Friday, August 24, 2007

In Person Consulting Tips

This week I made some notes on the general sorts of things that I do as a consultant that are successful and that work in different kinds of companies. Feel free to chime in with a comment.

The Listening I listen. Intently. All the time. It's exhausting, and it's why my services aren't free. But it's extremely important. In fact, if you only did one thing as a consultant, and that thing was to listen, you would be a very good consultant.

The Questions I ask a lot of clarifying questions (hopefully not to an annoying degree). Most of the time, I function as a consultant for a men who are geniuses in some fashion, but lack a specific skill set (usually marketing or publishing skills) and need someone to manage them. This means that I often have to figure out exactly where they are with a project and where they need to be and how I can help them get there. I can't figure that out without asking questions.

The Introductions When I work in person for a client, I introduce myself just about religiously to other employees and don't rely on the client to do this. Introductions help me get a better sense of the organization and how it is structured as well as let people know that I’m on the floor so I don’t get kicked out by security, but do get invited to lunch.

The Tasks I stay on task as much as I can. I don't surf my personal sites. You don’t see any blog posts on someone else’s dollar. All I do is check email and research for the client.

The Suit As silly and clich├ęd as it sounds, I am treated far better when I wear a suit, so I do it almost entirely for selfish reasons. And, I should note, it’s my preference for it to be a pant suit, because just about every time I consult, I end up crawling around the ground trying to plug in some sort of electronic device. I don’t want to worry about flashing people, so I wear pants.