As a web designer, my tendency is to be a bit more introverted and I often want to immediately start working on a project, as opposed to meeting in person with a client and brainstorming. I try to fight this inclination as much as possible. But often what happens is that the vision I have for the project completely changes after meeting with the client. That’s a good thing. You want your clients influence, opinions, and feedback as much as possible.

The more they feel included in the process, the better. This does not mean, however, that you have to sacrifice on input when it comes to creative decisions. If you have design conflicts with your client and feel like you don’t want to lose them but you also don’t want to lose control, remember to major on the major issues and minor on the minor issues. Be willing to give a little on the smaller issues. On the larger issues make sure you voice your thoughts clearly and firmly if needed.

Never be quick to just say no to a request. It’s definitely a nuanced skill of knowing when and how much to speak up. I tend to be quick to listen and slow to speak but I think in some situations it is better to speak up and make sure people know you are actively involved.

If your initial instinct to a request is that you see no possible way this can work, try to slow down your thought process and instead of being quick to decline an idea, say something along the lines of “let me explore that” or “I have some other ideas we could try there as well.” As you build trust and the relationship with your client strengthens they will appreciate direct feedback, but early on it’s good to be slow and considerate in how you are coming across.

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