February 1, 2020
You landed the new gig – Congratulations! Regardless of whether it’s your first time being a consultant, or it’s your 20th assignment – you want to make a great impression. You know it’s different than being a full-time permanent employee – so how do you stand out when the job is temporary?
There are some key behaviors that our most successful consultants demonstrate consistently and have a big impact on how our clients assess their overall performance…here are the top 10:
Especially in the beginning, do more listening than talking. Take great notes. Don’t rush to form opinions or solve problems until you’ve heard all sides and data points. Don’t assume anything is the same as your last assignment, client, employer, etc. And then be tuned into hearing pain points and areas where your unique skills and experience can add value.
2. Connect the Dots
Ask questions. Be humble. Seek to understand how your work impacts others on the team, across the organization, with partners or clients. Figure out how your assignment and the work you are doing impacts the client’s success.
3. Adapt and Figure it out
This might be the biggest way a consultant can make an impression right away – be flexible and roll with it. Your first day may be bumpy with system or building access or equipment issues. You might not get a lot of formal training. Assignments will evolve and change. Assume good intentions. Be resourceful and help yourself and your client by rolling with the punches and helping to find a solution vs. complaining.
4. Put the Client First
Remember you are there to make the client’s life easier or to make them look good. Do both and it’s a home run.
5. Be a Team Player
Be collaborative and offer to help others when you have bandwidth or expertise. Socialize and be personable. Though the team might not be your colleagues forever, they can be part of your network long after your assignment ends if you make strong connections. And don’t forget to tap into your BLEND360 colleagues for support – or offer to provide support to others when you have information or a unique skill that can help the BLEND360 team.
6. Be Reliable
Be on time. Be available. Be responsive. Say yes. Deliver projects and work assignments on time every time. Keep your word. Ultimately you want to be the consultant that the client knows can get the work done and will every single day.
7. Demonstrate Diplomatic Assertiveness
Perhaps you aren’t the team lead, or senior project manager, but you rely on other team members or organizations to get the work done right and on time – or you can’t deliver. We’ve all heard about influencing others without authority – and this is the time to use open, direct and transparent communication skills, along with a great attitude to get what is needed from the colleagues around you.
8. Communication 101
It’s what you say AND how you say it. Whether preparing for a big executive PowerPoint presentation, compiling information in an Excel report, sending an email or calling a colleague – every communication is a reflection on your work and your skills. Be clear, concise, and please use spell check!
9. Align on Expectations
Whether you’re in short 3-month assignment or a multi-year project, it’s critical to ensure you are aligned with your client manager on expectations and priorities. Agree early on how to best stay connected on the work, changes, jeopardies and risks – sometimes a quick 20 minute weekly meeting is the best answer.
10. Bring Energy and enthusiasm to assignment
This might be your dream assignment or a somewhat tedious task-oriented project – either way bring your positive attitude and high energy to the role every day. You never know what the next project may be, who’s watching, or what that assignment can lead to – and if you fit in with the culture and bring your best work forward, it can lead to great new opportunities.
Every consulting assignment is a chance to make a great impression with a client. It’s more than just simply doing great work -- demonstrating some key business skills and a great attitude can lead to bigger and better opportunities, a fantastic network of people who can support you, and a great fulfilling career.
At BLEND360 we match great consultants with great projects in our client’s organizations. If you’re an experienced consultant looking for your next gig, or interested in trying consulting, we might be the right place for you. Take a look at the opportunities we have at careers.blend360.com.