4 things a consultant should always have with them

This month marks my 30th year as a consultant.  In that time I have consumed my share of articles and lectures on how to be a better project manager, facilitate client meetings more efficiently, and even how to take a client to lunch. While those skills are important, there are some fundamentals I frequently share with clients and colleagues alike.  

Top 4 Things a Consultant Should Always Have With Them:
  • Notebook & Pen – You never know when you will need to document a discussion, capture a client’s urgent request, or spontaneously have a thought or ideas for how to improve a proposal or presentation. Early in my career I learned that trying to remember everything is a fools errand, and that there is no faster way to damage a friend, colleague or client relationship than forgetting to follow up on a request or commitment. Over the years the tools and processes I use to capture, review and act on my notes has changed, but I always have a small notebook handy so the idea is never lost. 
  • Engaging answer to the question, “What do you do?” – Be prepared to respond with a sincere, engaging statement about who you are and what you do.  Every time you meet someone you are presented with an opportunity to establish a new connection. It is up to you to make that opportunity count. Develop an introduction that succinctly tells something about yourself, with an emphasis on how you provide value to your client.  “Hello, my name is Oliver Siodmak and as a Director in Deloitte Digital, I help our clients globally transform the way they market, engage and service their customers on the web.  I have helped companies around the world generate significant additional revenue and increased customer satisfaction through a well planned digital platform.” This is not something you develop just once.  Periodically review it so you keep your response fresh.  Test new phases and find out what best engages your listener and motivates them to want to learn more. No matter what role you have within our firm, you are an ambassador of Delotte. How the market views our firm starts with you and how you present yourself. 
  • Clean business cards – While the world has gone digital there are times where exchanging business cards is the fastest way to share your contact information with someone.  They should be clean and crisp so they make a good first impression.  My cards now include my LinkedIn profile so the person can learn more about me through my online profile.
  • Smartphone  – Laptops are so last decade. I am always on the move and it is not always practical for me take out my Mac to complete some quick tasks.  My iPhone 6+ contains a stable of apps, which allow me work productively on the go.  Being successful means making the most of the time you have available.  Don’t wait 6 hours to send off a follow up note to a colleague – take a minute before the next meeting starts to summarize a discussion and outline next steps.  Keep your tasks organized and look for opportunities to clear another task off your to-do list.  My smartphone is not just about email and texting.  I have also used it to deliver a Deloitte Digital overview sitting next to a prospective client on a plane.   I have connected it to a projector to delivered an entire proposal. I’m even writing this article on my phone as I fly back to NYC from a client meeting. While it has not yet fully replaced my laptop, it does allow me to be productive in places where a laptop is not practical. They key is to leverage tools that improve your productivity and demonstrate your responsiveness to your client and your colleagues.
Do you have foundational tools you use in your everyday work life?  Please reach out and share them with me at “osiodmak at gmail.com”

Update on June 23, 2015: “How to Use a Simple Pocket Notebook to Improve Your Life” published by Lifehacker on June 22nd reaffirms my 1st recommendation!!  It is a great article that I highly recommend reading.


Bye Bye Winter

IMG 1736

I can honestly say I am not going to miss winter.  I enjoy snow as much as the next person, but I’m telling you I’m done.  

Fortunately there are signs that Spring is just around the corner.  This past weekend the weather finally rose high enough above 32º, causing the 2 feet of snow in my backyard began to melt.  While there is still a long way to go, patches of grass began to appeared, and like magic — so did the deer.  I counted over 20 of them roaming across the backyard feasting on the exposed grass.  It was quite a special moment.

Hoping you are finding your own special “Spring” like moments.


Happy 2015!

Welcome to another great year! 2014 was filled with challenging obstacles resulting in some pretty amazing solutions. All things considered I felt it was a fantastic year. Hope you felt the same.

As I look forward, I wanted to wish everyone a healthy & happy 2015!!

Oliver Siodmak & his family on top of Mohonk Mountain in December 2014

Oliver Siodmak & his family on top of Mohonk Mountain in December 2014

Be well!



Happy Birthday Macintosh !!!

When I was a junior in college, Apple launched the Macintosh.  Our local computer store in York, PA had a “Try at Home” policy and I was able bring it home for 2 weeks to try it out.  It had a single 3.5” floppy drive and I was constantly swapping between the boot disk and the program I was currently using — but I loved it.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford it and was resolved to buy a Compaq luggable.  But the 2 weeks I worked on a Mac changed the way I viewed computers and what I could do on them.  As a CIS major I spent most of my free time in the computer lab working on a Burroughs 1900 computer learning how to code in Fortran, COBOL and a few other now dead programming languages.  While the school also had Apple II’s (on which I learned C and Pascal), III’s (which is where I first used a word processor), none of the computers I had worked on really were “FUN” to work on.  Looking back over the past 30 years it is easy to see how the Mac changed how the world viewed computers.

That leads me to when I actually received my first Mac.  I say received because 2 years after my 1st experience with a Mac my parents opened a $10,000 CD at the Bowery Savings Bank.  This is back when banks were so happy you entrusted them with money they’d offer depositors a gift as a way of saying thank you.  My parents gift for opening the CD was a Mac Plus.  It became my 1st Mac.  While in college in 1985 I had saved up enough money to purchase my 1st personal computer; a Compaq luggable running DOS. But when I got the Mac I found myself spending hours figuring out how it worked and learning new ways to do things on it.  I bought an external SCSI 10MB external hard drive, 300 baud modem, ImageWriter printer and a few choice Mac programs.  I would spend HOURS creating and storing information in HyperCard.  Even with all the things I can do today in HTML, I still miss HyperCard.

Apple Macplus


I sold that Mac back in the early 1990’s and I learned how to get by in the real world on a PC.  First using DOS, OS/2, then Windows and finally Windows NT, but none of those computers were as fun or as supportive a computing environment as my 1st Mac (even with all the frustrations we all experience back then).  Finally in 2000 I got an Apple Powerbook and OS X and things started looking up again, but it wasn’t until 2006 when I bought my MacBook Pro that I finally ditched my IBM Thinkpad (issued by my employer of the same name) and switched to using a Mac 100% of the time.  I am now at Deloitte Digital and happily use a MacBook Air.  I couldn’t imagine working on anything else.

So Happy Birthday Mac and congratulations Apple!

Looking forward to see what the team at Apple develops next!