“Communication is what's heard, not what's said.”
Dan Buzzo, April 2008
With these words of wisdom ringing in my ears, I was speaking to a friend in Bristol who works remotely. She offered some pithy advice, which I’m forwarding to you in a listified format:
* You are beholden to technology (broadband, email, video-conferencing, collaborative applications and web sites). This is the most difficult hurdle for most people. If something breaks, can you fix it? * Have at least a detailed phone call before making a pitch (you probably won’t be able to afford to meet all potential clients in person). * Communicate clearly (see above)! Use the “Repeat Back To Me” technique for any spoken instructions, no matter how seemingly simple. * Absolutely insist on a face-to-face meeting with client when starting the contract. This helps get a feel for the people and the organisation, helping you understand the client and the brief. * Does the client even know what they want? Are they agreed amongst themselves? Advise the stakeholders to meet up before they meet you, so that they can nail down the strategy. I recommend this excellent A List Apart article. * Fix milestones and future dates for communication (use video-conferencing (eg Skype) to communicate, as you can see the non-verbal communication so much more clearly). * Set up an upload area where you can share files (I used Basecamp quite successfully). Agree upon the file-naming convention.
There, now to follow my own advice!