Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sharing Trial and Error

As a soon-to-be graduate, my experiences - from work to school to life - tend to fall into the category of Trial and Error (and yes, this category does indeed garner capitalization). I'm a planner from way back, but there's only so much lists, labels, and scheduling can get you before you actually have to do what you're planning. I know, that's a shocker.

My current exploration into Trial and Error land deals with client work. From PSAs and promo videos to brochures to news release, clients make everything real - and hard. I have no problem relaying that I've made some mistakes...okay, many how I've worked my clients. So, allow me to share what little wisdom I've gained so you can look 10 times smarter than the average, pre-graduated bear.

  1. Patience is not just a virtue - it is a necessity. You may have an idea of what you want to do, but your client cannot see through your eyes. Explain everything in a manner that makes sense - JARGON= no. Plus, with patience comes...
  2. Listening skills. Listen and learn, ladies and gents. You are not an Egyptian deity (unless you are, in which case, wow!) - omnipotence is not a skill you have in your toolbox.
  3. Communication: Let it be constant! I'm talking weekly updates, people. And if they're not reciprocating, ask why! Is it the medium of communication? The time of the week/day you communicate? The fact that you use emoticons after every sentence? :(
  4. Rates. Yes, the most uncomfortable thing ever, but you have to put your rate on the table in the beginning. In writing. You don't want to feel jilted and they don't want to feel sideswiped. Let financial transparency reign!
  5. Time lines - have them. Start and end dates (even if they fluctuate later). Period.
  6. Smile and breathe. Smiling helps everything - your mood, their mood, the Ozone layer... Okay, so I can't attest to the last item. Breathing helps you stay alive. Better moods and existence are key to happy projects.
That's my list for now. I have little doubt that there is more to come. Trial and Error is quite an interesting place to be. I only hope that it decides to change it's name to Trial and Success sooner than later.

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