General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

When you really do know your stuff . . . customer related OP#32

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Is there a polite way to say "I know what you're thinking and I've tried to accommodate your thoughts. Trust me. I've tried every alternative with what was supplied and this is the best possible solution."

In other words, "Please don't waste my time!" <-- I know this is nasty and I would never say it to a customer . . . but sometimes? I'd like to say "I really do know my stuff. You just gotta trust me on this."

BG: I'm an in-house graphic designer for a large company with a forte of page-layout/design (magazines/brochures/newsletters/fliers, etc.) All of my customers are in-house. There are certain corporate standards that must be adhered to. . . . I take pride in my work. I'll manipulate the living daylights out of any page-layout in order to ensure that it is the best possible design. endBG.

The reason I'm posting about this happened yesterday, although there have been many situations in the past where this sort of thing occurred and I'm wondering if I could somehow just cut it off at the pass.

A new bimonthly article will be appearing in our monthly magazine. So I came up with a design/logo and layout format. I presented it to the author(customer) for approval before sending it on to the editor.

Long story short, he was very happy with the accompanying artwork (no changes there) but didn't care for the layout of the page.

I spent an hour with him showing him exactly why the article was laid out the way it was. He asked "What if you did this?" I said "I tried that and it didn't work" He said "Can I just see it?" So I quickly manipulated the page and explained it doesn't work for this, that, and the other reason. He had several other suggestions . . .

In the end, he agreed that what I did was the best solution. And I worked an hour OT just to catch up with my other tasks. ::)

So . . . Is there a polite way to tell people "No. You can't see the alternatives. Trust me. I really do know my stuff."


I don't know of one, but I am posting to get updates because I want to know too!

I often work with a graphic designer for my clients events.  I am very much like your client.  For me the reason I want to know why certain other designs won't work is because I then have to go and justify the reasons for a particular layout to MY client.  Your author may need to be able to justify the reasons behind the layout to his/her boss.  Or they just may have had an idea in their head of what the layout would be and may need to wrap their minds around the new layout.

You said that you had to work an hour of overtime to make up for having to sit with this client.  Would it have taken the same amount of time for you to come up with a couple of different options to show him initially?

White Lotus:
Talk a little more with the customer in advance, perhaps?

You could also try, "Yes, I thought of that, but it pushes X and Y out of bounds, or doesn't fit with the corporate template, etc"... just one quick reason on the no, to show that yes, you do know your stuff. There's a good chance the client will figure out you have a track record for thinking of a lot of different things before presenting the best choice set.

Or, maybe do two very similar layouts for awhile, and let them choose? Both are "yes" to you, and they get to feel like they have input.


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