edc_2011_19 - Chapter 19: Client Communication CHAPTER 19:...

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Chapter 19: Client Communication 189 CHAPTER 19: CLIENT COMMUNICATION Chapter outline When to communicate with clients What modes of communication to use How much to communicate How to benefit from client communication Key guidelines for client communication Telephone your client when you need a quick reply, and send a fol- low-up email to confirm any appointments or decisions made Email your client when you don't need an immediate reply or when you want to present information that would be hard to convey by phone Schedule face-to-face meetings when you have a large amount of information to convey or need substantial feedback Follow up the meeting with an email summarizing the main points and decisions Understanding your client for EDC will help you get your project off to a good start, avoid misunderstandings later on, and communicate effectively with him or her throughout. It is important to know that clients voluntarily submit project proposals and come from a variety of backgrounds and per- spectives. While many clients are professionals in their own right, they bring with them diverse experiences, motives, and expectations. Some clients are readily available to their teams, while others—because they are out of town or have many demands on their time—may be less available. One client may have a fairly well developed design already in mind, whereas another may simply identify a problem without the technical knowledge to provide expert advice. While most projects are presented by individuals, in some cases a cli- ent represents an organization or business; therefore, several colleagues have a stake in project progress. One implication of all this variety is that the kind of client you have in your second quarter of EDC may be quite different from the one you had first quar- ter. Another implication is that you need to understand your client in order to establish a good working relationship with him or her.
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Chapter 19: Client Communication 190 Because clients come from such different perspectives, one tool used to estab- lish shared understanding at the initial meeting is the Client and Student Understandings form (downloadable from “EDC Documents” on the Black- board website). Taking a few minutes to review this document with your cli- ent will help all involved to understand each other's roles through the duration of the project. The most obvious reasons to maintain good communication with clients are to obtain information from them, such as user contacts and background material, to keep them apprised of your progress, and to solicit their feedback. On the one hand, if you fail to keep your client posted on your activities, he or she may lose confidence in your abilities, and not devote the time to giving you help when you most need it. On the other hand, if you keep the lines of communication open, your client is likely to feel encouraged and enthusiastic about helping you. And at the end of the project, your client is likely to appre-
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This note was uploaded on 05/30/2011 for the course MATH 203 taught by Professor Xia during the Summer '00 term at Culver-Stockton.

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edc_2011_19 - Chapter 19: Client Communication CHAPTER 19:...

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