Matt Saunders
coaching communication freelancing

The Vital Communication Skill Used by the Best Freelancers

Discover the conversation technique that nobody talks about

Do you ever get the feeling that your clients don't listen to you?

You give advice, but it falls on deaf ears. And in the end, you just do what your client wants anyway.

This problem, of our opinions not resonating, is common among freelancers. But this doesn't come from a lack of respect; the problem is not personal. It's something else entirely...

Watch a related video

The way we communicate is wrong

Recall the last time you gave somebody advice. It probably felt good, and they might have even thanked you for it. But did they actually act on it? Unlikely.

I bet the same can be said for you, too. You share a problem with a friend and immediately they offer you advice. But do you act on it? Do you even truly hear it? Again, probably not.

We bring a similar approach to our client meetings. We offer our opinion and then we get upset when clients don't really listen.

The truth is that we often don't really hear out our clients, either.

The thing is, it's nobody's fault; it's just the way we're all programmed to communicate from an early age.

Instead of simply telling others what to think, I invite you to try a different, more mindful approach.

How to coach your clients

Opinions are often not heard because they don't align with whatever we already think. In the video above, I use the common example of a web design client asking the designer to enlarge the size of the logo. As a designer, it's likely you've given this some thought, and set the logo dimensions in such a way for good reason.

But to the client's eye, it's too small. They want it making bigger. MUCH bigger. It's their logo and they wanna see it BIG!

You know this could be costly. Perhaps it will mess up the navigation, or maybe it'll just look untidy. If your instinctive response is to say "no, because..." this could be seen as dismissive by the client. Good relationships are paramount, so dismissing somebody's preference is risky.

Recall the last time you gave somebody advice. It probably felt good, and they might have even thanked you for it. But did they actually act on it? Unlikely.

Instead, ask questions to understand their motivation behind the request. This coaching approach will lead to a more productive conversation and, in most cases, a better outcome. It can be applied to every conversation with a client to get the best out of them, the best out of you, and to deliver a higher standard of work. One that the whole team can be proud of.

Need help coaching your clients? I can support your growth so that you can effectively handle any client situation. See my coaching packages to find the right one for you.