In the business world, communication is integral to a smooth and agreeable relationship between people. The more effectively and transparently one communicates, the better mutual understanding develops. Such principle applies wholesomely to the freelance community, and thus, you should not take communication lightly as a freelancer.
The circumstance under which the freelance community operates is distinct, usually marked by lack of physical supervision over a freelancer. This makes it all the more important to have stronger and continuous channels of communication. However, it is all easy said because a lot of people do not take this issue very seriously, and this eventually impacts their business relationships.
Without a healthy and harmonious relationship with clients, a freelancer cannot survive long. It is imperative for a freelancer to participate actively in the communication process; but for that to happen, you must observe a number of things. In this article, we are going to talk about exactly that.
Here are 10 communication secrets for freelancers to make the best use of while communicating with clients.
1. Communication Is Also Listening
If you are one of those who loves to talk and not listen, then you really need to stop doing that. Always remember that communication is not just about you telling your part; it also involves listening, which only a few do.
Your relationship with clients depends heavily on how you carry out your responsibilities, as directed by them. In order to grasp these directions, you must listen well. Even if the entire conversation is dull, you must listen patiently so that you are fully aware of what is expected and what is not.
2. Be Clear Of What You Want To Talk About
Approaching your client with half-baked queries or problems which could have been solved by the application of mind and efforts is not a good idea at all. What we mean to say is that whatever matter you want to talk about, you must think through it first.
The point is to be clear about what you are going to say. If, for example, you are new and do not adequately know how to use WordPress, you should try understanding it on your own. Many freelancers do not try at all; instead, they shoot numerous emails to clients. In fact, when asked where they are having issues, they are very vague about it.
3. Tone Up Your Language
A good business communication also depends on what kind of language you use. The freelance community has its own language through which it communicates—and it is desirable that you learn the same for engaging in effective communication.
For example, as a freelance content writer, you should be aware of a few business-related words and phrases such as SEO, copywriter, ghostwriter, creative brief, Kill fee, tagline, etc. You are not expected to by-heart every business jargon out there, but only the relevant ones.
4. Double Check
It is often found that freelancers hesitate in asking questions, but this is a wrong approach towards work. In order to perform well on the task, you must fully understand it. So, ask without hesitation.
When you are done conversing with your client through text or on phone, you should double check the information. Say, “Let me reiterate what you want me to do” or anything else along similar lines. Double-checking ensures that you appreciate what the client wants.
5. Use Communication Channels Smartly
Today, there are many communication channels available, and you must acquaint yourself with major ones.
We are no longer restricted to the conventional means of communication such as email or phone calls. There is much software available such as instant messaging, group video chatting, presentations, and what not.
One important note: you must not spread out your communication channels too much when not needed. Ask your client what he prefers and then establish the necessary channels.
6. Do Not Stretch Out
If you unnecessarily stretch out conversations, then you are killing time—not just yours’, but also the clients. Therefore, it is highly advised that you keep the content of the conversation to-the-point.
For example, when writing an email to your client regarding a few doubts you have, consolidate all these doubts in a single email. Enumerate them point-by-point basis and write them succinctly. DO NOT send doubts in multiple emails, as they make the task of replying time-consuming.
7. A Client Should Be Respected
Unless you are dealing with an utterly obnoxious and incorrigible client, you should be respectful to your clients.
In any business relationship, respect counts. The more respectful you are, the more harmonious relationship you develop. You should, especially, show respect and amenability to listening when the client is evaluating your performance. Do not let personal sentiments affect your professionalism.
8. Think From Your Client’s Perspective
You must also think from the perspective of the client to appreciate his expectations better. Every time you approach him for anything, try considering the situation from his perspective first.
For example, the client is unhappy with the fact that you did not adequately proofread an article. In such a situation, try thinking from his side. Ask yourself whether you would have appreciated an act like yours.
9. Give Some Personal Touch
There is no harm in showing some consideration towards your client. In fact, a personalized message can really help you strengthen your inter-personal relationship with clients.
For example, you can give them a phone call instead of sending them a written message to thank them for their help over any matter.
Another example involves you as a fresh recruit who is figuring out your work. Your client is thoroughly involved with you and has been helping you irrespective of the type of problem you have. In such a case, it is advised that you express your gratitude for the same.
10. Show Disagreements The Way They Should be Shown
Nobody likes a yes-man so it is best to be open about how you feel about the project. If you have disagreements about anything material to the work, it is advised that you express the same. Clients like those freelancers who contribute their suggestions, and therefore, you should not hesitate in expressing your reservations.
Communication is vital in the freelance community. Without effective communication, one cannot expect to sustain a healthy relationship with clients. Hence, our article on this issue can really help you sharpen those communication skills of yours.
Through this article, we wish to guide our readers at every step in their freelance journey. You can, also, help us by contributing your views on the article and/or sharing the article. We promote discourse on matters which are integral to the freelance community, and we need your help in this.