Communication is the top comment from clients regarding consultants whether good or bad. If you can communicate well you will be hired again, if you can’t they’ll look for an alternative Consultant – it’s as simple as that. But what does good communication mean? This is what Clients mean when they comment on communication;
Having the tech and knowing how to use it
Clients consistently praise Consultants who have made the effort to invest in good communication hardware. Being a remote worker relies on great telecoms and if it’s something you haven’t planned for, it reflects pretty badly. Have high quality VOIP and make sure it works – phone a friend before you speak to the MD! Poor telephone lines make everybody’s communication experience a nightmare.
It’s up to you to research the best ways of communicating from your location and make sure the busy street noises or flight path don’t distract from your conversations. If you are doing a video conference ensure a professional appearance – you don’t need to be in a suit in a Bel-Air mansion, just smart in a tidy room.
Being a global citizen
Remember that you are communicating often with people from different countries, often with a different first language. Being aware of those differences is the first step to making yourself clear to all – you need to be aware of how accent, intonation and vocabulary choice can interfere with good communication. English may be the lingua franca but the diversity of how it is spoken is enormous.
British English speakers can be the worst to understand internationally because they pepper language with idioms and colloquial language. Just because you can form the perfect third conditional phrase doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be understood universally. Listen carefully and speak clearly – that’s all there is to it!
Consistent and clear in communication
Being a remote worker means developing different strategies for good communication. A particular Client grumble is when consultants don’t provide regular updates or fail to respond to emails. You may be busy with your work but you need to keep the boss happy!
We always recommend putting in place a tight reporting structure so that both Consultant and Client know that a status report will be provided on, for example, Friday morning. This isn’t always the case though so it’s up to you to ensure your boss, half way around the world, isn’t worrying about your progress. The best way to do this is to set milestones throughout the project and ensure with every completed stage all the relevant people are informed of the progress. It’s absolutely vital to respond to emails too – there’s nothing more infuriating than being ignored!