Empowerment, CS style.

We go into stakeholder meetings to foster discovery. To gain information and push the content strategy agenda and pick up things we can use to populate our deliverables.

If we’re doing it correctly, we also become counselors.

A client discovery meeting isn’t just about asking questions. It’s also about listening. Playing therapist. Rephrasing questions, digging into details, and getting the client to understand the answer lies within.

Hippie-dippy, AMIRITE?

Yes. Very hippie. Very dippy. Very accurate, too.

As user experience professionals, we don’t have the answers. We have the process, and we have best practices, and we have the skill to find the answers. But we don’t have the actual answers. The client does. It’s our job to draw it out.

That’s why this is a partnership. That’s why the myth of the Grand Reveal – built up so gloriously by the advertising industry – is so damaging.

So we go into meetings, and we listen. We provide documentation and deliverables, and we hammer down on the technical aspects, and we may not talk to them for a few weeks because we’re busy auditing and inventorying and creating personas and strategic plans and all of that. But we’re doing so upon a foundation of listening.

And as we deliver each piece, our clients – our partners – provide both buy-in. Not because they believe we’ve created some golden ticket, but because they recognize that the decisions are being made TOGETHER, with their ideas in mind.

Each piece is a dose of preventive medicine, helping us save the hassle of purchasing the Sam’s Club-sized bottles of aspirin during implementation. With that, we’re closer to providing some level of self-sustainability, because we’re reminding our clients – again: our partners – that they are providing the answers on their own.