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Course Details

Course Number: 94-803

Consulting Communications

Units: 6

What's the key to being a good consultant? Crisp analyses? Unique insight? A facile mind that loves the challenging?

All those things are important, but none matter much if you can't effectively communicate with colleagues and, especially, with clients. Poor communication and other "soft skills" can derail a consulting engagement and with it, a promising consulting career. As an example, a Gartner Group study found that 80% of all IT projects were late, over budget, or failed completely because of poor communication at the outset.

Most MBA and other programs effectively cover the strategic and analytical parts of consulting; few focus on the highly personal relationships and communications that really form the foundation of a good consulting engagement and a great and lasting client relationship.

This course will help students interested in a consulting career get new skills, polish existing skills, and offer increased value to both the firms that hire them and the clients who rely on them.

Informed by conversations with members of the Heinz Consulting Club, conversations with alumni and others who are now practicing consultants, and by conversations with the clients who engage consulting firms, the curriculum for this course focuses on:
- Self-assessment: where can you be better?
- The "personal" part of consulting: your bearing and demeanor, your confidence, the "Brand Called You;"
- Being comfortable in your role with clients: how to connect, engage, converse, develop trust, and build relationships;
- Managing the engagement: scoping, requirements gathering, writing effective conference reports, conducting effective briefings;
- Managing information: leading effective meetings, creating and delivering presentations that matter, business assessments and brand reviews;
- Leading the engagement: leading leaders, becoming indispensable, staying on the radar after the engagement ends.

Course outcomes:
- You will have a better understanding of what consulting firms and their clients really look for in a consultant.
- You will have more and better developed skills in your consulting toolbox.

- You will be more confident in your ability to lead clients.

Chris Labash