Research tips: Consultancy skills
This post is a collection of tips I got from the doctoral training (RSSDP) on “Consultancy Skills” by Dr Caron King at Cardiff University.
- Consultancy = professional practices that give an expert advise to the company, a problem solving work.
- Begin with the end in mind (2nd of 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen R. Covey)
- Outcome thinking, what do you have to get done in the end.
– Consultancy is about recognising what your clients really want for you because they are paying for your what you are doing.
– Knowing what it is that the clients want and satisfy then.
– Moreover to sustain the job, your jobs have to be good value for money
- The hardest part is how to sell your jobs. Then delivering a good value jobs will increase the chance that client will hire you again.
- Dedicated time = 5:4:3 (5 days fearing, 4 days with clients, 3 nights away from home)
- Start by working with the big companies for 3-4 years to learn how to do it.
Why a would anyone hire a consultant?
- Temporal resources. GBP 36,000 is the average cost of recruiting a doctoral level employee.
- Someone to blame - troublesome jobs
- My time is too valuable – too busy for the day jobs, need someone to work for
- Specialist knowledge – problem solving
- For access to their network
- Branding – kudos
- Legitimise their projects – get endorsed or forced by laws
- To manage something unpopular
- Ratify decisions – In the most cases clients know the solutions/answers but hiring consultant to support/back up their decision. Therefore, consultants are like the voices/spokespersons
How to get a consultancy jobs
- Identify the problem
- Clarify the problem
- Collect data
- Analyse the data
- Solve the problem
- Suggest the solution
- Agree the solution
- Implement the solution
What are the skills, knowledge and attributes we need
- Communication skills e.g., presentation skills
- Project management skills
- Analytical skills, both qualitative and quantitative = data analysis
- Research skills e.g., collect data, analyse data, conclude the result
The skills that recruit consultants (used by consultancy firms)
(The following listed skills are perfect for researchers as well!)
- Flexibility + Adaptability
- Problem solving
- Self awareness
- Commitment / Motivation
- Willingness to learn
- G.S.O.H. (Good Sense of Humour)
(Open your mind, Listen for empathy, just gather data no interpreting or thinking at the same time)
Repetitive listening – repeat what you are hearing in your head as simultaneous as possible to get rid of other things.
If taking notes, tell the clients that you will do a few, ask them to send you important information and write the whole note after the meeting.
Three big questions
- Asking the questions that allow opened thinking
- Rapport building
- to build trustworthy relationships
- Critical information seeking
- Challenging Assumption
- Pitching, elevating lift (in 90 seconds)
- Hook -> emotion
- Outline the problem in a short time!
- Call To action