How To Successfully Set expectations With Clients, Coworkers or Your Boss

Follow the steps below to successfully set expectations with clients, coworkers or your boss during a one-on- one conversation or at a project kickoff meeting:

Step One: State your goal.“We want a great relationship. We want our work together to be easy and smooth.”

Step Two: Set expectations.“Let’s have a conversation and agree on roles and responsibilities so everyone is clear about who will do what.”

Step Three: Agree on how you will work together.“Let’s talk about how we will address challenges. Things will happen that we don’t anticipate. We’d like to be able to talk about any challenge that arises — as it occurs — and not have anyone take anything personally.”

Step Four: Ask for feedback.“Anyone can say anything at any time. We all want the project to go well, and we need to know on a regular basis how you feel things are going. Knowing what’s working and not working will allow us to make improvements. We should all periodically check in and ask for feedback.”


Step Five: Ask for permission to give feedback.“If we have concerns at any point during the project, we’d like to be able to speak up and have you trust that we are speaking from our commitment to your business and the project and from our desire for this process to go smoothly.”

Step Six: Agree on roles.“Let’s also discuss who will be having those conversations. Should particular leaders have the discussions, or is it OK for anyone on the project to give feedback at any time? Either way is fine. We just want to be clear so people know what to do and what to expect.”

Step Seven: Agree on the communication process.“Let’s agree on what way, specifically, and how frequently we’ll check in to assess progress and evaluate how our working relationship is going.” 

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