Secret 6 be a good guest

We have all had houseguests from hell. Perhaps they overstayed their welcome, were loud, ate the last of the cookies, broke your favorite chair, or were just ungrateful. You probably couldn't wait for them to leave.

Consultants are frequently houseguests of their clients. They usually need workspace, administrative assistance, access to the client's building and, of course, gallons of coffee. Like any guest, they can be a joy to have around or they can be like the mother-in-law who commandeered the bathroom and refused to go home.

One client recalled that a consultant approached her in the parking lot early one morning and asked, "How can you stand to come to work every day in a company as screwed up as this?" The oblivious consultant had no idea he was addressing the company's CEO. Such tactless comments will wipe out any goodwill you have earned with the client, so watch what you say.

You will forge stronger client relationships by being a gracious guest than by exceeding client expectations on a project. Clients will

Guerrilla Intelligence: Ten Traits of a Model Client Guest

1. Mesh smoothly and quickly with the client's staff.

2. When arguments erupt, bring the discussion back to civility.

3. Avoid springing bad news on the client about project delays or budget overruns.

4. When a project succeeds, make the client's staff look good, not the consultant's.

5. Treat every meeting with the client as if it were the first meeting.

6. Always be accessible when the client needs you, even if it is inconvenient for you.

7. Always thank clients—for the use of their facilities, their cooperation, and especially for their business.

8. When at a client's site, focus exclusively on that client's work. Few things aggravate clients more than consultants who conduct other client business while in their "house."

9. Don't appear too eager to get that next assignment from a client.

10. Don't overstay your welcome. Do a great job and go home.

dump arrogant consultants, no matter how well they perform. They will stick with firms that do the job and are easy to live with. Being a good guest requires more than just washing out your own coffee cup, but that's not a bad start.

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