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Short: Controlling the Narrative with your Client

“A project is kind of like a story… You are the author. You are in control of your story, I hope. ”

Over the years, Dean and his team at truematter have perfected the art of managing their clients. One way they do this is through controlling the narrative. To do so, you have to take the best notes, communicate effectively and favor your tools.

How to Take the Best Notes

  • Assign a dedicated notetaker. This person should not be the main speaker. Taking notes takes focus.
  • Arrange by topic. Not chronologically; conversations are messy. Create sections and jump from one to another as the conversation dictates.
  • Merge multiple perspectives. If multiple people are taking notes, make sure only one person is in control of merging perspectives.
  • Finalize immediately. Clean it up, merge, and put it in the project area while everything is fresh.
  • Mind your audience. Write all of your notes as if a client will one day read them.
  • Publish to a central place. Organize all notes in a central place and name them well.
  • Include a summary. The shorter, the better. Writing concisely is an art form.
  • Heed the Lightning Strike Rule. If you walked out the door and got struck by lightning, would we be able to find all of the project documents easily?

Want more tips from Dean? View the full session here.
For more DPM Shorts, tips and tricks click here.


Dean Schuster
owner/partner UX strategy firm, truematter

Dean Schuster has been envisioning and creating human-centered digital products since the advent of the commercial web. He is founder and owner of the user experience strategy firm truematter, leading the team to help national and international organizations change the way they do business online. He travels all over the world to speak and teach, mentoring professionals and challenging teams to a higher standard for digital experiences. Dean is also an avid ultra-marathoner and trail racer, often found in out-of-the-way places, including Antarctica.

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