Tag: the self-employed aspie

Non-verbal Communication in a Business Meeting

Project Daisy: Part IV.

Non-verbal communication challenges when meeting a client.

I met with Daisy for the second and last time a few days ago. There is still work to do, but now I know exactly how to do it, and I expect the project to be finalised this week.

The meeting lasted almost two hours again, but otherwise went well. I explained what I have done and why, what can’t been done (one desired function is not an option in the shopping cart), and which solution I’ve made to achieve that function in a different way.

The agenda was to get feedback on all the web pages and the layout of the shopping cart, activate the shopping cart, and make a detailed list over desired adjustments to each web page so I can action them and finalise the job. I strove to time-manage the meeting professionally while also allowing the client to be human. Daisy is a good client: rational, reliable, to-the-point, and flexible. I felt professional, competent and in charge all the time and went from the meeting with good actionable notes and quick drawings so I know precisely what to do.

Post-meeting management

After the meeting, I rewrote my notes into a structured summary/to-do list for the final adjustments to-be-done, which I emailed to Daisy. It sums up what we discussed and agreed on, so that it is clear to Daisy what I think she wants me to do. That way she can correct me if I misunderstood anything.

The summary’s ‘Deliverables’ section with due dates serves as my to-do list for the adjustment work, and reminds Daisy about things she’ll need to action first. I think all that works well.

In the meanwhile, under the surface: non-verbal aspects of a meeting

This post is about the non-verbal aspects of communication in a business meeting. I will in a moment switch from the rational business track of the experience to the underlying non-verbal communications track to explain why I find it challenging.

Non-verbal aspects of communication include face expressions, eye contact, timing, silence, tone of voice, gestures, distance, posture, moves, clothing, and showing and demonstrating things, for example. Ambience* (space, smells, sounds, light… ‘vibe’) also impact and blend into communication; although it is not necessarily an actively controlled element of it.

Guides about non-verbal communication usually focus on how to ‘talk right’ with body language to please others. (more…)


First Client Meeting and the Time Management Dilemma

Project Daisy, Part II.

Last week I met the potential client I mentioned in ‘New online store prospect‘. Let’s call her ‘Daisy’*.

The meeting went well in the sense that I think I came across as professional and well organised and helped the client to clarify her needs.

I followed the meeting up with a proposal based on what was discussed, and Daisy came back a few days later and accepted it. I am now just waiting for the signed contract and up-front part of the payment and expect to begin the work tomorrow morning. Yay!

Business meeting = a political game

The meeting itself though, although it went well, left me drained and on edge for a couple of days… which is typical. Meetings are hard.

They are easier as team work. My husband calls the good teamwork ‘to play good cop / bad cop’**. I am the bad cop because I ignore all the sales fluff and bullshit artistry (as diplomatically as possible) and cut directly to the point.

However, when I meet a potential client by myself then I have to play the good cop AND the bad cop – help the client and be as friendly as possible, and in the same time look after my own interests. A self-contradicting and demanding situation.


artified chess board image, looking gloomy

A business meeting is a bit like a game of chess, except you have to be on your opponent’s side as well and many of the pieces are hidden from the start. Also, there are always pieces missing… information gaps, budget gaps, all sorts of gaps.

Here is my somewhat messy analysis of the meeting structure and how I tried to cope with the aspects of meetings I find most challenging, namely:

  • Time management
  • Pricing
  • Non-verbal aspects of the conversation

This is the first of 3 posts inspired by the meeting. Each post will focus on one of the above aspects, and this one is about time management.

The last post will focus on non-verbal communication, which is the aspect I find hardest to cope with in meetings. It is also the most difficult topic to write about, partly because of the level of writing skills required to capture non-verbal tension with words, and partly due to the privacy dilemma.

New Online Store Prospect

Project Daisy: Part I.

A business acquaintance of “Max“* called and asked if I could redesign her online store. Max is the client I set up an online store for last year (the whole business is now for sale). The lady who called sells her products in a small store close to Max’s and wants to sell online as well. She said that she likes Max’s online store because it looks clean, neat and well organised.

I had to tell her that I am not a web designer and that the graphic designer I ‘usually work with’ is overseas.

However, Max’s online store doesn’t have a customised design anyway. I picked Max’s store front design from a selection of free templates which was part of the ecommerce hosting package. I customised it with photos and neat copy writing, a map for the contact form and so on.

A decent selection of neat design templates were one of the selection criteria when I chose the ecommerce host. Max didn’t want to spend a cent on the storefront design, and I don’t want to spend my time on an ugly online store that screams ‘We Are Unprofessional!’ to the visitors. The template was a decent compromise.

So I told the lady that if she is happy with a template design, I can help her set it up and we agreed on a time to have a chat about it.



Yay! Does that mean I’ve got a new project? I am cautiously optimistic and trying to work out what to do.