To communicate we need to consider their perspective

When communicating with anyone it is vital to remember that it is not what we say that is important, but what they hear. So we need to start with our target’s perspective; Let’s consider how the world looks from the partner’s viewpoint.


Typically the partner needs to bill between 6 and 8 hours per day. Then they need to develop their practice area with advice and guidance. There will be Business Development projects to support, plus other strategic projects for the firm. There will be surprises which take their time in any day, just like we have. There will be other projects they are expected to contribute to. And how many emails will they receive in a typical day?


Then they get an email from us.


In the context of their day it is not really surprising that they do not always reply instantly. It is not that they do not want to, or that they are being rude, it is often simply down to the amount of work and pressure they are dealing with.


Considering their work load it might be more useful not to expect a reply to an email.


So what do we do? We have objectives to achieve and the partner may be critical to achieving them.


First idea; Talk to their secretary or PA. These guys are usually a great source of information on how best to approach the partner, bearing in mind their workload. Have a chat with them; say that their help would be really appreciated and explain what you need.


Second idea; when you are in conversation with a partner at the start of the project ask them something like ‘what is the best way to communicate about this project?’ Some partners will say ‘just call me’, some will say ‘send an email and do hassle me if you don’t get an answer’, and some will say ‘talk to my secretary’.


Third idea; Call them at unusual times of the day. Partners work long hours. People who work long hours often say they get their best work done when everyone else is not there, as they don’t get interrupted; Having said that, if we need to talk calling them in the evening at their desk may be the only way.


Fourth idea; If you have sent two emails and not got a response don’t send another! Try one of the ideas above.


Please let us know your experience by posting a comment below.


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Influencing partners – why doesn’t the partner reply to my email?