Well, I’m back from LuAnn Nigara Live! It was an epic weekend and if, you saw any pics or videos posted on social media about it, you saw how packed the place was. It was around 200 designers, coaches, and sponsors, all sharing their knowledge and expertise with one another. Sharing what they know best, to help designers really take their firm to the next level. From the likes of Corey Damen Jenkins, Sandra Funk of House of Funk, and Kate O’Hare of Martha O’Hare Interiors to the business expertise of Claire Jefford, Nancy Ganzekaufer, and Michelle Williams, there was brilliance and expertise all around.
It was also a time for me to make some amazing connections, and open up some incredible future opportunities. So stay tuned for those! But not only did I have a great time sharing with everyone what I did, but I couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming group of people. So thank you so much to all of you for your kindness and care when you asked if I needed to sit, eat, or drink as those were some long days at that table. But it was so worth it, and I so appreciate your kindness!
It really was an amazing time, and if you weren’t able to make it this year, I hear there are already plans for another one next year! So start scheduling for that now!
Turbulence is Terrifying
Now, what are we talking about in this week’s blog post? Turbulence. Both real, and metaphorical. Because turbulence is always possible. And we need to know how to deal with it.
While I was on my way to Newark for LuAnn’s big event this weekend, there was quite a bit of turbulence. And on the way back there was some SERIOUS, up and down, can’t quite find your stomach for a couple minutes turbulence. But none of them come even close to the turbulence I experienced a few years ago.
Years ago while traveling back from China with my family, I experienced an epic, never to be forgotten kind of turbulence. It was the kind of turbulence that had an entire flight of hundreds of people silent, gripping on to their seats for dear life with one hand, and holding the hand of the person next to them with the other hand, because you don’t know what’s coming next, for over an hour. We were up and down, making huge drops in a split second, and the overhead bins were popping open and dropping luggage out. It was terrifying. And I’m not one to fear flights.
Lead Your Clients into the Calm
But what made it all worse? What made it all so SO much worse? No one said a word for the entire hour. Not a single word from the pilot, co-pilot, or even flight attendants. It was just, silence.
And the silence was truly deafening. It forced us as captive passengers to come to our own terrifying conclusions of what our reality might become. Through speculation. Through panic. Through fear.
But what could have been done? What should have been done? To make this situation less petrifying for hundreds and hundreds of people? The leaders should have led. The pilots. The attendants. They needed to lead us. They needed to tell us what was going on. They needed to tell us what to do. They needed to tell us how we should feel.
Clients are Just Waiting for You to Lead Them
And the same goes with your design clients. When something in your design project goes so epically wrong, that panic sets in, both for you and the client, don’t let your own silence set in. Don’t let your mind become so focused on fixing the problem, that you forget about your clients. That you forget to tell your clients that you know that this is scary, but it is something that you can handle. That although they may feel panicked, this situation can be resolved and righted. Because that’s what they want to hear. That’s what they need to hear. They need you to acknowledge how they’re feeling, then remind them that you’re there to take control.
And although I know it sometimes feels like clients don’t see you as the leader, or maybe you don’t always even see yourself as the leader. You are. And the vast majority of your clients want it that way. They want you to lead because they don’t know what to do. That’s why they hired you. To lead the project.
So remember that in times of disaster and emergency, clients are waiting to hear from you. They’re waiting to hear that you’re still in control. They’re waiting to hear that you have a plan. They’re waiting to hear how panicked they should be. Or what they should be feeling. They want to be led. And they’re waiting for you to lead them.
No matter how panicked you feel when everything hits the fan, you have a real opportunity. To truly emerge as leader. To give your clients peace of mind that although disaster has struck, you are still in control. You may not be fully aware of how to resolve the problem at the moment disaster strikes, but you can stay calm enough to tell them It’s ok, I’ve got this. I’m the lead on this project. Because you’re prepared. You have emergency situation standards and procedures written down, worst case scenarios drawn out and resolutions listed, and the knowledge that you are capable of handling whatever comes your way. You know you’re the leader, so you’ve prepared to be a leader. In good times and bad.
If you’d like even more ideas on how to provide the kind of client service that gets you higher fees and profits, visit the Client Service Consultation page to find out more!