November 1, 2021

To become an executive advisor you need to dodge the nerdy subject matter expert trap. Unless you want to stay under the radar forever ?

As new consultants, auditors, and tax experts, we all entered the profession to help clients solve their biggest challenges.

We loved to dive into the details, dig through reams of data, shed light in the darkest client corners.

Frankly, we enjoyed it. I know you do; I know I did. I know all this information! Surely the client wants to know it all? The tiniest of details!


That is what you are doing, yes. But if you share all this detail you just work yourself into a trap: the nerdy subject-matter expert trap.

The answer? Result-driven client communications.

There are three steps that had been drilled into me at Kearney during my early years that are crucial to get you out of the nerdy subject matter expert trap:

1 Start with the results

In all communications, start with the result (because we are in business, not in school). A result like: “Client, this is what we discovered, and you need to think through…”

2 Provide a synthesis of your “stuff.”

This is where you draw summaries together. “We’ve come to this result because we found these three facts in this stream of work and those 5 in the other, etc. As a result, we concluded this.”

3 Tell people the “so-what”

The so-what tells people exactly what it means for them and what you recommend them doing: “Continuing as you have…,” or “Starting as you’ve contemplated would likely mean such-and-such.” And you fill the client in and tell them what it would mean for them – for the company and even for individuals.

One final tip

You know why the best things come in threes? As humans, we’re great at pattern recognition. And it works here too. So, as a professional, when communicating, think “Rule of Three.” It’s a rhetorical technique that brings communications to life. It gives it more rhythm, more power, and more detail.

It makes your message stick.

Remember, “The good, the bad, and the ugly?” Make sure you are in the first one.

Want to find out where you are at with your partner powers? And get some tips on getting there? Perhaps my PartnerPowers Scorecard is for you. It will take you 2 minutes to find out where you stand with the market, your team, as a leader.

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