Working with Clients

I’d been presented with a challenge this week working with a client to translate an aspect of their intellectual property into a presentation. The challenge was I just couldn’t work out what was in their mind. I heard all their words – I couldn’t grasp their import, I couldn’t translate it into something – anything!

👔 To me, much of what they said was cliched business-speak, which I’ve heard a thousand times. To my embarrassment I couldn’t share the client’s enthusiasm for the initiative – I faked it, but I think that was obvious. Which was not good.

It was a struggle. 😣 😣

But in my travels around the internet universe this week I find some great diagnostic questions that served to clarify what the client wanted.

1.    What problem does this solve?
2.    Can we draw a diagram of what’s in your mind?
3.    Is there a metaphor we can use?
4.    Let’s land on the big declarative statement that describes what it is that needs to be said.
5.    Do you have a story that illustrates what is in your mind?
6.    Any evidence to prove your theory? Facts? Figures?

❓These questions were great because they prompted a mix of right-brain/left-brain responses from the client. I only needed one of them answered to arrive at something for me to work on. ❓

Often the client presents a brief of what is expected. They may even have a starting point already drafted. Not in this case.

I knew the issue was at my end. I wasn’t tuned in to this client. I couldn’t translate what the customer had on their mind, but by guiding the conversation with these prompters it finally made sense to me.

Now to do the work. 💪 💪