As designers, we’ve got to remember that while we are used to the stress and frustration of the design process, our clients aren’t. But, if you are following the most important keys to communication, you will keep things on track, moving forward, and alleviating your client’s frustration just by paying attention to them.
Seek a Win-Win, not a Win-Lose
The goal of successful communication with a frustrated client is to defuse the situation, ease their frustration, and help them to see the reality of the situation which is not always where they are. But you don’t want to disagree with that picture–instead, you want to educate them into the accurate truth of it.
Don’t make them wrong or tell them you flat-out disagree. When you go to make them wrong to make yourself right, they’re going to put their fists up and that’s when you are going to hit a brick wall. Of course, you can disagree all you want with your client, you just don’t want to let that phrase come out of your mouth. Always remember that the goal of successful communication with your client is to things back on track and move forward with trust and rapport from your client. Creating a permanent rift will not make that goal achievable.
For When It Gets Tough
It can be tough to field the frustrations of clients when they are venting or upset, whether it be about the project or their own personal problems. Learn to release, let go and move forward, lighter and brighter and not carrying the baggage. When you rise above the situation and keep your cool, you will find that you can approach the conflict from a more empathetic angle.
I know that this might feel impossible to do, but I have learned when I can take the time to talk myself through this and tell myself to rise above the situation out loud, it can actually make all the difference. It may feel silly at first, but it’s a lot more powerful than just keeping your self-encouragement inside your head. Sometimes you need to hear your own voice speaking to you. Communication isn’t only between yourself and a client–it starts from within.
When you’re ready to take your design practice to the next level, explore your expert coaching and training options with Melissa Galt. To catch the entire podcast episode LISTEN HERE.