How to Run a Successful Client Call

A vital part of any project is keeping in touch with the client. The stakeholders want to know what’s going on with their requests, and you are the one responsible for that. So plan on setting up a weekly call to check in and provide a status update throughout the life of the project.

Make it purposeful and productive

Do not let your weekly call be a placeholder event. Passivity is not your friend. Instead, have a goal and drive it forward. Add value to your client interactions by showing the kinetic energy of your project.

In short, have a point to the call. State it and then do it.

Just because you (or your colleagues) have closed the business doesn’t mean you’re done selling. Sell every part of the project experience by generating excitement. Position your project as a living thing that everyone should care about and foster.

Stay on track

Before any client call, I always type out (in a .txt doc) some high-level notes for what I want to cover. It’s not a script; it’s a checklist to ensure I cover everything that needs covering. It also makes sure that I rein in any digression to stay within the allotted call timebox. Conversation steering can feel natural when done well, so use your notes as a 30,000 ft guide.

As the call continues, I add my notes to this doc in staccato references. Once the call is over, I flesh out my notes for posterity and save (on Google Drive) for future reference/sharing with my team at-large.

You are the emcee

A client call is your stage show, and you should be looking for audience participation. But in the end, you’re the emcee of this event, so keep things moving and focused. A project manager is one part organizer and one part showman (show-woman? show-person?), keeping excitement for (and faith in) the project at 11.

Humans care more about things they buy into, so use that to your advantage. Don’t run client calls in a milquetoast manner. You can be factual AND engaging at the same time. This should be your goal for all client interactions.

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