Communication is key in any relationship, and this couldn’t be more true when working with clients on a voice over project. When the lines of communication break down, then Houston, we have a problem. Good news, though - you can avoid that issue by following these 4 tips for better communication with your clients.
1. Speak the same language. When talking with clients, your ultimate goal is to be understood. The same goes for them; they want you to understand where they are coming from, too. To accomplish this, you’ve got to speak to one another in terms you can both relate to. This may mean breaking down some of the reasons why you chose to voice a project a certain way, or giving a quick summary of your interpretation of a script if they ask. Whatever the situation, make sure that you’re communicating in a way where both parties have the same understanding of whatever it is you’re discussing.
2. Ask the right questions. Assumptions are a dangerous thing, and making them can lead to disaster. When working with clients - especially new ones - make sure to ask the right questions about them and their project. Find out who they are and what they’re about (some of this can be done with a little background research beforehand), ask who their audience is, if they’ve got a particular style in mind, and anything else you think will help you work more effectively. Don’t leave it to guesswork, and avoid surprises that could come back to bite you later on.
3. Be assertive. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind or push back if the situation calls for it - just make sure you’re coming from the right place if you do. If you don’t agree with something the client wants and feel it warrants a bit of discussion, then speak up. This isn’t a situation where “the customer is always right.” Besides, you’re an expert in your field (right?), and your opinion counts too. Just be sure to keep it polite, and don’t cross any lines that you may regret later.
4. Be responsive. Another key to solid communication lies in simply being responsive. When the client wants to talk, be available to talk. You can also make yourself available on a variety of platforms, such as email, phone, text, video chat, Google Hangouts. Find a medium that works for both of you, and then use it! Try to avoid delayed communication, and be sure to respond to whatever the client is asking. If they’ve got 3 questions in an email, your reply should include 3 answers; not 1 or 2. Doing this assures them you’re listening, and that their project is very important, which is exactly how you want your clients to feel!