Malleable Musings

January 9, 2009

Email = one way communication (why Tracy Williams is a superstar!)

Filed under: Emails, International Student Recruitment — Tags: — Brendan @ 12:58 am

It’s been an odd day – that probably deserves half a dozen blog posts on a range of different subjects.  However I thought I’d write a quick reminder about the problems of relying on email for communication, especially in terms of process management.

The key reminder is:

You can’t assume that because you’ve sent an email that it’s been read or even received.  Silence is not an answer – it’s silence.

An open doesn’t equate to a read, a click doesn’t equate to a read.

You can’t know an email has been delivered, you can’t know an email has been read.

I think in the case below the issue is the wrong email addresses being used but there are many reasons why a correctly addressed email may not reach an email account.  I’ve written more about this here.

A side learning point for me is:

Start from the other person’s point of view, aggressive posturing won’t help forge a connection – look for solutions, life is all about win-wins.

The background story:

Every year, usually in Feb, we attend the Hong Kong Law Fair – essentially a graduate recruitment fair organised by a group of the big law firms in Hong Kong.  This year we’ve already booked non-refundable flights, arranged and paid for our freight, arranged hotels and informed potential students that we’d be there.

Unfortunately late yesterday we found out that we don’t have a space at the exhibition.

I don’t really know what has happened, some things you just have to put down to bad luck.  It looks like a couple of critical emails went to the wrong email address – at least one email went to an email address ending .ac and another went to .ac.hk instead of .ac.uk  – however there may have been other reminders.

However it meant that this year we didn’t receive any requests or reminders for payment.  Bizarrely though, by chance, the temporary member of staff we had covering our vacant Exhibitions Co-ordinator role was in communication with the organisers, again by email, asking about venue, stand furniture, dates etc.

I should at this point say that the organisers are a group of volunteers drawn from the law companies.

So lets think about what’s going on as percieved by each side.

Our point of view: everything’s fine but we’re still awaiting some information and an invoice in order to arrange payment.

The organisers point of view: these people keep making requests but aren’t committing to paying and are ignoring us – we’ve got enough attendees in any case and we don’t need a headache.

The solution: I had to handle it this morning (as no one else was in the office) and thought it best to phone someone direct and talk through what had happened but as you can probably tell from my side learning points, I didn’t handle the conversation that well.  However despite my shortcomings Tracy Williams who is Head of Graduate Recruitment at Lovells in Hong Kong was extremely understanding and is on the case to see what can be done. With luck I’ll find out tomorrow morning.

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1 Comment »

  1. Update – Tracey sorted out a space for us. Hooray.

    Comment by Brendan — January 12, 2009 @ 10:30 pm


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