As a freelancer, you may work with clients who are not very good at communicating their needs. In this case, you need to make sure you have clear communication with your client to ensure that the project runs smoothly and on time.
To communicate clearly
- Check-in with your client frequently (in person, over the phone) to make sure they know what you're working on, how much progress has been made up to that point, and what your next steps are. Besides, this will help to ensure that they understand what you're saying and that you're on the same page about deadlines and expectations for the project.
- If a client doesn't respond well to this kind of communication, consider using an online project management tool like Trello or Asana. These tools can help keep everyone on track and provide a clear history of completed tasks and milestones reached.
- Be detailed and specific when you communicate with your client.
- When sending over documents or files for review, make sure that they are easy to read and easy to understand by using clear language and not assuming too much about what the other person knows from their background knowledge of the subject matter at hand.
To understand what the client wants from you clearly
- When you first start working with a new client, ask them what they are looking for. This can be done by asking questions like “What do you hope to get out of our collaboration?” or “How are you currently using content in your business?”
- Once you have an idea of what your client is looking for, ask them if there is anything specific they want to write about as well as any topics or themes that may be relevant in their industry or niche market area.
- If there is still confusion about what exactly it is that your client wants from the project, explain how the process works and let them know that the best way to ensure success is by being clear on what type of information they would like included.
To avoid misunderstanding
- Try asking them to explain in detail what they want or need from you so that there is no misunderstanding. You can also ask them questions like "Can you give me an example?" or "What do you mean by XYZ?"
- If you feel that something is being left out of the conversation and it's causing a problem, ask them directly if there's anything else that needs to be clarified before moving forward on the project.
- If you feel like something critical has been left out of this conversation, don't hesitate to contact them again after some time has passed (such as a day or two). The client may have forgotten about something important and wanted it included in the final product without realizing it wasn't mentioned previously!
To handle misunderstandings in the middle of the work
If you realize that you misunderstood what the client wanted after starting the job, there are some things you can do to remedy the situation.
- First, it's important to apologize to the client. This will show them that you take responsibility for your mistake and are working hard to fix it.
- Second, talk with them about what they need instead of just doing what they asked for in their original request. If they didn't give enough information in their first request, ask them more questions so that you can better understand what they want out of their end product.
- Third, ask them if there is anything else that would help clarify their needs for this project—for example: "Do you have any examples or other resources that would help me get a better idea of what you're looking for?" This will allow both parties to be on the same page throughout this process.
Client: Hi! I really need a new logo for my business.
Freelancer: Great! So what are you looking for in a logo?
Client: I want something that represents our company as a whole, but also portrays the values of our brand. I have some examples of what we think fits those criteria here.
Freelancer: Got it. Can you give me an example? Can you tell me more about what makes those logos "representative"?
Client: Oh yeah, sure! Well, this one has a lot of green in it, which is the color of our brand. And the font is modern and sleek—we want to project that kind of feel with our company.
Client: Hey, I just wanted to check in on the project.
Freelancer: Hi! I'm glad you reached out. I just sent over a full update that includes everything we discussed.
Client: Great! The document looks good, but there is a little bit of confusion around your last point about [insert topic here]. Can you go over it again?
Freelancer: Sure! Basically, we talked about how you want to [insert topic here] and I think that's a great idea. It will really help with the SEO ranking of your website, which is going to be really important for the future of your business.
Client: I'm looking for a graphic designer who can help me create a logo for my new company.
Freelancer: Great! I have over 10 years of experience designing logos and can make sure your logo is eye-catching and professional at the same time. What kind of style are you looking for?
Client: I want something that will be easily recognizable, but also modern and fun.
Freelancer: Okay, let's start with some ideas then. What does "modern" mean to you? Are there any colors or fonts that come to mind when you think about "modern"?
Client: Hey, I know we just started working on this project together, but there's something I want to talk to you about.
Freelancer: Of course! What's up?
Client: Well, when we were discussing the project and what I wanted out of it, you said that you could do it. But now that we've been working together for a few weeks, I'm seeing that you're not really following through with what I asked for in the beginning.
Freelancer: Oh...I'm so sorry! I didn't realize that's what you wanted from me. Can we go back and talk about this again?
Client: Yeah, sure. Why don't we set up a meeting next week?