Effective Communication Skills for Scientific and Technical Professionals

By Harry E. Chambers | Go to book overview

9
Dealing with Customers and
Funding Sources

The triple challenges of dealing with internal and external customers and those who fund your programs and projects are treated collectively in this chapter. Why are they in the same chapter? Because the communication challenges are very similar. People in all three of these categories have expectations and standards that must ultimately be met by your performance. Their satisfaction, or lack thereof, determines both your current success and future opportunities. Communicating effectively with these three vital constituencies is becoming more important for STPs with each passing day.

People in all professions and functions are required to communicate with customers to some degree. In today's competitive marketplace, deficiencies in this area can spell economic disaster. Your technical superiority won't give you a competitive advantage unless it can be translated into value for the people who need it. This challenge is compounded for many people in the scientific and technical community because you are often dependent on other sources for the funding and resources for your work. These sources must be treated as customers and their needs and expectations met or their support and cooperation could be put at risk.

Internal customers are defined as any individuals, groups, departments, or teams within your organization that directly benefit from your efforts. They are those you serve within the organizational structure and those who support you in your service to others. They may be the next link or the preceding link in the process chain. It is important to maintain part

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