Thanks to Rob Wilk, VP of Sales at Foursquare, I have become a big fan of what he calls the “no update” update. Defined by rob its; “An effective way to make someone comfortable with a deliverable that you are working on that isn’t quite ready yet”. I have used it countless times without giving it a proper name, but now its great to be able to give someone direction on the team to provide the “no update” update.
You would think that its common sense to provide context into the project or deliverable, but that is not always the case. Sometimes you might get wrapped up in completing the task, that you do not alert the person who made the request. The fact is that getting back to someone that “work is happening” is a great way to keep someone in the loop and make them feel good about the current situation.
In a sales environment it’s also a great way to check in with folks even when things are not yet done. It can show a white glove treatment where normally it’s not expected and differentiate you from others very well. As sometimes on the client side, I can tell you that this type of communication can go a long way, especially at the beginning of a partnership.
Its been said that no news is good news, but in a world where you can never know if someone read your email or is going to follow up – this is a great way to ensure good communication.
The funny part is that it works in almost any context; a mechanic fixing your car, a contractor waiting for a part, a broker with a status update and so on…
Letting someone know you are “on it” is the best way to show you got the task and its a work in progress.