Feature Friday: The Art of Project Management
Guest Blog by Alison Andreoff
Do you ever think to yourself as you’re leaving work for the day, “I could have done this better” or “I can’t believe I let that slip through the cracks!” After years of working in Advertising and Marketing and holding positions as an Account Executive and Project Manager for multiple accounts, I’ve realized that the only way you can meet and exceed client expectations is if you hold yourself to a higher standard than they hold themselves.
Being a Project Manager doesn’t just mean meet client expectations and deadlines, but you need to also put yourself in the client’s shoes. You need to think about the numerous questions the client may have for you and your team every day. Here are some tips from one Advertising exec to another!
Manage your time wisely!
I’m sure everyone under the sun has told you this piece of advice, but it’s true! Write all of your assignments down and rank them in terms of urgency and how time consuming each assignment is. This will allow you to focus your attention where needed that day. In the long run, you will be more productive and successful!
Don’t rush BUT don’t be a perfectionist!
Rule of thumb: Read over your e-mails at LEAST three times. Keep your messages brief and to the point. Clients prefer outlines instead of paragraphs. Trust me when I say, I’ve had enough clients convey to me that they do not have time to decipher what is the most important element of an e-mail.
You can pretend to listen to what a client is requesting or actually listen and read between the lines. If a client is requesting something specific, make sure you understand completely what they are asking from you. If you don’t understand, clarify and ask valid questions until you comprehend the request at hand.
Don’t speak just to hear yourself talk.
Reality check, no one wants to hear what you have to say unless it is to the point, valid and will benefit the company and the client. If you speak, make sure you are also capable of answering the basic “why” or “what do you mean?” questions that may follow.
Draft as many e-mails as you can prior to coming into work the next day.
Every evening before I leave work for the day, I red flag any outstanding items that require a follow up and I draft as many e-mails as possible in order to free up some time in the morning to review all of my assignments and any new e-mail requests in my inbox. If you can spend at least 8 hours a day at work, what’s another 5-10 minutes prepping for the following day?
Pick up the phone!
Never hesitate to pick up the phone and call your fellow coworkers as resources or even the client should you need any assistance and/or clarification regarding your projects. Building a relationship with the client is key to becoming a successful Account Manager. Bombarding the client with e-mails may not always be the best way to communicate your thoughts or questions and could potentially become irritating.
Always be honest.
One characteristic about me that I know my coworkers truly value is my honesty. I love accepting and listening to constructive criticism and if I make a mistake, I always hold myself accountable. I will never throw anyone under the bus or complain about others and their work performance. You get more bees with honey so make sure you are honest, truthful and build solid relationships with your coworkers by being respectful towards each other. Every day is a learning curve!
No matter what, everything always gets done. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, get up from your desk, walk outside or near a window and take a few deep breaths. Trust me when I say, at the end of the day it’s just advertising. My previous manager always used to say “we’re not performing heart surgery! Relax and go with the flow!” That was easily the best advice I ever received. She was right! A job is just a job. At the end of the day, you need to feel good about yourself, so take a break once in a while. You deserve it!
Save old e-mails from coworkers and use them as templates.
Last but not least, I always flag or print out old e-mails from coworkers that I feel I can use in the future as a template to reference when writing my own internal emails or to the client. This is especially beneficial if you are starting a new position as an Account Manager. Your coworkers are your lifeline for the first few months until you begin to understand your projects so take advantage of their knowledge!
I hope you find that this article provides you with some useful advice and information when starting your career as an Account Manager! Embrace change and knowledge throughout your profession and always strive to learn more!