Frustrated by colleagues and clients?

By Roydon Gibbs 

Have you ever had one of those days where clients or colleagues were driving you crazy?  Ever thought, this design project would be awesome if wasn’t for the people involved? How do you deal with this? Eliminating clients and colleagues from the design process (although sometimes an attractive idea) is not an option. However, what you can do is get better at working with people.

As talented visual communicators we know the difference that subtle adjustments to things like kerning, leading, line weight, colour and other elements of design can make to the quality of a piece of work. These are things about which our clients or non-designer colleagues often possess limited skill and understanding. The risk is that we may be demonstrating the same lack of skill and understanding when it comes to non-visual forms of communication. The way we talk to people or write emails to them etc. may be getting in the way of effective working relationships. Just as with visual design, in the the world of people skills there are some simple principles that when understood and applied well can make a big difference. So what are they? There are three types of people skills that can be very valuable to designers:

  • knowing how to ask quality questions
  • developing the habits of an active listener
  • reading and responding to body language

Of course this is just a start, these and other skills need to be developed throughout your career. Designers who look for opportunities to do this not only make things easier for themselves, they also give themselves a real advantage in the marketplace.


About Roydon Gibbs: Roydon Gibbs, The Engagement Activist™ is an experienced learning and development professional who specialises in helping people activate personal strategies for sustainable employee engagement. If you'd like to sharpen your people skills Roydon is delivering his popular "People Skills for Designers" workshop at Yoobee School of Design, Thursday, 27 March 2014, 9am - 4pm. For more information please call us on 0800 66 55 44.