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#213: Helping Clients with Speeches

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, January 6, 2010
This is a new one for me. My client asked if I would help her write a "State of the Company" speech to her employees, to be delivered at the annual holiday party. This is not my forte and, although it was nice to be asked, it is outside the scope of my engagement so I don’t want to spend uncompensated time on it.

While it may not be a part of your scope, there is probably no more gratifying request from a client than to help summarize where the company has been, is now and is going. This reflects her trust in your understanding of the organization and your judgment in where it will or might go. Whether you are in strategy or operations, technology or governance, human resources or marketing, your insights are requested in one of the most important communications with staff. A cynical view might consider this just passing off a task she doesn't want to do, but you probably already know whether this is true or not.

You mention that it is not your strong suit to help with speeches. Be up front with her about how you think you can best contribute. While you may not consider yourself capable of writing the speech yourself, you can certainly provide talking points as input, serve as a reviewer of the text, or comment on the dry run. As to it requiring extra time, you will have to make a judgment whether you consider this offer to better understand your client as a commercial transaction or an opportunity to strengthen the relationship.

Tip: Consider this an affirmation of her trust in you and respect for your opinion. This is an opening to strengthen your service to her and the company by thinking more broadly than the scope of your original engagement, perhaps even revealing areas in which you could provide additional services.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  client relations  communication  consultant role  goodwill  presentations 

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