So, you want to be a better consultant?
Do you want to get insights from us and other independent development and social impact professionals about how to "do consulting"?
Are you a talented employee of a social impact organisation but perhaps unsure how the day-to-day experience of employment differs from juggling consulting projects and working on the basis of concrete deliverables?
Consulting in the international development and social impact spaces requires a specific skill set. In addition to having all the contextual expertise required for your particular specialism, you'll need to learn to:
Communicate effectively with your client(s) and other stakeholders.
Work effectively from distance with limited in-person contact with your client.
Manage multiple projects at a time.
Structure projects around concrete contractual deliverables (instead of hours at the office).
Work to tight deadlines.
Determine how long a project will take and, therefore, how much money you should be paid, in advance of doing the project.
And much more.
We've been managing consulting projects for many years now and we've made plenty of mistakes along the way, which we'll hopefully save you from making!
We've learned that the key is clear communication and detailed planning early on so that at all times your client knows what you're going to do and when. Clients don't like to be surprised (except by how amazing your work is).
Being an effective consultant involves so many other things too, including perfecting your specialism (which is beyond the scope of what we can do), planning, communication and interpersonal skills, ability to work under pressure, and much more.
That's a lot. it won't happen overnight and you'll make mistakes. And that's okay. For starters, though, we recommend the following: