To be a great associate, one must be able to modify the style (but not the substance) in which advice is given, based on the client’s body language (at a meeting) or tone (on a call) during the meeting or call.  If the client is clearly indicating that he or she wants only “yes”, “no” or “maybe”, then a great associate will give the client “yes”, no” or “maybe” and then the rationale, and if the client wants a long-form showing of work, the great associate can handle that too—even if, in either case, that was not clear from the stated request before the meeting or call.  This of course requires that our great associate know the ins and outs of the advice and likely follow-up questions following delivery of the advice, but that should be the standard for all associates; the great associate can change his or her style on the fly depending on the type of client, or in response to the type of client who shows up on that day.

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