When talking about the success of your Web Development projects, it all boils down to how effective your initial meeting is with your clients. All parties involved need to understand what is expected of each other and be able to decipher to facts from the fiction. As the facilitator of such meetings, you have the power to lead and direct the meeting in such a way that it is meaningful and productive to have the desired outcome everyone expects. For you, its a successful project completion. For your client, it is seeing their fiction come to reality!
Outline your Meeting Objectives
Meeting objectives creates a clear path for both parties to follow as it relates to how the meeting is expected to go. These objectives should be given a couple of days / weeks in advance so everyone has ample time to prepare their notes, slides, questions or any other related material to have an effective and time productive session. This helps greatly to have power packed sessions and you would be surprised just how the time goes by.
Be a leader, but also a Listener
Although you would be the person chairing this meeting, you should not only make this about you and your company. You should encourage dialogue to ensure everyone is on the same page. Never leave anything to chance or guess because those assumptions you make today can cost you pretty penny later down the road. Always confirm your assumptions by hearing the other side’s thought on the issue. This also encourages them to be more receptive to what you have to say in turn since it shows you value their recommendations no matter how it may sound at the time. Sometimes the client would have questions they need advice on. This is the perfect time to be a listener and provide expert advice to them when they need it most.
Keep It Simple Stupid [ K.I.S.S. ]
Your client may not be tech savvy and know all the tech jargon you would use from time to time. Quite frankly, they may not even care! All they want to know is that you understand their needs to the fullest and can accomplish them in the shortest possible of time while maintaining optimal quality and perfection. What does this tell you? Get to the point! Keep it short and sweet. Answer their questions directly and do not beat around the bush. Even when providing your professional insights into their queries, always stay on course and look for the tell tale signs of when you are loosing your client to unnecessary ramblings. As a developer myself, with other friends in the field, I know we all do it so STOP IT.
Be Wise and Summarize
This is a follow-up to the K.I.S.S. point above. Sometimes during these ramblings we do not realise the detrimental effects it has on your clients. How to solve this? Summarize your main points. It’s always good practice in life to summarize long drawn out paragraphs of speech to ensure the other party listening can catch your trend of thought without having to scan through everything you said. A good way of doing this is give a brief description of what you want to say in the beginning, ramble here and there, then give a recap of what you said before. With a system like that, none of you will be lost.
Put it in writing
This is a grand father rule to all meetings. If it’s not in writing, it’s not valid. Always validate your meetings in writing (or recording) and distribute it ASAP to everyone present (and the ones who were absent). That way, even if your massive summary tactic did not catch on, they always would have something to refer to and follow up on. Even if they missed something you said previously, they will have it documented and can always suggest improvements based on your excellent note recording skills.
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