We’ve all been there – you feel like you are running in circles with a client, and you’re at a loss for how you can better explain your thought process. The constant back and forth can take up tons of time, and create plenty of unnecessary frustration. Some misunderstandings can even lead to losing the client all together. Perfecting our communication skills both within our teams, as well as with our clients, can create the promise of a successful future.
Communication can make or break a business. We’ve all experienced that moment of panic when we misread the tone of voice in a text or misconstrued a weirdly worded email from our boss. It’s time we cut the confusion and replaced it with some clarity!
We’re breaking down the top 5 best ways to ditch misunderstandings, efficiently handle conflict, and streamline your thoughts when communicating with clients.
1. Practice Your Listening Skills
Communication is much more than talking – listening is half the battle. Instead of constantly thinking of what you will say next, stop and hear your client out. When we are egocentric, we completely miss out on the other party’s side, which leads to those frustrating circles. A solution can only be found when both parties are being heard. Listen and understand your clients’ side, collaborate, and work to find a solution. This not only gets the job done quicker, but it makes your client feel valued, which builds a stronger relationship.
2. Clarity Is Key
Do you find your thoughts constantly jumbling in your head? It can be hard to translate a language that is so clear to you, but completely foreign to the client. We find this often in web design, which is why Punchlist was born to crush those pain points. While we tend to overthink when expressing our thought process to our clients, the solution is quite simple. Create the main points of your thought in a clear and concise manner. Make a brief outline if you need to! Communicate the main points, answer any questions they may have, and offer up a clear solution. Don’t get lost in over-communicating – simply simply simply!
3. Keep A Notebook
Your notebook is your best friend. Whenever you jump on a call with a client, take avid notes. Write down key points about upcoming tasks, important dates, and maybe even personal points you can check up on later. It shows extreme care and value when you remember the little things about your client. Not only will your notebook keep your client fresh in your mind, but it will also prevent you from allowing tasks to fall through the cracks. Keeping all of your important information organized and in one place will keep you on task and aligned with your clients’ goals.
4. Edit Your Emails
Remember that weirdly-worded email from your boss we mentioned earlier? Yeah, that’s never fun. Avoid misleading your clients or team members by editing your emails. Before you hit send, give your email copy a once-over. How does it read? Is the tone positive? Is there any way that the recipient could misunderstand? Put yourself in the other party’s shoes, and make sure everything checks out. Be clear, concise, professional, and positive, and avoid the pothole of misinterpretation.
5. Have An Effective Communication System
Although projects often follow similar patterns, leaving the flow of communication up to the client can often lead to things falling through the cracks. Don’t be afraid to act like the expert, you do these types of projects all the time, you know the best tool for the job! Take initiative and streamline your communication with a seamless system.
Try these tips next time you are chatting with a client or finding yourself caught in the back and forth. Want to go the extra mile? Try Punchlist for free with your team today! Keep all of your web content in one place – with Punchlist, you can share a project with your client or team and have them annotate directly on the website. It’s time you stop wasting the day away with random emails, documents, text messages, or chat feedback.
How to Set Up Your Team for Success in PunchlistAugust 12, 2022
Trying to dig up Slack threads, endless email chains, or client meeting notes can seriously ruin your productivity as a project manager. Not to mention, this causes delays for your whole team. The old process of wrangling feedback can easily lead to missing a critical change in your next deliverable. How can you simplify the [...]
Handling an Unresponsive Client the Right Way (with Email Templates)April 27, 2022
Nothing derails a project quite like hearing crickets from unresponsive clients. We’ve all been there before. You have the kickoff meeting, get all your ducks in a row, send over the first draft for feedback, and…nothing. After what feels like a month-long game of “Where’s Waldo?”, your client finally gets back to you with approval, [...]
How to Get Clients Out of the Comfort Zone (and into New Tools & Processes)April 13, 2022
While agencies tend to be early adopters of the latest tools and tech, it’s not always the same for clients. Here are 5 actionable tips to onboard your clients to new software tools and processes, so you can all get on the same page and deliver amazing work. Project managers spend a lot of time [...]
5 Ways to Get Better Design Feedback from Your ClientMarch 25, 2022
Your design team spends various sprints working on a large project for a prominent client, and the most important day arrives — the big unveiling. Presenting the creative work is exciting and fun (and yes, a bit anxiety-inducing). But what follows is actually the most crucial part: the client’s feedback. How do you get productive [...]
What These 15 Web Design Terms Mean – And Don’t MeanMarch 24, 2022
There are few groups who use more jargon than those tackling web design. Design terminology especially causes confusion on cross-disciplinary creative teams and full-service agencies, where not everyone speaks the same language. In order to design great websites, landing pages, product UX, and other digital experiences that are as usable as they are pleasing to [...]
7 Ways to Give & Get Better Creative Feedback [Punchlist Video Features]March 11, 2022
Sometimes it’s all in the ask. How you ask for feedback — whether it’s from a client, teammate, or stakeholder — can make all the difference on the quality of feedback you receive. Creating that ask is something that deserves your time and attention, as it impacts the relationship with the person delivering feedback, the [...]
Client Onboarding: 6 Ways to Create Lasting Client RelationshipsMarch 8, 2022
Client onboarding is a double-edged sword for agencies, studios, and freelancers. While your clients supply the work and pay the bills, they also require back-and-forth email conversations and time-intensive education on your work process that ultimately distract from the best part of your job — being creative. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. [...]
Website Launch Checklist: 13 Actionable StepsOctober 15, 2021
Any website launch is challenging. The beginning of the website building process was exciting. You felt like there you made massive progress every time you went to work on it. But it’s not like that close to the end. It feels like you’re stuck at 95% complete. The structure is there, the design looks good, [...]
5 Tips for Better Client-Designer CommunicationSeptember 22, 2021
The client-designer relationship can be a breezy ride or a teeth-grinding journey. It all depends on how prepared you are to effectively communicate with your designer. Going in blind is a normal thing for clients to do when first looking for a designer. But starting the design process with a little preparation will go a [...]
Freelance Design Websites for Every ProjectSeptember 16, 2021
The freelance design world is hot with talent waiting for your project — you just have to know where to find it. We’ve marked out 10 platforms with freelance designers available for hire. Each one differs in price, client leg-work and expertise. So, jot out your priorities and see which fits your project best! Fiverr [...]
How to Audit Content Like a Pro in 2021January 27, 2021
Running a content audit can be hard. Knowing how to crush it for your client shouldn’t be. Content audit. There it is again. Creating content is one thing; auditing it is quite another. Regardless if you work for an agency or for yourself, you likely depend on your clients to provide content for you. But [...]
4 Things To Consider When Creating Your New WebsiteJanuary 4, 2021
They say your business website is like your virtual handshake – the first impression you will make on a potential client. With this in mind, it is vital that your website is seamless, easy to maneuver, and on brand. Whether you are building your website yourself, or you’ve reached out to an agency for support, [...]
Top 3 Tips When Providing Project Feedback To Your AgencyDecember 22, 2020
At Punchlist, communication is one of our top values. It’s the entire premise behind what we do! We believe communication lays the foundation for any business, project, or relationship in general. It’s a known fact that communication can get complicated when you don’t have the person right in front of you. We have all misread [...]
Your Pre-Launch Checklist!December 21, 2020
We all know the pressure that comes when it’s finally time to launch a website. With all the complexities, we can often catch ourselves thinking of all the things that could go wrong. No one wants to experience the frustration of grammatical errors or a failed capture form. That’s why we created our Pre-Launch essential [...]
Six Ways To Set Client BoundariesNovember 13, 2020
Just like all relationships, partnerships with clients require boundaries. We all want to strive to go above and beyond for our clients, but it is necessary that the line does not blur into something problematic. We see too often businesses being taken advantage of out of fear of upsetting or losing a client. Setting clear [...]