A Silent Client Is Not Necessarily a Happy Client

Are You Holding Silent Clients in Contempt?

Do you think that a client who patiently waits for you to get work done for them without complaining is a happy client? In a world with lots of squeaky wheels and more demands than can be met, we treat the silent client with some contempt. In practice we may let their work slip further and further behind. Our thought processes seem to say, “Well, if they think this is important or urgent, they will let me know.” But this is willfully ignoring the facts about silent clients.

Beware-Silent-CustomerMany people do not like confrontation or conflict. They avoid complaining, or even appearing to be demanding. But, they are not necessarily happy with your service and they do not forget. Few people are masochists. The next time they need your services they will very likely be off to another provider who they hope will be more responsive and honest with them.

Now You Have Lost a Client and Finding the Replacement is Ten Times the Cost of Keeping One You Have Continue reading

Meetings – The Drama Model

Third in a series on meetings.

Think of meetings as dramas. Meetings should follow the basic shape of almost all dramas and movies. Act One sets the scene and hooks us into the action, introduces the characters, tells us what the drama is about, provides us with all of the information that allows us to participate. The Act Two is conflict. Discussions break out, issues parsed, pruned, and analyzed. The Act Three is resolution. The culprit gets his comeuppance, the love interest is played out, and so on.

In the world of organizations, the resolution, Act Three,  is usually a set of tasks.  Those accountable are clearly noted, deadlines set, resources committed, metrics for success defined, and the date for follow-up put on the calendar.

In a business drama, every formal meeting needs to have an objective, an agenda, time, place, leader, and participants. All of this must be made available to everyone involved before the meeting takes place. This provides the participants with time to review the agenda, gather information, think about the problem, in short, get ready to participate and not just appear at the meeting.

The leader of a meeting needs to think through each act. A key element of Act One is the hook. Everyone must understand very early in the meeting that something significant is at stake. This draws them into the meeting and gets them ready to participate vigorously.

Once you have applied this dramatic model to your formal meetings, think about how you can apply this to the informal meetings. Frequently, in contrast to formal meetings where Act One is critical, informal meetings fall down on Act Three, the resolution. How often do you walk away from a casual conversation about a project problem and wonder “What was that about and who is really responsible for bringing closure to the problem?”