Communication in our digital, remote world, with Alright Studio, B&B Studio and Happening Studio
Unless you’ve hurled your phone into a well and gone off-grid, it’s incredibly easy for anyone and everyone to contact you. Text, call, email, LinkedIn, Instagram – how do your colleagues and client chat with you? With so many options to choose from, we were interested to know what creatives preferred in their day-to-day working hours. When keeping in touch with everyone, what forms of communication work best for them? B&B Studio’s Shaun Bowen, Happening Studio and Alright Studio provide some insights.
Many of the digital communication tools that skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic – Slack, Zoom, Google Meet – still remain helpful for creative teams today. Still, there’s nothing that quite beats a face-to-face conversation when in need of clarity and understanding. This is the exact reason why Bowen believes key meetings and presentations are most beneficial in person – hosting them in their London studio space. For one, he says, you’re able to read the room and adapt accordingly, which facilitates the flow of conversation. “Body language plays an important part in how humans communicate,” he explains, “and this is lost remotely in the same way the tone of an email can be misconstrued.”
Body language plays an important part in how humans communicate.
It goes without saying, in-person meetings are invaluable for fostering relationships and guaranteeing clear and honest dialogue. However, there are many circumstances or personal reasons that lead to some clients favouring digital communication. “We have to flex and understand what works for people on an individual level,” Bowen adds. “This is the same with colleagues too.” Having adopted a similarly flexible approach, Happening Studio’s Karen and Masato Nakada have tried out several different platforms and tools – in part thanks to each client’s unique preferences and methods. From their experiences, they came to one conclusion: “we have found that all we need for tools to manage a client project would be Google Slides, emails and Zoom.”
In the same way, many meetings could have been reduced to an email, not all communication needs to be done via a table-tennis match of instant messages. “We believe it’s important to take the time to draft concise, informative emails rather than sending endless chats and GIFs over a Slack channel,” they tell us, explaining their preference for emailing. “It’s almost meditative to collect our thoughts and prioritise what we really want to articulate as important actionable emails.” Carving out this window of time, therefore, ensures correspondence is to the point and thought-out, and guarantees that all essential points are addressed. Better yet, once an email is sent into the ether, it’s out of mind. “We like that once the emails are sent, we feel a calming separation from that particular work relationship and we can focus on other tasks.”
For clients, we strongly enforce communication methods that have a paper trail.
Brooklyn-based Alright Studio capitalise on one underrated benefit that comes with this form of communication; documentation. “For clients, we strongly enforce communication methods that have a paper trail of some sort – whether email or recorded call,” the team tell us. Having a meeting on Google Meet at least once a week gives both the client and studio a chance to check-in. By recording these, alongside all other correspondence, goals and decisions are on record. The studio explain that this keeps deliverables correct, and schedules on time. “Each meeting’s transcript is contained within a bespoke Notion hub for each client, where they can also view prior meetings, schedules, deliverables and lots more whenever they want.”
As for the studio members themselves, Slack is the tool of choice for ‘inter-Alright comms’ – staying in touch with team members and freelancers who work flexibly and globally. “For quicker decision moments the Huddle feature has been a lifesaver,” they add, “while more formal video calls are often scheduled day-of in situations where longer conversations may call for it.” Despite their love for the platform, there is one thing they fervently reject. “We are pretty damn staunch about never joining clients’ company Slack channels. We have found that 100% of the time it results in scope creep and things getting lost in the back-and-forth. Sorry, but true, guys :)”