Consulting Lessons Learned No. 32: Call if urgent
Many new hires in management consulting are unsure about how to communicate with their clients and colleagues. You don’t want to get on other people’s nerves – especially not your client.
The problem: Consulting is quiet a dynamic workplace. You will need input from others very frequently and often urgently. Whether it’s the data set for your next analysis or some insights on how your client’s organization works.
What most new hires do? They just send out emails with their data or info requests. However, the problem with this approach is, that these emails will often stay unanswered for days if not weeks.
You need input? Here is the perfect approach:
Ideally, you want to discuss your info or data request quickly with your counterpart – in a meeting or via phone. Try to agree on a deadline by when you would like to receive the data. After your conversation, send an email summary with what has been agreed on.
If your counterpart doesn’t provide you with the data within the agreed time, call him or her if it’s urgent. Make sure to emphasize, that you had agreed on a certain deadline and you would need this data or info very urgently to continue with your work. Stay friendly and collaborative, but stand your ground. Obviously, if you don’t need the input super urgently, you can also send out a first friendly reminder via email.
Why calling? First, it underlines urgency and your counterpart won’t be able to evade so much from your request. Second, if your project manager or partner will ask on the status, you can always provide direct feedback on what your counterpart said. In these situations, you don’t want to say “well, I wrote him a friendly reminder, but didn’t got an answer so far”.
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