We writers are communicators, so misunderstandings should never happen — right?
No matter how clearly you write, sooner or later someone is going to misunderstand something that you’ve written. It’s bound to happen.
In fact, it might be fair to say that it’s not a matter of IF you, the freelance writer, will miscommunicate to somebody. It’s a matter of WHEN.
The miscommunication could happen in a number of ways:
- It could occur in a an email that you’ve written to a client
- It could occur in a post or article that you’ve published
What should you, as a writer, do when faced with a miscommunication?
Rule Number One — Don’t Panic. Recognize that miscommunication happens to everyone. A miscommunication doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a bad writer. It just means that you’re human.
Don’t beat yourself up over this and try not to get too stressed. These negative emotions will not help the situation.
Rule Number Two — Assess the Damage. Is the client still talking with you? Do people still read your blog? If you’re still talking to the other party(ies), there’s hope for the relationship. You can move on to Rule Number Three.
(If the miscommunication has irrevocably ended the relationship, well, I guess you can stop here. Be more careful next time…)
Rule Number Three — Make it Right. Too many freelance writers waste time trying to find out exactly what went wrong and/or who was the cause of the miscommunication. While that analysis may be valuable later, the best thing right now is whatever will make it right between you and the other party.
This could mean renegotiating a contract. Or, it could mean publishing an apology or a clarification. The bottom line is that it means fixing the relationship.
Have you ever miscommunicated with a client, or on your blog?
How did you handle it?