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20Apr/091

7 tips for solid client interactions

I recently finished up a project where there was a small team of people from my company, and small teams from two of our local competitors.  My interactions and observations during our ‘full team’ meetings is the context for this post.  Please note that I’m not saying me and my teammates were innocent, some of these observations are about us as well.  These are simply my opinions.

  1. Don’t use your mobile during a client meeting… EVER (unless of course your client asks you to).  I thought this one was a given, but apparently not (you may as well turn off your ringer, SMS notification, voicemail notification, etc. since we’re on the subject).
    • This also goes for your laptop…
  2. Don’t SMS during a client meeting (assumes you’ve already violated number 1)… especially if the client is speaking directly to you! (seriously, I watched this happen more than once)
  3. Technical Presentations
    • Be prepared
      • Have content
      • Know your facts... if you don't, that's okay; please don't make something up
      • Please oh please do not read me your slides; I know how to read
    • Be professional
      • Explain yourself, but don’t be condescending
      • Use appropriate corporate branding (but don’t go over the top)
      • Just because powerpoint has animations, doesn’t mean you have to use them. (I suggest removing ALL animations, transitions, gimmicks, hat-tricks, etc… they all come off to me as amateurish, not professional)
  4. Be professional
    • Don’t talk over someone else just to get your opinion heard, wait patiently, and then respond.
    • Don’t patronize
    • Offer opinions, but be willing to be wrong!
    • Offer opinions, and be willing to back them up!
  5. Speak Up!
    • Speak clearly
    • Speak concisely
    • Have a point (i.e. don’t babble on about nothing)
  6. Listen!  Actively!
  7. Be friendly