Important Skills a Consultant Should Have
- July 23, 2022
- Posted by: Scale My Hustle
- Category: Uncategorized
There’s a general idea that a consultant’s job is to walk into an office, listen to their problems, give brilliant solutions and then get paid heavily. While this might be true to a certain extent, there are a lot of important skills that make this look possible. However, before we discuss these skills, we need to understand the exact reasons a business will hire a consultant.
As a business, hiring a consultant, according to BusinessNewsDaily, can help businesses improve performance and make the necessary changes to achieve success. Business consultants assist companies in overcoming obstacles, increasing revenue, and expanding. Business owners understand the importance of working with business consultants, which makes consulting extremely profitable.
It is why the consulting industry boasts of high achievers from prestigious universities with stellar academic records and diverse work experience. Asides these, many top consultants have the right skill sets. Having the right skill set as a consultant is very powerful and has the ability to open up many doors for you.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started a consulting job or are thinking about making it a career. This blog post discusses the important skills to help you go from being a good consultant to an excellent one.
What Makes A Great Consultant?
Consultants are well-known for their extensive knowledge. They understand their industry inside and out. What makes them stand out is that they can also share and apply this industry knowledge. A great consultant is one with great listening skills and can analyse information.
A consultant generally takes information, refines it, puts it in context with other issues, and communicates solutions in a way that resonates with the client. They can also take charge, drive the conversation forward, and work together with the client to solve problems.
Being a consultant is such a huge task compared to what others might imagine. Below we are highlighting five important skills that you need to be a consultant.
Five (5) Skills A Consultant Must Have.
Firms seek a combination of demonstrable competencies and consulting abilities. Reinforce your core expertise while dealing with clients and running your consulting business with these skills:
Organisational and time management skills.
Organisational skills are the abilities that allow you to focus on multiple tasks while also using your energy, strength, mental capacity, physical space effectively and efficiently.
Clients are constantly evaluating consultants based on how organised they are and how well they manage time.
Their time is valuable, and they expect you to respect it. You want to demonstrate respect by being brief and efficient, working ahead of time with people to prepare an agenda, and having all of your presentations readily available and easily accessible. These will help you feel more in command and confident.
You don’t want to rely entirely on your memory because it can only hold so much information. Use note-taking software such as Asana.
Attention to detail.
This is such an important skill in consulting because producing error-free deliverables demonstrates that you’re thorough and your recommendations are solid. Making sure your work is free of grammar, spelling, and calculation errors is critical because it reflects on your entire team.
Some people are blessed with a natural attention to detail. However, if you are more of a big picture thinker, there are a few tricks you can learn to help you develop this important skill.
First, when it comes to maths, show your work. It ensures you’ve considered everything and allows you to show your manager the steps you took to arrive at your answer (and find any errors before it reaches the client).
The second step is to make a list of everything that needs to be double-checked before submitting anything. For instance, you should have a check-off list that includes items such as adding page numbers to every slide, recalculating all numbers, and ensuring that a consistent font is used throughout.
Problem solving skills.
Problem-solving abilities enable you to resolve issues quickly and effectively. It is one of the key skills that business owners look for in a consultant, as consultants with these skills are more trustworthy. Problem-solving abilities necessitate quickly identifying the root cause and implementing a solution.
Consultation, depending on the type of consultant, frequently involves problem solving ranging from employee conflict resolution to the creation of a business plan for the self-employed to the analysis of the company’s accounting practices. And these issues could be presented without sufficient prior knowledge. As a result, your ability to listen carefully to concerns and respond quickly and thoughtfully to propose solutions may be among the most valuable skills you can have.
Improve your problem-solving abilities by reading and studying extensively in order to comprehend various situations and gain new perspectives. There is no quick fix for becoming an effective problem solver. It is by resolving various problems. The more frequent and more challenging the problems you solve, the better you will become and the more valuable you will be as a consultant.
Objectivity and independence.
Clients require more than just your skills and knowledge. They require an unbiased and objective assessment of their situation. You want to maintain your independence and sincerity. It is your responsibility to tell them the truth, even if it is an uncomfortable truth; what matters most is that you provide your clients with the best solution to their problems.
Working with a company that, despite knowing they should, does not put enough effort in record-keeping is one example; because it can be so time-consuming, they have been doing it inefficiently. You observed their activities and concluded that this is the source of the problem. Expect a pushback because they would not want to admit it but you must notify them of the situation.
The option your clients would choose for themselves isn’t always the best option for them. By engaging in constructive conflict, you force your clients to think in new ways and achieve the results they want.
You now have a solution. By being articulate, you can ensure that the team fully understands you. Communication must be clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous, according to the Seven C’s. It is critical to be clear and audible when speaking. Adjusting your speaking voice to be heard in a variety of settings is a skill that is essential for effective communication. In some situations, speaking too loudly may be considered disrespectful or awkward. If you’re unsure, observe how others communicate in the room.
Use as few words as possible to convey your message. Avoid filler words and get right to the point. Rambling will cause the team to tune out or become confused. Avoid speaking excessively and do not use words that may confuse your client.
It is also necessary to have empathy. Empathy entails not only understanding but also sharing in the emotions of others. For example, if someone expresses anger or frustration, empathy can help you acknowledge and diffuse their emotion rather than simply speaking facts, which would almost certainly have no effect due to their emotional state. At the same time, understanding when someone is feeling upbeat and enthusiastic can help you gain acceptance of your ideas and suggestions more easily.
You can show empathy by your willingness to hear how the problem is affecting them personally, not only financially or in terms of production.
It is worth noting that a large number of consulting firms are now eliminating entry requirements. They now focus on individual behaviours and skills rather than traditional academic qualifications. Hence, if your goal is to succeed in management consulting, we recommend that you improve not only your training and work history but also your skill set to reflect the qualities listed above.