Communication design issues can be found in any business across every industry. Hiring a consultant can be a great idea for businesses pursuing a communication design project, whether the issue is related to your team’s capacity, the need for additional expertise, or the need for a new perspective on a communication challenge.
Once you find the perfect match to crush your communication design project, it can be tempting to sit back, let go of the reins, and hope that the consultant will arrive at the perfect solution with little or no help from you.
Unfortunately, that can be a recipe for disaster. Design is a collaborative process, and your consultant needs your help to ensure a successful outcome for your business.
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So, here are seven simple ways to get the most out of your communication design project consultant. They’ll help you get the project done right, and make you look like the rock star you are.
1) Assign a project leader.
This may sound simple, but having an agreed-upon line of communication with your consultant keeps your project on track. The project leader can also help define the team’s roles, especially if you have business and technical leads joining the project. Though the project leader doesn’t need to be involved in every conversation or meeting, it is essential for him or her to stay engaged at all major touch points.
2) Assemble the right team.
Getting the right people to the table at the right time is critical. Allow your communication design project team to flex as project demands require. Have a core team of decision makers and supplement with subject matter contributors as needed.
3) Check your assumptions.
You understand your message, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your audience will. That’s why you need a communications design firm in the first place. So be open to having your assumptions, like audience profiles and customer needs, challenged. Whenever possible, work with your design team to use research-based inputs to tighten your assumptions.
4) Be realistic in your expectations.
Doing more with less is the mantra of business today, but there can be times when going faster puts your project at risk. So, put your project on the path to success by listening to what your consultant recommends, specifically when it comes to development time. Be sure to give yourself adequate time, especially for internal reviews.
5) Allow for proper socialization.
Bringing the right people along during the process can make or break a project. Be transparent and share your work both up and down your organization to gain alignment and avoid last minute surprises or objections.
6) Get the right source.
Always provide a little more information than you think is needed for consultants to get the full story. Context is important to both your communications design consultant and your audience. Let your consultant filter out the extraneous.
7) Consolidate feedback.
Have a gatekeeper for feedback and share it one-on-one with your consultant. Divergent feedback can confuse your message and the consultant and lead to longer project times or less than stellar outcomes.
Using these simple yet crucial steps will help you and your consultant create communication pieces that will bring clarity and understanding to your message, while also keeping the budget and schedule on-track.
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