Summary: Increasing trends in customer-client relationships show that simple soft skills like finding and applying relevant information can carry a world of difference. If you are looking to retain a client, this is one skill you should take note of. In this article, you will learn how to search, find and apply relevant information that transforms the result you deliver to your clients.
With so many businesses jostling for ‘storefront’ spaces on search engine homepages, searching for the relevant and correct information to use for your job can become very difficult. The more we know, the more we are aware of our deficiency. As a creative, every brief or new task a client brings introduces a new perspective for you to explore.
It doesn’t matter if you exist in their space or if you have existing knowledge. You have to deliver your job with the required field depth, language and illustration as the needs demand. Mastering the use of the internet to find information and delivering your task is a non-negotiable skill, with the awareness that under-delivering not only ruins your current relationship and possible any recommendation bonus.
So how do you cut through the fluff and find the information most relevant to the idea you are trying to explore? Here is a step by step process for delivering on a new task you previously know nothing about.
Before You Start Your Search
Understanding The Job: Understanding comes before interpreting, and sometimes you can be asked to do a job where the skill you are most qualified with is not the only skill needed to deliver the job. Understanding means that you ask as many questions as you are permitted to ask, and draw on your previous knowledge to extract clarity from the person who is employing you. A fair idea of the concept is necessary as the client will expect that you will do some research to deliver on the task that has been assigned to you. Ask as many questions as possible, not questions that give you away as a novice but questions that helps your client clarify what they want you to do.
When that is done, and you have the information, you can decide your charge, if you are the one negotiating the deal and mentally prepare for what next to do.
Interpretation: interpretation means breaking down the brief into individual parts and identifying the skills necessary to deliver those tasks. Interpretation means that you understand what is required of every individual skill. It also means that you can communicate the task in clear terms.
In this particular scenario, you become something of a project manager, and it becomes your responsibility to review the work after it is done to make sure it corroborates with the necessary specification.
Conceptual Understanding: Every brief comes with a different set of concepts. Understanding these concepts is the first step to understanding what you need to do. Here, you are gauging the amount of work you are expected to do. The professional depth of the job also comes into question. While this may not look like so much work, failure to understand the concepts involved in the work will set you back. Remember that it is better to start a work from scratch than to attempt to rectify a badly written, designed or executed work. The reason is simple. The first work you deliver creates a landmark and a baseline. If it’s not great, the recipient might assume that your ceiling for improvement is low, no matter how much you try afterwards. While this might not always be the case, you need to guard against poorly delivered first drafts, if that is the procedure you decide to use.
Conceptual understanding can get very tricky. Even if you have been in the field for a very long time, the field can be so vast that you need a brush-up. Other times, it might be an aspect of the field that you haven’t visited in a while. If this is the case, a lot might have happened in such a short time. You can’t take anything for granted.
Say, for example, you are a designer who has been asked to do a cultural design, or you are asked to use a specific piece of art. You’d notice that while you have the required skill, you don’t have the required knowledge. If you don’t understand all the concepts or at least the major concept that are required for you to deliver an appropriate result. No matter how much you imply yourself, there’ll still be something missing.
Searching For Information
Search and Verify: Searching for information is an underrated skill. The reason is simple. When looking for random items, simply logging a query into a search engine home page might give you the needed answer, but when delivering high-value content is involved, sitting on the home page of a search result won’t do you any good. While searching for information online, delving deeper and moving beyond a blog post and opinion articles are necessary. Some of the things to consider while searching includes: the name of the author, the author’s authority, research-based works, ebooks and articles that delve deeper into the subject matter with a clear understanding. Some files might be restricted and require you to pay. As a professional, paying for information should not raise an eyebrow. You may or may not include the cost of retrieving the information in the final charge for the client.
Another thing you should consider is if there are specific sources or examples that the client has given you. When we get samples from clients on what they think their work should look like, do not be in a hurry to discard the samples they have given because you feel you have something better.
The samples or examples can be used as a guide. Try as much as possible to stick to the structural development in the sample that they have provided. You should only experiment beyond the sample only if you have confirmed that they are okay with it or you are double sure that what you are doing is what they require.
There are different ways to search for information and various information repositories are available for industry-based research. You should be familiar with these repositories when doing your work. Remember, you look for a colander in the kitchen, not a sitting room.
Digest: Most of the time, the information you are searching for will come in bits and pieces. Your job is to digest all this information and logically arrange them for you to make proper sense of it. Create appropriate order and arrange the information appropriately. If your final product is information-based, then you have to arrange and present it in a way your client will accept. On the other hand, if it is information that guides you towards the production of a specific kind of art or craft, you need to file away such information after arranging them so that you can always return to it for reference.
Synthesize: After digesting, the next few steps are pretty straightforward. With a good grasp of the task under your belt, you can proceed to create or synthesize what your client requires. All the steps above will generate certain confidence in you as you approach your task.
Validate and Correct: Just in case you do have any doubt, you can always ask an expert around you to look at what you have done and suggest the areas you should revisit or redraft. This is to make sure that your work is up to a required standard. With that, you are finally ready to present your work. Make sure to go over the entire work, if there are bits that required skills you did not have.
Deliver Mind-blowing Creative Result: Finally, you do have to present your work. Remember that no matter how good your job is, if you don’t deliver on time, you’ve wasted at least 50% of the efforts you have put in. There is not substituting quality for time. If at any point in your job you feel the deadline is too close, you can talk to your client. Ask for an extension, long before the deadline is due. Do not wait until few moments before the original deadline to request extra time. It will only cast you as an unserious video.
The ability to find and apply relevant information at the right time can be the difference between you and the next person who offers a similar creative skill as you do. This skill allows you to demonstrate your resourcefulness and capability beyond what is expected from your average skill, giving you an edge.