In part 1 of “How personal should you get with clients?” we looked into keeping your perspective as an external advisor, making sure that a water cooler-talk does not get you hosed for disclosing confidential data or bad-mouthing your company and into being aware of the potential pitfalls of calling the client “John”, while all his staff addresses him as “Mr. Doe”.
In this second and -so far- last post on the issue, let’s look at the frivolous side of things – and as requested by reader Sebastian, I’ll look at relations inside your firm as well.
- No getting drunk-drunk.
Let me state it without evaluating it: In many countries, alcohol is part of socializing. You will most likely end up at a restaurant or a bar with your clients once in a while, especially after you and your team did a good job, of course. At those occasions, people will drink alcohol, and you will, too. Now – remember the last time you had a crazy night out with your friends? Hangover and all? You don’t want this to happen.
In Consulting, we are knowledge workers. Well, we should be. And as knowledge has it, you can give it away and it is still with you – by sharing your knowledge, eventually you create value.
In many companies, studies, points of view, discussion papers and so on and so forth are created and distributed regularly. Most of them are sales-oriented and directed towards existing and potential clients. As it may result in visible cash-in, people seem to see sense in it. But sharing knowledge with your colleagues does make a whole lot of sense, too. So let me make a case for making your colleagues smarter.
Give them the inside scoop on something
Maybe you have been digging into the depths of Racehorse sales processes in the Arab world in your last project and can sum up the key facts on a few slides or pages. Maybe you just created a really interesting framework for holding a client workshop that might be useful for others. Let them know. It does not have to be overly pretty or long – just make your point in concise, easy to understand words, and tell them what they might want to use it for.
Ease a pain
Do you know how to fix that formatting issue that always, always makes green lines red? Do you know what hidden setting in Software X makes task Y easier? Let them know. I actually put together a little How-To on Outlook rules so that colleagues could filter their spam easier (it was marked, but not deleted by corporate mailservers) – they almost kissed me out of sheer bliss.
Send it to the right people
Don’t distribute your little piece of news to the whole company. Send it to people you know and of whom you can assume your news is useful for. If they like it, they will forward it to more people, and if there is demand, they will ask you to send your next updates/news to them, too. Basically, you’ll get an opt-in for more visibility.
You have the best impact when sending out a little bit of news or how-to on a regular basis. Not every week, but not only every year as well. Just keep them coming, ask good colleagues how they liked them. In a good case, you will establish a fond readership base that is growing.
Don’t show off
Of course, this does help generate visibility, and might show some of your expertise. But do it in a light fashion – don’t flash your knowledge at everybody, don’t put your person in the spotlight, but the things you have to say.
Let me know how it works out!Read More