What makes a good environmental consultant?

What makes a good consultant?

ConsultantA twenty something year old post graduate sat in front of me and my colleague boasting -not informing – most definitely boasting, about all his qualifications and experiences. He was being interviewed for a job with E4 environment as a consultant. Apparently he was the latest best thing in global wind energy (according to himself). He hardly drew breath. He didn’t ask us anything about what we did, which, if he had bothered to ask, he would have realised that we had been working on wind energy projects more years than he’d been alive. Needless to say, we didn’t offer this particular expert a job. Over the past 18 years of seeing consultants beginning, and in some cases ending their career as consultants I’ve got a good feel for the type of person that’s going to be a good or great consultant and those that will simply have to be kept in a back room doing technical research avoiding any need to interact with humans. So what makes a good consultant? In short, 30% brains, 25% attitude, 30% communication skills, 15% adaptability. It’s easy to spot a good consultant. This is a creature that is comfortable in crowded spaces. Its plumage blends in with the environment they happen to be in, wellies on farm, steel toe capped boots on site, and high heels/brogues at the CBI annual conference. It listens, learns, absorbing all the facts and analysing them to create something that could be useful later on. The glass is always half full and a problem is a challenge waiting to be solved. Clients rely on a good consultant and consider them to be their ally and often the only other person in the organisation that has any sympathy or knowledge about the pressure they’re under. A saviour. Believe me there are many clever people that do not make the grade as a good consultant. My top tips to be a good consultant DO NOT:

  • belittle your client
  • rock up to a client meeting in a flash car
  • park in the client’s designated parking space
  • address your client as “mate” or “luv”

DO:

  • listen and smile (but not like an insane person)
  • Speak to your client (they need to know they’re being looked after)
  • act with honesty and integrity – do not be tempted to provide untruths on a client’s behalf
  • radiate positivity
  • enjoy your work

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