It is easy to get caught up in making one’s point or delivering one’s messages to the client – so caught up, in fact, that one forgets that effective communication is a two-way street. It is important to maintain a regular exchange with your client so that communication does not become a one-sided affair.
One way to facilitate client input and feedback is through regularly scheduled check-ins, where these are made a part of the agenda. This periodic conversation will keep you updated about your client’s views, making it easy to address doubts, explain certain decisions, and incorporate key feedback points into the project along the way.
However, for the success of the above point, you need to clarify a few things right at the beginning of the engagement. Get to know your client team and ask about the roles of each person. Who can make decisions? Whose approval will ultimately count? Regular feedback from an intermediary is great for the most part but opening a line of two-way communication with the final decision-maker is important. Schedule occasional check-ins with him/her to ensure you stay on the right track. You will also have the opportunity to convey your views personally so that your words don’t get lost in translation as they travel up the hierarchy. Large companies may present difficulties but we recommend trying your best to achieve quality communication and project efficiency.
Finally – as all of our associates emphasise time and again – listen, listen, listen. To deliver the best possible product/service, one needs to understand the client’s requirements and goals. In order to do that, one needs to listen more than talk. Of course, there are times when you should be talking as well, but listening is a skill that is often sadly underrated. In the initial stages, especially, it is crucial for you to soak in as much information as possible, asking pertinent questions as and when required. Your understanding at this stage will enable you to build a strong foundation for the rest of your project.