This may seem like an obvious statement, but I have recently been put in my place about sitting on the fence.
Here is the background.
I had been working for a company that managed insurance rebuilds and repairs after the Christchurch earthquake. This was a very labor intensive role, a very emotional role and a role where I had to turn off my "design" way of thinking and focus on managing the process and the client. This was initially difficult as I love having input into how a new home will look. My job was to progress the rebuild or repair from taking the scope of work, through design, consent, and into construction. This sounds reasonably straight forward. It was but along the way there were constant battles between the client wanting to change things and the insurer letting them know they could but would have to pay for it. We all know when it comes to money there is always conflict! Therefore to keep the process as smooth as possible, the less change the better. So in my daily life, I stopped making comments on how I saw the new plans, I had no design input and for want of a better word, "processed" the clients on their journey to a new or repaired home rather than "guided".
I now have a new role, I am a Design and Sales Consultant for a New Home Building Company in Christchurch. With this role, I have to take the clients on a similar journey. I am organizing their design with the architect, liaising with engineers and geotech engineers, keeping them informed of progress, presenting them with costs and obtaining their building consent. I do not have to manage the build of their new home, but I have to make sure that they love what they are going to get when it is completed.
So, early on on my job when asked a question from a client about which cladding I preferred and why, I didn't have an opinion. Oops, wrong approach! I had trained myself to stay neutral, and now I have to be the person that the clients rely on providing good and qualified advice. I am happy to say that I learned the hard way and I am pleased that I now reply with not only my opinion, but reasons why you should use a specific cladding in one area and not another, which ones are most cost effective, which have the least maintenance and what is popular and in fashion at the moment. Everything the client wants to hear to be able to make informed decisions.
Have an opinion - love it or hate it and why?
The lesson that I have learned, (which I knew but had neutralized) after over 20 years of working in this industry is to not only have an opinion on design, but also ensure that you have the information and knowledge to back that opinion up. Why else would a client come to you if they don't believe that you can help them make critical decisions on their new home?
This works for Interior Design as well as Architecture.
I have one last comment. I am Lee Brown and I set up this blog years ago. For some reason, I set it up under the Google account for our business and as the years have gone by and Google have updated many things, Chris is the person attached to the account - his profile has taken over my blog! So when you read through the blog, you are listening to Lee, even though you see a picture of Chris!
Don't for get to check out our website interiordezine.com and register for a free ecourse in interior decorating, color or curtain design and join the many others who have increased their knowledge of design.