by David Tandet

• “Bullets are nice.” Got that from a client before he clicked off the phone after delivering marching orders for his next newsletter. Very key. Whether it’s bullets or numbers, more paragraphs or subheadings, organization makes the copy readable. It also keeps you on track. Make the points you want to make. Write in a clear, simple style. I like the “bullets” quote because it’s a visual reminder to keep copy clean.

• “Ask me now.” I wasn’t forbidden from talking to the client between starting the assignment and deadline. But it’s a good idea to keep in mind: get as much as you need at the front end. Part of your task is to save clients time. Let clients do what they’re supposed to do — their job. You do yours. But DO get the info you need. ESPECIALLY at the beginning. Clients won’t fault you for not knowing every aspect of their work. They’d be surprised if you did. While you’ve got them on the phone, texting, or they’re sitting across from you . . . any better time to find out what you need to know?

• ”         ” You’re a pro. You’re paid to turn in good stuff on time. If the client wants to thank you, great. But it’s more important that you don’t hear about the 100 ways you blew it. Don’t expect a pat on the head for doing your work. Better to know they want you back.

• “Keep me updated.” Not the opposite of asking upfront. Here you’re not interrupting the client’s schedule to find out basics you should have in your brain’s “quick file” by now. The client wants to be kept informed of what stage you’re at when. Could be 1,000 reasons. All you have to know is it’s part of your job to report in when the client wants you to.

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Post filed under Reliability, Writing Tips.