The learning-credibility tradeoff AKA, the consultant’s dilemma.
How do you demonstrate expertise on a project that requires TONS of learning?
Here’s how to WOW a client without the “smoke and mirrors”:
1. Ask direct questions. You do not have to know it all.
2. Listen more than you talk (initially).
3. Set a hypothesis. Run experiments.
4. Voice information that you know that is relevant. Be highly resourceful in finding this information. This means internal docs, past assignments, client docs, google, library, informational interviews etc.
5. Focus on presentation. Aesthetics are important, too. Use less text and more visuals to communicate.
6. Clearly communicate thoughts. Practice presentation and public speaking skills whenever possible.
7. Map out a high-level view of the problem to demonstrate understanding (and to ensure alignment).
8. Speak the same language. Pick up on jargon and acronyms.
9. Pay attention to your surroundings and the little details. How does the client/organization really operate?
10. Seek low-hanging fruit for a quick win right away. This establishes credibility and increases client confidence.
11. Relentlessly move from idea to planning to execution. Use productivity tools like Asana to help.