My 5 Biggest Surprises from Consulting

Surprises from Consulting
My Five Biggest Surprises from Consulting

I started as a Consultant right out of college.  I interviewed with several of the top firms but my grades weren’t good enough – and I probably interviewed horribly – so I never got past the screening interviews.  I ended up being hired by an excellent boutique firm and eventually got in to a top firm after getting a few years of good consulting experience under my belt.
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5 Steps to Better Client Communication

Better Client Communication
How to achieve better client communication

Communication is an important facet of developing relationships with your clients.  What some consultants don’t understand is that little things they do – or don’t do – can affect their credibility and their professional reputation negatively.  Here are five subtle things you can do that make a big difference in establishing your image as a professional as well as earning the client’s trust.

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Being an Outsider at the Client Site

outsider
Being an outsider at the client

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from new consultants is the inability to fit in at the client site.  Going from client to client, they always felt like an outsider and never felt a sense of community.

I remember early in my career, I was talking to a client and he asked me what consulting was like.  I explained to him that I go to different clients and work on projects for periods of a couple of days to as long as a year. It depended on the nature of the client’s need and what they needed me for.  I explained how the work was different at each project and that I worked with a different group of people each time.

He looked at me as if I was crazy, “…and you like that?”
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Keeping Your Cool Under Pressure

under pressure
Keeping your cool under pressure

It hasn’t happened often, but I’ve worked with some very unreasonable clients.  Either they have exaggerated expectations of their highly paid consultants, or they know that they can get away with abuse without the threat of us going to Human Resources.  I’ve never taken it personally and I’ve found that if I look closely enough, I’m not the only target for these people.
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How To Be Prepared in Business

How to be prepared
How to be prepared

It has often been said that success occurs when preparation meets opportunity.  It’s always been one of my favorite sayings and I’m amazed how often it rings true.

How to be prepared as a meeting attendant

One of the most obvious settings where this occurs is in meetings.  Most business meetings are scheduled through Outlook, Lotus Notes or some type of integrated calendaring software.  Along with the invitation that comes in your email, there may be documents attached.  This can be as simple as an agenda, or any number of documents that are intended to be reviewed during the meeting.
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The Lost Art of Saying Thank You

Saying Thank You
Saying Thank You

I have three kids whose ages range from nine to sixteen.   Whenever they receive a gift, whether it’s from a family member, a friend of the family or one of their pals, we make sure they write a thank you note to that person.  It’s important that they learn the value of showing gratitude.  In addition to making the gift giver feel better, I believe there is a personal benefit to telling someone how much their gift or gesture means to them. I hope my kids get as much out of saying thank you as the person they’re thanking.
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5 Job Search Strategies to Differentiate Yourself in the Job Market

Job search strategies
Looking for some job search strategies?

As one who has lost his job in each economic downturn that has occurred throughout my career and changed jobs once on my own accord, I’ve been through the painful process we call job search more often than I care to admit.  I’ve been through the frustration cycle of searching the job boards, customizing my resume to the job postings, submitting it into the black hole of the internet to hear nothing in return.

I’ve read articles and blogs by the “experts” that provide all the tips on searching for jobs and then tell me to differentiate myself.  Well if we all follow the same advice that all of the experts suggest, how do we differentiate ourselves?
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Considering Consulting in the Next Step in Your Career

next step in your career
Could consulting be the next step in your career?

I recently watched “The Sound of Music”, one of my favorite movies.  Never mind that Julie Andrews gave the performance of her life and that Rogers and Hammerstein’s music was out of their mind, the story is what I find remarkable.

Julie Andrews’ character, Maria, decides that she has found her calling in life as a nun.  One of the highest callings one can answer and a significant commitment.
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101 Tips for Success in Consulting