Design Story 1: The Importance of Effective Communication in Design
I've found there are distinct differences and expectations when a creative professional is hired to provide a service versus a tangible goods service provider. A tangible goods provider has a finite array of services and associated tangibles to offer. Services provided by a creative professional straddles both the subjective/objective fence. The subjective sphere allows for the probability of an infinite amount of options. The possibility of infinite optionality can be daunting if you don't know how to be a strategic communicator. Additionally, we must also arm ourselves with a focused ability to uncover a clients needs including discerning elusive ideals and preferences both consciously & subconsciously. In short, we must be adept at uncovering the unspoken and unrealized desires of a client. It is our responsibility as creative professionals to get as much information from the client as possible in order to deliver the highest level of individualized services.
So what do you do when a client, doesn't know or say they don't have an affinity towards anything in particular? I often hear, "I don't have a style preference or favorite color, I really don't care - that's why I hired you". Well that is a contradictory statement in itself. If they really didn't care, they wouldn't have hired me". The point I am making here is this, the client is always telling you what they want and need. It is my job to conversationally inquire, listen for, unearth the clues and cues. I say conversationally because there are some instances when a client can become frustrated with the process because they are unable to articulate what their needs are. I learned in my previous life as a human resources professional that I could get more information through conversational inquiry with an employee than following a scripted list of questions. This skill served me well during employee relation investigations as well as when I conducted employment interviews!
In the end, it really doesn't matter what industry you work in, the ability to communicate is the key to success. Effective and productive communication should in large part be attributed to listening to spoken and unspoken language. You have to listen, and look for the cues!