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.


Wait … I’m on the wait list?

iPhone 5

New iPhone 5

Just goes to show you .. you can’t believe the naysayers. Even with all the rushed reviews of the iPhone 5 and countless speculators indicating that the next version of the device does not contain significant enough improvements to warrant an upgrade – Apple sold out the 1st batch in less than 1 hour. Important lesson learned — don’t believe everything you read, go with what you believe.

BTW — getting 1 week after launch (and not standing in line in the rain for 3 days) .. I’m OK with that.


Fox Sports Mobile – R2.1 Available for download from Apple App Store

I am happy to announce that Apple has just approved the latest update to the Fox Sports Mobile app.  This is the 3rd App release IBM has delivered for FOX.  It includes:

  • Performance enhancements: 3x speed improvements over WiFi & 3G from the previous release
  • Soccer: News, Scores & Schedules (by League), Video, & Standings
  • MMA/Boxing: News & Video
  • Motorsports: News (F1 & IRL)
  • Nascar: Leaderboard, Race Details, (including Lineup, Live Race, Track info), Schedule, Drivers Index, The Chase
  • Article sharing via Facebook
  • Manual refresh button for news and scores
  • Over 50 bug fixes

The IBM and FOX teams worked very closely together to significantly improve the app’s performance.  Additionally we have provided additional visual queues to notify the user when the app was unable to download content updates from FoxSports.com.


In addition to performance enhancements and bug fix we now have (say it with me) SOCCER!  That’s right — we now have News, Scores, Schedules, Video & Standings content for SOCCER.  Motor and Nascar fans will also be happy to learn that their content also available in this release.

A special thank you goes out to my development team: Greg Crisp and Mike Jones for their continued hard work and dedication to the project!


As always, I would encourage all of you to download the app and post your comments and rating in the App Store.  The more reviews we receive the better.  Also — please share the App link (http://itunes.com/foxsportsapp) with as many family, friends and colleagues as you know.


The release should be available for you to update on your iPhone or iPad before EOD today.


Fox Sports Mobile App — #1 Free Sports App in the Apple App Store!

It’s hard to believe but in only 3 short days the Fox Sports Mobile app my IBM team and I developed for Fox is now the #1 Free Sports app in the Apple App Store – displacing ESPN!  Additionally — the app continues to receive exceedingly high ratings from new and existing users!  If you haven’t downloaded the app yet, check it out at http://itunes.com/foxsportsapp.


Additionally, the app is now appearing as #118 of all the free apps in the App Store!

UPDATE:  App is now #99th in the Top Free Apps category in the App Store!


Fox Sports Mobile App v2.0 (developed by IBM) Now Live!

Dear Friends & Colleagues,


I just wanted to let you know the exciting news that the Fox Sports Mobile v2.0 iPhone app my team and I developed for Fox Sports Interactive Media went live last night.  This FREE sports app provides you access to a wealth of news, scores, video, team and player profile data and an endless supply of stats for over 14 different sports categories.  The app also allows you to follow your favorite teams and customize the presentation of sports.  Can’t go to the game or watch it on TV .. then follow the plays live under Gametrax with play by play summaries and stats!



The app was a custom development effort built using the Apple iOS SDK by resources from IBM Interactive & IBM Digital Media. You can download the app using the following URL: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fox-sports-mobile/id294056623?mt=8


If you already have the Fox Sports Mobile app installed, an update will be downloaded for you when you click on updates in iTunes on your Mac, PC or on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.


The app is free so if you have access to an iPhone (or iPad) please check it out.  I am also encouraging you to share this email with all your employees, colleagues and family members so they can check out the app as well!


Thanks & enjoy!




P.S. – For all you DROID fans, an Android version of the app is currently under development and will be released in the 1st Qtr 2011.