Communication skills in the freelancing business don’t just mean that you are proficient in spoken or written English. Having good communication skills means how well you talk to the client overall and how well you are able to understand him. It also includes how you prepare your freelancing job proposal and how you converse during the interview.
Any freelancer’s success or failure depends upon how knowledgeable and skillful he is, and the most important skill in freelancing is having good communication ability. Along with the knowledge of how to talk to someone according to the time, situation, and environment.
In the day to day activities of our life, we often don’t pay enough attention to how our way of talking makes a difference. We speak whatever comes to mind without much thought and choose our words casually. The result of this is that we often end up saying things that may hurt the other person and create a rift in our relations. With a client, this could be the end of a deal.
Whenever we talk to a client online, our aim should be to talk to him properly so that our relationship with the client grows stronger. When your relationship is solid then the client will give you preference over other freelancers. Honesty and politeness in your speech make the client trust you and he will like working with you.
Now let’s try to understand in detail how to improve your communication skills so that you do not face any difficulty while talking to online clients and there is no misunderstanding:-
Listen, understand, and then respond
Only a good listener can be a good speaker. When a person starts speaking at length without listening, thinking, and understanding what the other person has to say, it creates problems for the other person about how to handle him. So keep in mind the following points while conversing with someone:-
1. When you are going through the Job description posted by a client, make sure you read it very carefully and try to understand what the client wants to say, what he wants to know, what his requirements are, and what type of freelancer he is searching for. In other words, familiarise yourself with his way of thinking by looking at his job description and then decide how you are going to write your Job proposal. If you try to hurry while reading the description, you might miss out on important points or misunderstand what the client wants to say. As a result, you will end up sending the wrong information and proposal to the client. Even if you do send it in an okay manner in a hurry, you will only succeed in getting a project once or twice maybe this way, a fluke as we like to call it. If you want to be a good freelancer then you will have to pay attention to the details and be careful about what you say to the clients. Don’t take anything lightly. So you should try to imagine what is going on in the mind of the client who is posting a job description.
2. During the interview or while discussing the project outline, try to understand the client’s questions carefully, and give the correct answers. If he asks a short question then give him a short answer but ensure that you explain everything clearly. Whether it is a text chat or a video chat, you should just focus on the client’s questions and answer using simple words but you can also use diagrams, charts, and images, etc. if required for an explanation.
3. When you thoroughly understand the client’s project and begin working on it, then you should keep discussing the project with him at regular intervals. Report to him all possible details about the progress of the project. Let him know what tasks you are doing at that time and what tasks you have completed so far.
4. Usually, when you finish a project for a client and get paid for it, he will get disconnected from you and won’t chat on skype because the project you were assigned is now complete. But in case you find anything interesting such as an update or useful information regarding the project, get in touch with the client, and let him know about it and how it can benefit him. In half the cases where you do this, the client will say a simple thank you and move on but this will leave a positive impression in his mind about your commitment and loyalty towards his project. This will build a good working relationship between you and the client and he might even ask you to implement the updates you shared with him about the last project. Another benefit of this is that he might choose you for his next project because of your sincerity. But do this in a limited way, don’t bother him unnecessarily if he is not interested as he might get annoyed and think you are trying to impress him too much.
5. Sometimes the client may become unresponsive after conducting the interview and you are left wondering for days or weeks if you are selected for the project or not. Do not get anxious if this happens because at times the client may be busy with other more important work on his own. Or he may be still taking interviews for the same project and this may be taking the time. So be patient while waiting for his reply and if you really need to know, ask him after a week or so and present your proposal again if it needs changes to suit his demands.
6. Thus it is crucial that you remain connected with the client through proper communication. He should get convinced that you are the best person for the job by seeing your honesty and commitment. Your conversations and behavior should be respectable, polite and your impression of him should be that of a hardworking and trustworthy freelancer. If you do this then the relationship forged with him in a short time will last for a long time.
Another helpful post: Ways to communicate with clients as a freelancer to get more work
Different methods you can follow to improve communication skills.
1. The most effective way of improving your communication skills is to read more and write more. Write your thoughts and ask someone to check them for grammar mistakes etc. When you sit down to write about your feelings, skills, etc., and practice this regularly then your mind will get uncluttered from pointless things, data, and information and you will gain clarity in your way of talking and writing.
2. The second method of improving your communication skills is to share with others what you know. Share your knowledge and skills with people who are interesting in learning from you. Noticing their expressions and responses while you are telling them something will give you an indication of whether you are going right or wrong.
3. The third method is to watch interviews with skilled and successful people on television or YouTube. It does not matter if they are technical or non-technical, just observe what kind of questions are being asked and how is the person responding to them with clarity and fluency.
4. The fourth way of improving your communication skills is to use the learning resources available on the internet. Search for tutorials/videos on YouTube about how to improve communication skills, how to improve writing and speaking proficiency etc. You can also visit our website klientsolutech.com/freelancing consistently, which has a good database of such helpful topics and tutorials.
5. The fifth method that really helps, with communication skills is meditation. When you meditate it soothes your mind and gives it concentrating power which in turn increases your ability to focus on what the other person is saying and how you should answer him. A peaceful mind gives you clarity of thought and produces bright ideas that will improve the way you talk with your clients.
6. The sixth method of improving your communication skills is to talk and spend time in the company of learned and educated people. Notice how they talk and what makes their communication skills impressive. When you converse with such people who have more experience and knowledge, you will also soak up some of their mannerisms and add more words to your vocabulary. You will be careful about what you say in front of them because you will be aware that they have great communication skills and they expect the same from others. I want to tell you that such a situation often arises when you are giving an interview. The client will most likely have ample knowledge about his field so you should listen to him carefully and only speak what is important. There is a difference between having a conversation at home and having a professional conversation, especially in public. So I would recommend that you start spending time with educated people who have good communication skills, it will definitely bring a positive change in not just your personality and behavior but also in your communication skills.
7. Last but not least. Another method is to talk to yourself when you are alone. Try to imagine that you are having a conversation with another person and your image is talking to you. When you are talking to your image, observe your breathing pattern. I mean to say talk with ease, be at peace and imagine what you would say if you were talking to a client. Understand what he might be trying to say and then reach a conclusion.
8. There are several other methods too but the most important thing is to learn that you have to write your job proposal in a specific way, you have to convince the client and talk to him often about the project related details. So it is better if you prepare yourself this way in advance such that you don’t face any hurdle in becoming a successful freelancer. It is crucial for you to realize that having good communication skills is the most important tool for a freelancer, so why not improve it? Why not learn more about the English language or any other language that matters to you, if it can help you get more clients?
Apart from this, your communication is also affected by the amount of confidence you have in your skills and knowledge. So keep practicing as much as you can to improve your skills and gain more knowledge. Working on your personal development will give you confidence and your confidence will improve your communication skills.
You can also learn how to talk fluently about your field by reading books, watching informative videos, and using all other possible sources of learning. You can learn how to impress people and convince them in your favor. All that is required is a firm decision that you will transform your weaknesses into strengths.