Client facing skills is often overlooked by most ‘technically’ skilled experts.
It’s understandable to focus mostly on your technical craft, but it’s just as important to be able to communicate with those who don’t really understand your level technical depth in order really be successful.
First off, how do we even define ‘client facing skills’?
Client-facing is the ability to communicate business or technical functions that are important and are used to understand the client’s needs, how to solve their problems or provide your individual service. This means being able to translate technical jargon and educate anyone who needs to understand a product or business service. This includes being able to communicate solutions while using emotion intelligence.
To do this, one way is to become of course become an expert and understand the subject at hand. This applies to most industries and may be the most obvious point. Working hard to be up to date with the latest developments and comprehensively understanding key points of interest to clients will help you sound prepared and will increase your confidence in answering questions.
The next point is to learn the ability to simplify and communicate your expertise with proper choice of words. Of course this also ties in with body language and be able to read people’s emotional state of mind. However, using the right words when dealing with clients in is important. It’s key to make sure you never assume everyone has the same understanding of the your expertise. This usually leads to miscommunication and confusion. This being said, you also do not want to come across as pretentious or unwelcoming.
The next point is that you need to be able to explain technical issues and solutions in multiple ways. You should be able to bring up solutions in different formats. Using visual, sources, documentation in order find what form of communication resonates with your client.
Finally, always put yourself in your clients shoes. Always proceed to delivery your solutions and communications the same way you’d expect from any other professional. As you do this, always keep in mind the inevitable follow up questions and deliver those answers before they ask them.
Bottom line friend, put yourself in the clients shoes, understand the client’s needs, answer the inevitable questions proactively, keep a positive yet genuine attitude, and learn how to present solutions in different ways through words, body language, and visuals.
I’ll be writing more about client-facing skills in tech in more detail in future postings.