This week I ran into two situations, which although different, hit on two points to help strengthen your brand and make you a better communicator.
On being late:
"Never be late. When you're late, what you're saying is that your time is more important
than the other person's time. That's pretty egotistical."
I'm amazed at how many photographers, especially new to the craft, have so little respect for time. It's your most valuable commodity, but it's also everybody else's as well. It's simple - don't be late for appointments, but it runs even deeper.
Show respect for your clients, vendors and associates. Stay organized and be wherever you're supposed to be, whenever you agreed to be there!
On overkill communications:
In 1988, I got to visit the Whitehouse. Senator Howard Baker was President Reagan's Chief of Staff, and he was an avid photographer, shooting Hasselblad, Nikon and Leica. As a Hasselblad shooter, we had invited him to lunch, and he turned the tables on us and suggested, "Why don't you come to my house?" Well, "my house" was the Whitehouse.
I remember him telling me a story about the challenge in written communication.
I had to send a letter to another Senator once, and I remember writing, "I wish I could make this shorter, but I just don't have the time!"
That story stuck with me all these years. It makes a terrific point about how hard it is to be concise. For many of you it's time to examine your writing style. I know you're artists and didn't sign up to be writers, but it's so easy for you to do a better job if you just take a little more time. Where I see the best example of the challenge is in your Facebook posts, especially when you're telling a story about something you wrote to a client.
You've got to learn to be more to the point. Be direct without being sarcastic, hurtful or disrespectful. Stop thinking you have to explain everything in your life in every communication. We all have the same challenge. It's hard to be direct, but so often when the communication is in written form, we ramble.
In high school, when we had to do a report and teachers told us they wanted 500 words, we all went overboard. Too bad they didn't tell us they wanted terrific content worth 500 words but told in only 200!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.