What’s your interest?

Jim Carrey as The Riddler

Don’t you hate it when your colleague asks you a question without any background information? It’s a loaded gun that puts you in a tricky position.

One of the best communication tips that I learned at my last agency (DMI Productions in London) was to declare my interest before asking a question. It saves a bunch of time and you often get a better result.

For example:

Producer: Hi Developer, I need to update the client on our progress, how long will it take you to finish working on A?

Developer: X days

Here the producer has declared their interest (that they are updating the client on the progress of a project) and asked a related question. The developer understands the reason or interest behind the question and gives the best answer (although you usually have to double whatever time a developer will tell you).

Sometimes, declaring an interest generates better results:

Developer: X days. The client will need to do B and C otherwise the update won’t work.

Had the Producer not have declared their interest, the Developer wouldn’t necessarily have thought to explain the extra details.

Do you have any good tips on effective communication?

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