Help me help other architects! This blog is an excerpt from the first draft of my book: Breaking the Box: Explode out of Architecture School to a Successful Career as an Architect. You can help by leaving a critique in the comment section below. And if you are just starting I suggest you check out the table of contents for an easy road map. Thx you rock! -Steve
A little bit of brevity.....
Today’s post is short and sweet. One of the most important and overlooked traits for an architect is the ability to listen. I believe to be a good architect you must first be a great listener. Listening helps cultivates teamwork, creates stronger design and makes for happy clients.
Listening is Good for Teamwork – Synergy is created when team members listen to each other and have open dialogue. The most effective way to prove this theory is to consider the alternative. Can teamwork exist without listening?
Listening is Good for Design – The best design occurs when architects understand all of the constraints. To understand the constraints an architect must listen to the client, they must listen to the site, they must listen to their colleagues and they must listen to themselves. Only then will the best design emerge.
Listening is Good for Clients – Most clients have no interest in flashy award-winning designs. The main thing a client looks for in an architect is someone who listens and is responsive. A client wants to make sure that the architect has the client’s best interests and goals as their priority. This can only occur when an architect listens.
Listening is Good for Business – An architect who listens fosters teamwork, creates high quality design and keeps their clients happy. These are the ingredients to a successful business.
It may seem silly, but listening is a skill. And like any skill, listening needs practice. Listening is more than just nodding in agreement. There are some simple steps that you can do now to listen like a boss!
5 Steps to listening like a Boss!
1. Give people your Undivided Attention – This is step one. Without this, everything else crumbles.
2. Clarification – A good listener asks the right questions. For example: “Steve, you asked me to print out the drawings by 4pm. Since our meeting is at 4:30, would it not be safer to print at 3:30? You know Murphy’s Law!” Or “Ms. Client, you said you hated this tile. What in particular did you dislike? The color, the finish, the shape?” Asking clarification makes for good listening.
3. Take Notes – Diligent note taking is very important especially for architects. Most architects will work on multiple projects, juggling deadlines, meetings and clients. Our brains only have so much storage capacity therefore it behooves you to take good notes. I have gotten in the habit of taking my iPad to all meetings. It is a very handy way to have everything in one place.
4. Summarize – This step will save your butt, however it often is left out. Before breaking from the meeting or discussion, briefly summarize the key points of the conversation. For example: “Just so I’m clear, we should increase the lobby by 100 sf, reduce the size of the fitness room by 200sf and add one more toilet to each bathroom?” This summary will make sure that everyone is on the same page.
5. Nail the Follow-up – The follow-up can take many forms. In some situations, meeting minutes will serve as the follow-up with an action item list at the conclusion. The follow-up may also include the actual execution of the work. Have you done what you said your would do. If not, why.
Listen your way to the Top
Listening is like networking: it is a small thing that creates huge benefits. It will foster greater teamwork, produce higher quality design and create happy clients. This is good for business and good for you.
When I reflect on some of the mistakes I have made in my career, one common ingredient was a lack of listening and poor communication.
I thank you for your time and would love to hear your thoughts.
Flip the page to Chapter 24: Public Speaking for Architects
And that is.....another chapter in the books!
Chapter 23 by the Numbers
· 704 words
· 3 – Translates into approximately 3 pages in book form.
· 1 – Blog Posts
· 2 – Hours to Write and Post on Blog
· 3 – Stretched over 6 calendar days.
· 1 – Average book pages written per day.
The Book by the Numbers
· 39,911 – Total Words
· 160 – Total Pages
· 58 – Total Blog Posts
· 220 – Goal for final page count.
· 142– Days Since Starting
· 1.13 – Average book pages written per day.
· 53 – Estimated days to completion of first draft. (220-160) / 1.13) = 53
· 20– Chapters down.
· 8 – Chapters to go.
· 1– New subscribers to the Breaking the Box Email Newsletter
· 52 – Total subscribers to the Breaking the Box Email Newsletter