Advice to New Consultants: How to Listen

I was in a meeting recently with a new client and remembered some advice Alan Cooper gave me years ago. I had just started working for him, and was new to design and new to consulting. We had just come from a first meeting with a client, and I was bubbling over with ideas. Here’s what he told me: (Forgive the paraphrase here; this was years ago.)
In your first meeting with every client, you’re going to have a moment where you instantly see the solution to the client’s problem. Don’t say anything! Write it down in your notebook. Circle it. Mark it with a special symbol. This way, you won’t be worried about losing your idea. Then forget about it. Once you’ve been working with the client for a while, go back and look at what you wrote. 99 times out of 100, you will find you were wrong. And you’ll be glad you kept your mouth shut.
It was good advice, and i’ve followed it ever since. And I’m still waiting for that 1 out of 100.


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