically made up shit to get attention. Then when shit actually happened, bad shit really did happen and no one cared. There’s ways to prevent bad things from happening that you can control. Not everyone that shoots nudes, or whatever, is a creeper. Not everyone that poses nude is an adult film star. Not everyone that’s a bodypainter is a groper. Not everyone that’s a designer is a pervert. If you’re not okay with the project, decline it. Ask questions. Don’t say things like, oh, I liked a concept you have but I don’t do this. Well, do say that, but don’t expect whoever’s concept it is to be all about it. It’s their concept for a reason. Don’t try to change it. Do a different concept with them if you want to work with them. Don’t ignore messages. That’s rude as fuck, which leads back to the beginning of this article.
Lastly, let’s discuss context. Everything anyone says about anything, can always be taken in the correct context or be taken on a completely different level. Especially on social media. Especially if you’ve had little to no prior engagement with the people in the conversation. Ask before assuming something is meant a certain way. Just the other day I was tagged on a post and the whole conversation was about someone being offended over something. As a bystander, I sincerely doubt the context the person complaining was correct and the original poster 99.99% didn’t actually mean it in the context the complainer took it as. But, such is life, the internet and dealing with almost instantaneous communications. First, if you’re unsure, or even have a shadow of a doubt about how the message/post/comment is directed, don’t be afraid to just ask what it is they mean, or if maybe the person you’re questioning can expand on what they mean. Don’t think that something said is automatic heresy or bigotry. I see it on both sides. It’s fucking stupid. It makes both people, or several, look like twats that are easily offended over dumb shit, and the original person look like a complete imbecile or asshole. Seriously. Think before taking things out of context. Not everyone in the world that says something is a racist, bigot, sexist, feminist, meninist, baby killer, or whatever. Context, context, context.
I hope some of this helps people. Otherwise, I feel like a numbnuts for writing it, but even if one person is like, oh, well shit, that makes sense, then I’ve done something worthwhile and I’m okay with it. Maybe three people minimum, but one is okay too. If you liked the article or have some input, we would absolutely love it if you commented on our facebook page where this article is linked! Get involved in the conversation. Maybe there’s more you’d like to add that I missed as a critical key to communication.