Communication in a Telecommuting World

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MAKING YOUR CREATIVE MARK has just been released. Don’t miss it!

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Say that you’re lucky enough to be represented in some galleries that are all located very far away from your hometown. How can you maintain good contact with them from a great distance? Here are some ideas!

Virtually no one I work with in my capacity as a writer, creativity coach, and trainer of creativity coaches lives near me. The coaches I train reside in places such as England, Hong Kong and Australia. My clients are in similarly far-flung places. My nearest publisher is 50 miles away; my farthest, many thousands of miles. My literary agent is on the other side of the continent. There is nothing the least bit unusual about this nowadays. If you are fortunate enough to have created relationships in the art marketplace, it is entirely likely that many of those relationships — with gallery owners, collectors, supportive peers, and so on — will be long-distance ones.

It’s smart and rewarding to cultivate local relationships. But it is equally smart and rewarding to work on your distant relationships. If you live in Topeka, you can’t drop in on your Manhattan gallery representative on a weekly basis. So what should you do? The simplest option is the brief check-in email. Don’t burden folks with lengthy emails full of news, questions or requests; instead, check in frequently (say, monthly) with a brief note that reads something like the following: “Hi, Mary! Just wanted to see how the three new paintings are doing. Are people responding to them?”

An email of this sort allows Mary to reply with a simple “People are loving them and I’m sure we’ll sell one soon!” It allows her to pass along news that she might otherwise not have bothered sharing; it opens the door to a conversation the both of you know was due; and it puts you back in Mary’s mind, exactly where you want to be. You don’t have to wait for “new news” (for instance, the completion of your latest painting) before penning check-in emails of this sort. They are not mini-press releases but the equivalent of “Hi, how are things going?”

There are many more things you might try so as to maintain great long-distance relationships. More next week!