A couple weeks ago I landed a new PR client. As most of you know, I'm a Work-at-Home Working Girl as well as a PR Working Girl. So anyway, this is my most unusual client yet. For one thing, my point of contact for this new client, the CEO/Founder, is 72 years old. He's a sweet, old man. Can I add maybe a little crazy/cooky, too? Sigh.
Over the last couple weeks, I've been struggling to work with him. It's always hard to combine two personalities in a new work partnership so that things work smoothly. Sometimes there are clients who are easier to click with, but others, it takes going over a few bumps and humps, a misunderstanding here and there, to get to where you're like, "OK! I think we've got this figured out!"
I think the main reason for difficulty with this new client is the age difference. I'm 28 years old, he has a daughter who is 30. Yeah, so automatically, he thinks he's a little smarter than me because he can't help but think of being and acting fatherly when speaking with me. And with that age difference comes the hardest part, how we communicate. In our world of email, text messaging, IM, etc. I had no idea I was confusing this guy from the get-go. For example, I had sent him within an email a link to a video I wanted him to watch, and he didn't realize that that blue underlined text was something to click on. He didn't know what a link was! Oh, my. And then, he was annoying me with all his phone calls that seemed to drag on ... oh, his life stories, just what I need to hear. Should I bill him for this time? haha.
Before we made our work partnership official, there were several phone calls. Not a problem, this is normal, except each call lasted 45 mins. or so. OK, old man likes to talk. A lot. I made it a point to clearly spell out my preferred method of communication in my proposal to him: email. I hoped this would lessen the number of phone calls. Nope.
Anyways, sorry to ramble, but I've learned that instead of throwing in the towel like I had wanted to after the first three calls in the first 24 hours of him being my client, I needed to learn a few things. I can't always work with people who are like me. I need to work with people who are unlike me and learn from the experience. So my preferred work style is to communicate via email and his is via phone, why can't we compromise? Of course I could accomodate him, I mean, look at this guy. He's 72 and hiring a young PR girl to help him re-introduce his product to consumers. How cool of him. And this new business for me is coming from a referreal who is helping him build even further exposure through social media. Would your everyday 72 year old man even know what social media is? It's impressive and admirable.
Do you ladies ever struggle with communicating with someone you work with, someone who seems to be on a completely different planet from you? How did you overcome it? This has been such a huge learning experience for me, I can't wait to hear your stories.