Hiring a Consultant? How to Be an Even More Savvy Consumer

SourceTrain Your Board

 

Because there’s lots more to say (and learn) about this subject, here are five more tips you can use to build productive relationships with consultants.

1. If You Can’t Understand What Consultants are Saying, Don’t Hire Them

My profession, like many others, is filled with jargon. Much of it is incomprehensible, even to me — and I’ve been working in the field for twenty years.

Indeed, pretty much any reason you might hire a consultant – strategic planning, online marketing, facilitation, human resources, etc. – comes with its own lingo. Some areas, such as accounting and planned giving, are so thick with specialized jargon that a lay person can easily get lost.

A useful consultant helps you cut through the thicket, using clear, simple language.

As you’re interviewing, pay attention to what consultants say and how much you understand. Someone who talks past you or over your head – even if they sound really, really smart – won’t be a good fit.

2. Clarify Communications

Andi Kemp, a consultant at Upward Development, LLC, offers a few advisories.

If you’re the client, describe your communication preferences – email, texts, phone calls, etc. If you’re the consultant, try to honor those preferences. Because not everyone communicates the same way…

Identify multiple contacts within your organization who will engage with the consultant. As Andi wrote, “When a primary and secondary contact person is identified…then it’s not all on one person to communicate with me and be accountable. The process is more transparent for staff and board members.”

 

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