The Glassroth Company
Hiring a skilled and experienced consultant with whom to build a strategic communications plan or address an immediate and critical matter is one of the most important relationships any business can build.



How to get the best work from a consultant


Hiring a skilled and experienced consultant with whom to build a strategic communications plan or address an immediate and critical matter is one of the most important relationships any business can build. It should be viewed as a relationship, lasting over time and not as a contract entered into in order to move the organization past a short-term business challenge.

Here are some suggestions for helping you manage the process of identifying and engaging the right consultant…to get the job done and to fit the organization's culture.

Do your homework
Before you begin the process, decide on your goal. What is your message? Who is your target audience? What is unique about your company?

You are the authority on your business and your customers, so you need to have your game plan in place.

Interview carefully
A consultant’s ability to identify critical issues and develop a plan to address them – devise the right, audience-specific messaging; develop and communicate with key constituencies; choose the proper vehicles and spokespeople – and do it with a sensitivity to an organization's temperament is more important than having prior experience in your industry.

When reviewing prior work, look for context. Ask about a particular assignment's objective so you can decide how effectively it was reached.

Don’t discount “chemistry.” You need to feel comfortable with the consultant in order to work effectively together.

Foster cooperation
Involve the final decision-maker early on. Work with the consultant to develop a clear direction. Give the consultant as much information as you can and make yourself available to answer questions during the project.

Most important, devise a set of realistic goals and set an appropriate schedule and measurement criteria.

Rely on more than a handshake
Any reputable consultant will be willing to put into writing the business arrangement you’ve reached. This protects both of you. Make sure it includes the scope of the project, goods or services to be provided, the project timetable and the fee. It is customary for a consultant to receive a deposit before work begins.


Try before you buy
Project assignments with fixed fees are often a good way to work with a consultant without making a long-term commitment. In that way, you can both see if the relationship has the proper chemistry and you can judge whether or not the consultant can deliver the goods.

Some examples of projects that work as individual assignments are:

  • Communications Planning – assess strategic objectives, audit current programs, or create a plan of action

  • Message Development – determine if current messaging is the most influential and adjust where necessary

  • Media Training – prepare and rehearse your spokespeople for media exposure

  • Communications Projects – crisis communications, product launch, news conference, event promotion, and many more


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