How to Be More Efficient: A Consultant’s Confession

Last week I received a detailed, well-written email from a new client. She had laid out a series of questions for me about an upcoming workshop. I responded to each question within the body of her original email. That way, she would instantly know which question I was answering.

Then the client sent me another email with several more questions. I responded the same way. I was pleased that she was so efficient and thorough. After all, she had asked me a range of excellent questions:

  • Did I want to be introduced, or introduce myself?
  • Could she purchase an extra set of materials?
  • Would my content complement the organization’s style guide and graphics standards (which she had attached)?
  • Did I have an evaluation form, and if so, would I share with her the results of the evaluation?

THEN IT HIT ME.

Why was my new client doing all the work? Why hadn’t I prepared an easy-to-use checklist or list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) that would have given her virtually all the information she needed?

I confess: I had been inefficient. And my inefficiency was taking valuable time from my new client–just the person I wanted to treat with great care and superior service.

It’s never too late to learn. I’m working on my checklist. And I will have it ready to share with another new client in a couple of days. 

The purpose of this public confession is to help you think about ways in which you too may be inefficient. How would writing a job aid, checklist, or list of FAQs help you and your clients or coworkers? Why not write a clear set of instructions or a detailed procedure for someone? Get started on it. Be more efficient.

Note: To increase your efficiency as a writer–while helping your readers increase theirs, read our October newsletter, which focuses on productivity. The monthly newsletter, Better Writing at Work, is free.