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Between 2005 and 2011, IMC published Daily Tips every weekday on consulting ethics, marketing, service delivery and practice management. You may search more than 800 tips on this website using keywords in "Search all posts" or clicking on a tag in the Top Tags list to return all tips with that specific tag. Comment on individual tips (members and registered guests) or use the Contact Us form above to contact Mark Haas CMC, FIMC, Daily Tips author/editor. Daily Tips are being compiled into several volumes and will be available through IMC USA and Mark Haas.

 

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Top tags: client relations  communication  customer understanding  your consulting practice  marketing  consultant role  learning  client service  reputation  goodwill  consulting process  market research  practice management  sales  ethics  planning  client development  engagement management  innovation  proposals  professional development  professionalism  knowledge assets  prospect  trends  presentations  recommendations  consulting colleagues  intellectual property  product development 

#87: Always Have Your Script

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Although I am an experienced consultant, there are times I leave a client meeting or sales call and remember something else I should have said. Is it is appropriate to send a note later or call and make that missed point?

You can certainly do that but it is better to make your points all at once so you make them all, make them in the right sequence, supported them with your presence and nonverbal cues, and you can see the other person's reaction. I can understand that, as you get more experienced, the extent of your knowledge and examples of applied consulting grows. But there is nothing wrong with rigorous preparation for a sales call or client presentation. Sometimes we get overconfident that we are so experienced that we will have everything on the tip of our tongue. This wasn't true when we were new consultants and it isn't true for senior consultants.

Tip: Prepare scripts for important conversations. Whether you use them for advance practice, as last minute check aids, or for talking points in a session, these are essential to make all your points in as cogent and complete a manner as possible. For example, if you are making a preliminary sales call, lay out the key points of your personal story, the relevant issues with the prospect's firm, the scenario of your supporting them, and the imagined future after your engagement. Include side bar conversations about people you know in common, past engagements on similar issues, and recommendations for other consultants for related opportunities. All this can fit on a single sheet of paper, and if you make sure you have answered each of these issues, you will be prepared and deliver a complete pitch. And you won't have to worry about forgetting something next time.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  information management  learning  marketing  meeting preparation  presentations  sales  your consulting practice 

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#35: Keeping Your Online Accounts Safe

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, April 24, 2009
Updated: Friday, April 24, 2009
Several of my online accounts are asking me to change my passwords frequently and I notice they are asking for more complex passwords. How can I be sure that my passwords and usernames are secure?

Online security is important for more than just financial and medical accounts. Any account that has information that may be used to crack your more sensitive accounts should be protected. Using your dog's name or spouse’s birth date for every nonsensitive account creates insecurity. Once someone figures this out, they have access to all your accounts. You also are likely to have client confidential data on your company system or stored in online collaboration accounts.

Here are two ideas: create strong passwords automatically and evaluate password strength. First, there are many "password robots" on the market (RoboForm is a popular one) that will recognize URLs of your online accounts and store (in a file on your computer) passwords. A robot either remembers passwords you create or can generate really strong passwords (randomly generated combination of upper and lower case, numeric and symbolic characters). When you go to an online account site, the robot pulls up your login information and (if you choose) automatically fill in the login fields. You can generate and remember separate passwords for all your accounts.

Second, you can evaluate how strong your password is. Several online services will quickly show you how long it will take to crack a particular password. Use this application to check your passwords. If they don't pass minimal standards, it's time to beef them up.

Tip: Long gone are the days when you could keep your passwords on a 3x5 card or in a small notebook. May of us have dozens of accounts and password management is no longer an incidental exercise. Use the techniques above to insure your personal and client data remain protected.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  confidentiality  information management  security 

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#953: WYGIWYS

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, December 30, 2008
No, this is not a typo. We are all familiar with the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). However, there is another acronym WYGIWYS (What You Get Is What You See) and it refers to data visualization, an important concept for consultants, both for their own use and for clients.

Data visualization is the graphical display of data and information to communicate its meaning more clearly and effectively. In its simplest form, this would be a line graph, pie chart, histogram or other basic representation of scale, order and sequence. But, with the advent of computers, the past decade has seen many new ways of presenting data that provide insights we were previously unable to achieve.

The importance of this concept to consultants becomes obvious when we try to make sense of increasingly complex information and present it in an understandable and compelling way to clients. There are some by now familiar ways to present multiple types of information in a single graphic. Think of a tag cloud, where the frequency of the occurrence of words or data elements are reflected by their size and relationships by their location and proximity to other words. Or consider Visuwords, which presents itself as an "online graphical dictionary." Enter a word and, based on its meaning and relationships with other words, it is displayed in a relationship diagram. Try it out.

Tip: Here are two data visualization sources. The first is a set of 16 visualization tools that you may use yourself. The second is some elegant examples of ways to visualize data more powerfully than in a simple table or chart. Remember, What You Get (meaning understand) Is What You See meaning visualize).

© 2008 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  data visualization  information management 

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