Effective communication is relevant to the growth and success of a business and, for a freelancer, it is vital in growing your client base. It is the ground-work for building lasting and meaningful relationships. Since freelancing means dealing with people remotely, communication skills are vital.
Even after getting hired, being an efficient communicator will go a long way in determining whether you are paid well. It helps you pass across your information in a way that convinces your clients of your worth, which translates into a massive payday for you. Here are 10 effective tips to make your communication skills better.
1. Establish a Preferred Method of Communication
As a freelancer, this is the first thing you must do to communicate effectively. You have to set up the most convenient way to get in touch with those you are doing business with. No two clients are the same so what works for one might not work for another. Consider what works best for different individuals and go with it.
2. Listen to Your Clients
After establishing the best way to communicate, the next is to up your listening skills. Often people hear passively without paying attention and miss out important details. The latter becomes a problem when you fail to meet a vital requirement of your client, which will be perceived as a deficiency in your listening ability.
Whether you are communicating via voice calls, video conferencing, or email, pay rapt attention. For videos, or in a rare case of a one-on-one meeting, your body language may say more about you than your words. Project a positive attitude and a positive body language by maintaining eye contact and ensure you have zero distractions to show your client that they have your full attention.
3. Have the Right Body language
If your communication mode is video calls, your body language must pass the information that you are accessible and knowledgeable. It should show that there’s no other place you’d rather be than where you are, listening and discussing business.
Having a positive body language also applies when you meet in person. Chances are, you might not get to meet the client again and subsequent communications will be done remotely. So, ensure your body language is not sending the wrong signals. Repeat clients mean a steady stream of income and referrals, which equals a higher pay.
4. Avoid Errors
If you want to be taken seriously and you want your clients to believe you are worth every penny they pay for your work, then errors must be a no-no.
When you are communicating by text or email, ensure your words are spelled correctly and sentences correctly punctuated. That is, use spelling and grammar check before you hit “send”.
5. Be Straightforward
There’s a famous saying that, “Time is money,” so, always have a direct approach to communication. No one will take you seriously if you beat around the bush. Use clear and unambiguous words. Be professional at all times.
6. Take Notes
When communicating, you must take down notes even if you have a photographic memory. It is vital when you are having video calls or one-on-one meetings as it shows your client that you take their business seriously and you do not want to miss any information.
7. Think First, Talk Second
People often make errors because they are in a hurry to speak. They rush into a conversation without analyzing their words and it leads to blunders. This sends the message that you don’t value the other person’s opinion. Make sure the words you say are fitting for the business at hand and you do not interrupt your client’s word flow.
8. Keep the Communication Channels Open
Being reachable when your client needs you is a sure way to keep communication flowing. As a freelancer, you might have clients outside your time zone so ensure both of you agree on the best time to communicate and then be available during that time.
9. Use Emotions
Whether you are texting or having a video conference, you should be able to read the emotions behind the words. A positive feeling means you can push to get higher pay, while a negative one, will let you know when to back off.
10. Smile and Have a Positive Attitude
Smiling during communication is a useful tool. It makes you look accessible and send the message that your client can tell you anything. Combined with a positive attitude, your client sees you as a go-getter and a problem solver. Having a positive attitude exudes in your body language. You can convince your client that paying your high rate is justified.
The tips discussed goes a long way in helping you land your client and improving your pay as a freelancer. However, effective communication skills will only get you through the door. Your work should also be impressive and that’s what will ensure your clients keep coming back.