COMMUNICATING WITH CLIENTs

During the conceptual phase to the completion phase of the project, a lot of communication takes place between clients and architects regarding the design,  specifications, contract, construction, material specifications and supply, other legal issues and many more. During the project lifecycle, many meetings between the clients and the architects take place in which many important decisions regarding the development of projects are taken. It is necessary to have effective communication from both the sides so to avoid misunderstanding or conflict in future.

 

Following are some tips to remember while effectively  communicating with the clients.

 

Dos

  • A name is the most important thing for any human being. Pronouncing or writing your client's name incorrectly, will cost you a lot more than you expect. Be sure to pronounce/write your client’s name correctly - EVERY TIME.

  • Keep your message very simple and clear.

  • Ask your client to give you a feedback about what you have said or done. It is important to make sure that you client is able to understand you thoroughly.

  • Meet your client periodically for face-to-face conversations. Write down the minutes  of the meetings  clearly and send a copy to the concerned person.

  • List all of your client’s requirements, issues, ideas and complaints. Review this list and address them with a sense of urgency and duty.

  • Clients expect to have their questions addressed in a timely fashion. Doing so, shows them that you share their feeling of what is important. Handling all questions, no matter how small or unimportant, makes your client feel valued and at ease.

  • Do listen to your client carefully and avoid interrupting while the other person is talking, even when you disagree with him/her. 

  • Observe the body language and listen to non verbal signals of your client.

  • Give feedback in private if possible, it's insensitive to do this in front of others.

 

Don’ts

  • There is no need to impress the client by using heavy jargons and complicated language. It works against you as he/she is unable to grasp what you are saying.

  • Try to avoide arranging an important meeting around lunch time. People don’t listen to you if they are hungry.

  • Patience is an important virtue. Everything is not required to be resolved at once. Give yourself and your client some time to think over the problems and their solutions.

  • Give respect. Don’t make your client feel uncomfortable by judging, criticizing or making fun of what he or she has to say.

  • Don’t get bothered by any simple or silly questions from your clients. Often, they don’t understand the buildings the way you do. Like a doctor who explains a complicated medical term to you in a simple way, try to answer their questions patiently. 

  • Don't try to discuss important issues when your client is in a hurry / upset.

  • Don't let anything or anyone interrupt your meeting unless absolutely necessary. It gives your client a feeling of importance and opens up his/her ability to relate to you. 

  • Never assume that a client agrees with your conclusions and opinions. Be persuasive, but also take care for not repeating the same point over and over.

  • Don't forget your sense of humour.

 

Effective communication needs strong understanding and good practice which can be learnt over the period. Any communication is not a one-way process but a two-way. It is as much about speaking as it is about listening. Learn more about the importance of listening and some tips on how to get better at it, in our next article.

 

Next>> Are we good listeners? 

 

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© 2014, Kiran Gandhi. All Rights Reserved.  

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© 2014, KIran Gandhi. All rights reserved. 

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