If you want to be an effective and successful consultant put the following nine skills into practice.
- Be Prepared – Whether you are going onsite or meeting on the phone, do the necessary homework so you can provide value. You can’t fake preparedness. Just do it!
- Be Accountable – You must be accountable to your client and equally as important, to yourself. What you say and what you do have to be in line with each other always. Accountability = Credibility.
- Be a Great Communicator – Communication or lack there of, usually leads to failure. The ability to clearly impart technical and complicated information so that the client can understand, is crucial! But, just as important, is the ability to actively listen to receive the client’s input and feedback correctly.
- Be a Manager– An effective consultant needs to be able to manage people with varying agendas, desires, hopes, and fears and bring them together to form one cohesive team, pursuing the common goal.
- Be Decisive – State the problem, identify solutions, evaluate the solutions, decide, and implement your decisions. Remember, a decision has no value unless it’s implemented. A successful consultant knows when to act decisively.
- Be a Problem Solver – It is vital as a consultant that you learn how to problem solve. All businesses face problems to solve, it is how you handle those problems that make the difference between failure and success. Usually it requires the consultant to work with the client to create a solution.
- Be Flexible – The ability to be flexible while keeping an engagement on track is necessary in today’s world of consulting.
- Be On Time – Punctuality shows discipline, and respect for others. Lack of punctuality is the quickest way to lose credibility with others both personally and professionally.
- Be Present – When engaging with a client, you need to be 100% present. Stash your cell phone in your pocket, purse or briefcase and leave it there! Do not text, check social media, or play games on your cell phone during a client engagement or meetings. This includes after hours business entertainment, as well.
Michael P. Kristensen
CEO, The Halden Group