3 Skills a Consultant Must Have

Whether you're a consultant in the traditional sense of the word or are simply in the role where your opinion is sought after, there are three skills, according to Peter Block of Flawless Consulting fame, that you need to have to be successful.

Technical Skills
It is important that you possess the technical skills i.e. the expertise in a particular field to make your opinion of interest to others. This ideally goes beyond what you may have been taught in school and should include actual experience in your chosen field. In the information technology industry this expertise can become obsolete very quickly so it is important to continually hone your skills.

This shouldn't be confused with programming or hardware skills. Instead, the term technical in this context means a certain level of experience and understanding of a particular topic.

Interpersonal Skills
A critical aspect of being a consultant is working with people. And that's where interpersonal skills come in. You need some ability to put your ideas in to words, to listen to others, and to provide support. You also need to be able to disagree and to suggest ideas counter to what your client may be proposing.

Consulting Skills
This may sound odd given the topic of this post, but a consultant needs consulting skills. There is a sequential process to consulting that you need to follow to get from start to finish. Executing this process isn't necessarily easy hence the reason that it is called a skill in Peter's book. This process puts you in a role that is very similar to an IT project manager.

Strong Financial Management
It’s important to manage your money carefully and to set out clear budgets when you’re doing consultancy work. There are many tools and types of software that can help you to do that, including legal tracker software and other budgeting software packages. These are certainly options to explore if you want to stay on the right track.

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  1. Very good advice. The problem is most consultants got into their role accidentally. Often they were promoted to a consultant because they have spent many years in programming & hardware. Many would need to learn or relearn the 3 Skills a Consultant Must Have.

  2. Good advice. This goes back to the primary consulting components of People, Process & Technology. Most workers are strong in the technology of their industry, but a good consultant takes those skills and combines them with the Process (Consulting skills) and People (Interpersonal skills) to get the job done. It's what separates the workers from the consultants.
    Lew Sauder, Author, Consulting 101: 101 Tips For Success in Consulting (www.Consultnig101Book.com)

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