Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

Have you ever hit a communication stumbling block when working with a client that resulted in everything coming to a HALT? I know I have.

One of the top reasons why client engagements run into difficulties ties to breakdowns in communication. So, what do can a consultant (freelancer, independent worker, etc.) do? One way is to ensure that the communication loop is completed. Another way is with the creation of your own communication guidelines.

But before I discuss what I mean by a…


Or in Other Words, What is All this “Relationship Management” Stuff About?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Michael Shannon on Unsplash

During a conversation with an independent business professional, I was asked how to “go about this relationship management stuff.”

As I listened to why she was struggling, I heard the spinning of wheels and time spent with nothing to show for it. The person was meeting with people who fit her ideal client criteria and trying to sell what she could do for them. However, she wasn’t taking the time to display credibility or show reliability. She wasn’t getting to know them and they weren’t getting to know her. She hadn’t invested in deliberate relationship building.

Much of a service…


Image for post
Image for post
You’re Awesome! You’re Amazing!

Don’t Doubt Your Credibility! Find it with the Help of This Short Exercise!

On more than one occasion I’ve heard, “I can’t be a consultant (contractor, independent worker, freelancer or fill in the blank). I don’t know why anyone would hire me! I have nothing to offer.”

Over the last few months, I’ve watched people start doubting themselves. It is easy to get down. Even though there is a vaccine for Covid-19, Covid-19 is still looming and for many of us it will be several months before we are inoculated. The economy around the world is shaky, there is political unrest, and…

The list goes on. Don’t doubt yourself. Don’t let doubt hold…


Image for post
Image for post

Do You Have the Entrepreneurial Mindset Like Charles Dickens?

This is the time of year filled with festive traditions. One of my favorite traditions is watching a film adaptation of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol with my husband.

A few years ago I stumbled upon the movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens and Christopher Plummer as Ebenezer Scrooge. It is a fascinating and well-done drama based on the book How Charles Dickens’s a Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford. The book clearly articulates Dickens’s struggle to create and write A Christmas Carol. I believe Dickens’s journey…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Fred Kearney on Unsplash

We are constantly reminded that people hire consultants, freelancers, and independent workers that they trust. But what is trust? Or a trusted relationship? As I put pen to paper for this blog, I remembered a conversation I had years ago with a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) partner. After meeting with a client, the partner asked for a few minutes of my time. He was concerned that “I was a little too honest.” He felt I needed to be more aware of what it took to maintain a positive relationship with a client. I apologized to the client, however the client explained to…


Image for post
Image for post

More than one consultant, coach or trusted advisor has looked at me in puzzlement when I ask “What is your Point of View?” Occasionally, I’ll hear “My value proposition is…” After listening closely for a few minutes, I paraphrase what I heard and re-ask my question: “Help me understand your view point regarding your focus. How do you envision your focus helping someone?” Sometimes, they continue looking at me in puzzlement but many times I hear “I’m not unique,” or “No one has ever asked about my Point of View (POV).”

Well, I’m asking. What is your Point of View…


The Hidden Value Behind a Client-Consultant Relationship

Image for post
Image for post

It wasn’t until leaving Big 4 consulting for an international start-up that I truly understood what was meant by managing a Client-Consultant Relationship. Understanding meant changing my mindset because relationships are not process oriented. Relationships are two-way personal affairs based on trust and creditability with both parties giving and taking. Understanding requires clarity as to the “value” each receive by nurturing a relationship — value beyond a client satisfied with the results and a consultant receiving a “paycheck.”

This blog doesn’t discuss how to nurture relationships. Rather it discusses the value, value beyond…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Howard Riminton on Unsplash

The Power of Your Testimonial to say Thanks.

“Get testimonials! You’ll need them for your LinkedIn profile and website. You can use them in your proposals.”

I’m sure you have heard comments about the importance of testimonials when building awareness and relationship campaigns, your marketing. Maybe, you are also like me. I really don’t like to ask for them. When I ask, most people are open, but I’ve also watched some people cringe.

We’re taught that testimonials tell stories, assist with building trust, and help convert people to clients. All positive actions when building a business. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message.” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

How does a consultant attract new clients? One approach is to ask for referrals from people you know to people who might be interested in meeting you. Obtaining referrals is an active marketing approach and a must do task for every consultant. It is one of the top strategies I recommend to a person starting out as a consultant because everyone knows people and people like to help others. …


Image for post
Image for post

Before I start a presentation, my habit is to walk around the room closely listening to the pre-session conversations and observing attendees. When possible, I ask attendees what insight they hope to gain. During a recent presentation at PMI’s 50th Anniversary Global Conference, one attendee was extremely talkative. As she asked questions, people around her lifted their heads listening to her and chiming in with comments. Her questions started with…

“I work within a company right now, but I’m thinking about my future. I want to become a consultant, an independent professional, but I’m not sure if there is anything…

Laura Burford

Partner to independent consultants & boutique consulting businesses; home of the Consultancy Model & Consulting Jumpstart Blueprint program.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store