Here’s something most employers won’t tell you (except for Lorraine) when you take on a job like mine. One of your main responsibilities is to nag everyone.

Whether it’s getting content from clients or coworkers, bugging people makes up most of my day. Through my experience working for different companies I have learned there is a right way to go about getting information from people and a wrong way. It doesn’t matter if you work for a small business or in a huge agency, the rules are still the same.

If you need to get information from inside or outside of the office, here’s how to do it:

Pick Up the Phone

In a world full of email and instant messaging I think the majority of my generation has forgotten how to pick up a phone and call someone. It is the most effective way to reach a customer and will get their attention better than any email you send them. I’ve noticed customers get back to me much quicker if I speak with them over the phone.

A client can easily read one of my emails and forget about it five minutes later, but if they have physically talked to me over the phone, it makes a lasting impression. Clients leave the conversation understanding the urgency of my time frame.

Don’t Be Rude

It’s very easy to get frustrated when a client or coworker takes a long time to respond to you. Don’t they know your time is just as valuable as theirs? Don’t they know that you can’t get any other work done until they deliver those blog topic ideas to you?

Here’s the truth: No, they don’t know.

They have just as much work to do as you do. Don’t you know that? Before you get feisty and leave a nasty voice mail, take a deep breath. Calm down. Find your inner peace, or whatever works for you. You and your clients have very busy schedules- be understanding.

If you want people to respect your time, respect their time, too. Life happens. Emails and voice mails accidentally get deleted from time to time. Just keep a level head.

Create a Schedule

Before your next monthly meeting with your customers (you are meeting with them once a month, right?), create a schedule for them and yourself. Set dates for when content needs to be sent or received. Make sure you talk it over in your meeting and that everyone is on the same page. This can be difficult if you have customers who already have a hard time returning your calls or emails.

The more ways you have to hold each other accountable the better. This can also help you avoid any confusion on blog topics and newsletters. There will be times when client’s won’t stick to the schedule. Remember that whole bit about life happening? At least you’ll have an idea of the time frame you need in order to reschedule so you don’t miss the project entirely.

Being a nag isn’t fun. I’m sure our clients and my coworkers get plenty annoyed of my incessant calling, but it works. You just have to keep a level head and physically talk to them. Creating a schedule everyone can use makes streamlining the process so much easier and keeps everyone accountable.

If none of these tips work, you can always call a hit man, but I strongly suggest that as a last-ditch effort.