One of my favorite things about working at the Pearce Center is getting to work with real-world clients on a variety of projects. It can be intimidating at first, but it is incredibly rewarding, especially when the client is happy with what you’ve created for them. Here are my six top tips to help you prepare to work with real-world clients.
1. Research the organization or company before meeting with them for the first time.
Before you go into an introductory meeting with a client, it is imperative that you have a good handle on what they do and what their mission is. If you already know the general type of work you will be doing for them (like writing press releases, creating social media content, etc.), you can also take time to research what they have already done in that area.
I like to create one document with all of my research about the organization that I can share with any team members working on the project with me. That way, everyone is on the same page before the initial meeting.
2. Be respectful of their time.
Always be respectful of your client’s time. If you schedule a meeting with a client (virtually or in person), make sure to arrive on time so they are not left waiting. Come prepared to discuss the matter at hand. It’s helpful to create an agenda ahead of time that you can share with your fellow team members so everyone is on the same page. It can include an overview of your research, a list of topics you need to cover and any questions you might have going into the meeting.
3. Ask questions.
When you are meeting with a client, be sure to ask questions! You want to make sure that you know exactly what they are looking for in the deliverables you will produce for them. Asking for clarification is a great way to do this.
Do you have any examples of what exactly you are looking for? How long do you want this document to be? How many social media posts do you want us to create? What are your branding guidelines? All of these are great questions to ask. Anything that helps you understand the client’s needs more fully will work!
4. Keep them in the loop.
If you are working on a project that spans several weeks or even months, it is helpful to send regular updates to your client to let them know how the work is going. Not only does this reassure the client that progress is being made on their deliverables, but it also allows you to easily ask any questions that may have arisen as you work.
Topics you might cover in your update messages include what your team has completed so far, upcoming action items and any information you may need from the client. Anything pertaining to the project at hand is fair game!
5. Leave plenty of time for revisions.
Submit your work in advance to have time to apply any edits the client requests. It’s never fun to scramble at the last minute to complete a major project!
6. Have fun!
Working with clients is such a wonderful experience, so enjoy it! It’s always fun to work on new projects with new people and learn how to cater your communications to their specific brand and audience.
I hope that these tips have given you a good starting point for working with clients. If you’re looking for even more tips on professional communication, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages throughout this semester. Good luck on all of your client work adventures!
Written by: Taylor Summey