Communicate Often

This advice is for freelancers: please communicate as often as possible. When somebody hires you, they want to know what’s going on. Sometimes you get so caught up in trying to make a deadline or staying productive, and forget to communicate. For a client, this can be frustrating, because it looks like nothing happens (while you were even busier than you would normally be).

In my opinion, bad communication is one of the hardest problems in technology (and in life in general). Improving your communication is always a good thing.

If I were your client, I would definitely appreciate these things:

  • Let me know when you know you won’t make the deadline.
  • Ask me if you don’t understand something.
  • If something is a bad idea, please say so. It’s your professional responsibility.
  • Send progress reports
  • Let me know when you will contact me again.
  • If you’re too busy to reply, please say so.
  • If you work for a fixed price, but I’m requesting something outside of the budget, let me know.
  • If something unexpected happens that will delay things, please let me know.
  • If you need my feedback on something, please make sure I understand it’s a question.
  • Send emails that are to the point: explain things in short, understandable phrases.

I’ve yet to hire somebody who communicates too often. In true Gruber style, I wrote this and imagined myself as the audience: my own communication would improve a lot if I followed the advice in this post.

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