How to have a great relationship with your independent consultant
Recently I’ve given you insight into whether you need an editor for your project, and which editor you may need… but this week I’ve decided to go back to basics.
There’s no point in hiring an independent consultant, of any type, if you cannot communicate with them effectively and politely. You would treat in-house staff with courtesy and professionalism (at least I hope you would), therefore you should treat freelances with the same respect.
Great communication often leads to a great working relationship.
Sometimes though, it can be difficult to figure out how best to talk to your consultant, after all you may never have hired a freelance before, or may only have worked with in-house staff.
So, here are my top five tips for successful communication with your independent consultant of choice:
Do – include the scope of the project, timescales, expected turnaround and budget, and if possible an example of the work.
Don’t – give your consultant your life-story or give more than your consultant needs to assess whether they can take on the job.
Do – find out when your co-worker’s office hours are and when the best times for contact are.
Don’t – telephone during unsocial hours, or expect a return email during these times.
Do – be pleasant, professional and personal
Don’t – be a robot. The human touch is always appreciated.
Do – reply as soon as possible to either go ahead with the project or reject a quote
Don’t – forget! We are all professionals, if there is no reply it can create a negative impression and may adjust your chances of working with that consultant in the future. A polite rejection (with reasons) is just as easy as an acceptance email, not as nice, but better than leaving the freelance hanging.
Do – talk about the project. Make the job a pleasant experience for both sides, communication is key.
Don’t – alter the end result without letting your consultant know – if you decide to alter things yourself after the job is finished you can affect both of your professional reputations. If you are unsure as to why alterations were made by your consultant, there is no harm in asking… a professional will always be able to justify their alterations.
There are probably many more tips that will help you to build a great relationship with your freelance colleagues, but if you take heed of these five it will make the experience much more enjoyable and efficient for both of you. Whether you work alongside designers, writers, editorial professionals or other types of consultant, communicating well during the working relationship leads to great collaborative work.