Harriet Patience-Davies helps businesses to create ‘compelling stories’. Today we put her through our Q&A… read on for some interesting insights!
Q1. Did you always want to become a consultant or did you fall into the role?
Fell into it! In truth I didn’t really know what a consultancy did that was any different to an agency when I applied to work at Accenture in 2015. By then I’d spend a decade moving between client and agency-side digital roles and I wanted to be at the cutting edge. Everyone in 2015 said that was Accenture Digital so I joined up. I had a great 5 years there, but it was when I took on a role as Accenture’s UK Storytelling Coach I found my true passion.
I left Accenture in September 2020 and launched my storytelling consultancy business on October 1st. This time I definitely know what a consultant does! We choose to call our business a consultancy because we offer a wide range of services – training courses and webinars, but also individual and team coaching, both on a short term and long term basis – whatever our clients need to become better communicators and speakers.
Q2. What makes a good consultant?
Curiosity – you need to be genuinely interested in how both people and systems work. You can’t offer the advice that makes big picture changes without detailed insights of how it all fits together.
Q3. Do you feel you manage yourself well or is it a case of ‘the cobbler’s shoes’?
I do, but I’m a big fan of to do lists and collaboration tools – we currently use Asana at PDC to manage both the day to day work and to track out new business prospects. I have been known not to always practice what I preach – which I why I recently spent an afternoon reorganising the study to make sure I have the best Zoom background possible – https://patiencedavies.com/2021/04/21/how-i-set-up-my-new-background-for-virtual-meetings/
Q4. Are there enough hours in your day?
No, but that’s mostly about the fact I have two children (3 years and 6 months old) and juggling a baby with a new business is the definition of time consuming! Luckily my husband is a true partner both at home and in the business and between the two of us we make it work.
Q5. If you could magically stop your clients from making one mistake – what would that be?
I would love people to stop reading their PowerPoint slides when they are presenting. I cannot tell you how many interesting and engaging presentations have been ruined by the speaker just reading the slides out – what’s the point? You are boring your audience. If you’re not going to say anything other than what’s written on the slide, then this meeting could definitely have been an email.
Q6. What do you find is the best way to market yourself?
As our business is still relatively new, I’m using my network to make connections and talk to people who I’m recommended to. We also run a free weekly newsletter filled with useful content that will attract people to our courses.
Q7. What do you do to unwind?
I only get about an hour a day to not work or be actively parenting and by the time that hour comes around I can’t do much more than relax on the sofa in front of Netflix or Disney+. In the past (and hopefully again in the future when my kids are a little older) I used to write short fiction and do pencil sketches. I was given a voucher to do an oil painting class for my birthday back in March 2020, but with the pandemic and parenting haven’t had the opportunity to use it yet. I can’t wait to take up that course and try out oil paints.
Q8. What advice would you give a starting consultant?
Don’t stop learning – you can never know enough. Keep up to date with business and technology trends and identify what your strengths and weaknesses are, so you know what to work on. There’s no shame in taking courses or classes to improve your professional skills.
Q9. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Tony’s chocolonely sea salt milk chocolate. It’s insanely good.
Q10. What’s your goal for next year?
We want to build our client list, introduce more people to value of storytelling for business via our great online courses, and get our newsletter mailing list over 1000.