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Plan a project with external clients

​Google Workspace​ business tutorial

What you'll learn

How to communicate with clients outside of your organization. Also, best practices for sharing and reviewing files, assigning tasks, and finalizing a project.

What you'll need

10 minutes

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In this tutorial

Get in touch with clients Understand clients' requests Start work Finalize work

1  Get in touch with clients


Expand all  |  Collapse all
1.1 Gather information from co-workers

Before you start working on a project with external clients, contact co-workers in your organization who can help provide information about external clients and their roles. Send an email or a quick message to someone.

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. At the top left, click  Compose.
  3. In the "To" field, add recipients. You can also add recipients:
    • In the "Cc" and "Bcc" fields.
    • When you compose a message, with a "+ sign" or "@mention" and the contact's name in the text field.
  4. Add a subject.
  5. Write your message.
  6. At the bottom of the page, click Send.

Tip: To add individual recipients and groups of contacts you created with labels, click To:


Send a direct message to someone:

  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. If the name isn’t already under "Chat," click Start a chat .
  3. Enter a name or email address. Suggestions appear as you enter text.
    • To send a 1:1 message to someone outside of your organization, enter their email address.
  4. Click the person you want to message.
  5. Enter a message, then click Send .


Send a direct message to a group:

  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. Under "Chat," click on an existing group conversation, enter a message and then click Send .
  3. If the group conversation isn’t under "Chat,” click Start a chat and then Start group conversation.
  4. Enter a name or email address. Suggestions appear as you enter text.
  5. Click Done .
  6. Enter a message, then click Send .

Message a group.

1.2 Communicate with external clients

After you establish what clients you need to contact, send them an introduction email.

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. At the top left, click  Compose.
  3. In the "To" field, add recipients. You can also add recipients:
    • In the "Cc" and "Bcc" fields.
    • When you compose a message, with a "+ sign" or "@mention" and the contact's name in the text field.
  4. Add a subject.
  5. Write your message.
  6. At the bottom of the page, click Send.

Tip: To add individual recipients and groups of contacts you created with labels, click To:

Back to top


2  Understand clients' requests


 
2.1 Schedule a meeting

You can schedule events and video meetings with people who don’t have Google Accounts. Guests will get an email invitation and can respond. Using Google Meet, any guest can join your meeting by clicking the link in your invitation. If you get a meeting request that isn’t in Google Calendar, you can still respond and then add the meeting to Calendar.

  1. On your computer, open Google Calendar.
  2. Optional: If you want to add guests to your event, on the left click Search for people and start typing the names of your guests.
  3. Click any time on the calendar that doesn't already have an event scheduled.
  4. Add a title to the event, and any event details.
  5. Click Save.

Tip: To create a longer event, drag your mouse down the page while you're selecting the time.

2.2 Join the meeting

See your scheduled meeting in Calendar and quickly join a video meeting. Use this Google Meet cheat sheet.

  1. In Google Calendar, click the event you want to join.
  2. Click Join with Google Meet.
  3. In the window that opens, click Join now

Join Meet.

To join a video meeting from Gmail or a mobile device, see Join a video meeting.
2.3 Capture requirements

Create a document to outline the requirements from your client.

  1. On your computer, open a Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms home screen.
  2. Click Create Plus.

You can also create a document from a template.

Create new docs
2.4 Send a follow-up email to clients

After the meeting, send a follow-up email to summarize the meeting notes and ask for any additional information.

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. At the top left, click  Compose.
  3. In the "To" field, add recipients. You can also add recipients:
    • In the "Cc" and "Bcc" fields.
    • When you compose a message, with a "+ sign" or "@mention" and the contact's name in the text field.
  4. Add a subject.
  5. Write your message.
  6. At the bottom of the page, click Send.

Tip: To add individual recipients and groups of contacts you created with labels, click To:

Back to top

3  Start work


 
3.1 Review information from clients

When you get documents and other files from your client, keep all related project information in one place. Store your project documents, images, and other files securely in Drive. Any changes people make synchronize to the cloud so everyone sees up-to-date content.

  1. Go to Drive.
  2. Click  Newand thenFile upload or Folder upload, and then choose the file or folder you want to upload.
  3. Click Open.

If you’re using the latest version of Chrome or Firefox®, you can simply drag files directly from your computer to the Drive page on your browser.

If you upload a file that matches the name of an existing file, Drive will add it as a new version, instead of creating a duplicate. To see the previous version of that file, you can manage versions.

When you see Upload complete, your files have uploaded successfully and can be accessed in any browser or device that has Drive installed.

Upload files to Drive.

3.2 Assign tasks to co-workers

After you establish who needs to work on the assignment, you can assign tasks to stakeholders.

  1. In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, select the text you'd like to comment on.
  2. Click Add comment .
  3. Enter your comment in the box.
  4. (Optional) To direct your task or comment to a specific person, enter a plus sign (+) followed by their email address. You can add as many people as you want. Each person will get an email with your comment and a link to the file.
  5. (Optional) To assign the comment to a specific person, check the Assign to box.
  6. Click Comment or Assign.

Note: If a file reaches the maximum number of comments, you can make a copy of the file without copying over any comments.

Open the Comment box and enter text, with the option to assign a task to someone.

3.3 Track updates and changes

See how your project tasks are progressing at a glance with conditional formatting rules. For example, add colors to make completed tasks stand out from tasks that haven’t been started or are in progress.

Set up progress trackers:

  1. Open Sheets and select the column that you want to apply the formatting rules to.
  2. Select Formatand thenConditional formatting.
  3. Set up the rules. In this example, you assign a different color to tasks that are Complete, Not started, or In progress:
1. On the Single color tab, under Format cells if, select Text contains.
2. In the box under Text contains, type Complete.
3. Under Formatting style, click the list to choose if you want the background or text to be colored.
4. To assign a custom text or background color, click Text color or Fill color . If needed, you can specify a color for the text and a color for the background.
5. If you want to add more rules, click Add another rule and follow the same steps. For example, assign a red background to Not started tasks and an orange background to In progress tasks.
6. Click Done.

In the menu, under Format, find the conditional formatting rules.

3.4 Save deliverables in a shared folder

Store project documents, images, and other files in Drive and then share them instantly (and securely) with co-workers or clients. Any changes made to files sync to the cloud so everyone sees up-to-date content.

To store and share files in a shared drive, see Get started with shared drives.

Create a folder:

  1. Open Drive.
  2. Click  Newand thenFolder.


Share a file or folder with specific people:

  1. Select the file you want to share.
  2. Click Share or Share .
  3. Under Share with people and groups, enter the email address you want to share with.

    Note: If visitor sharing is on for your organization, you can invite someone who doesn't have a Google Account to collaborate on your Google Drive files and folders. See Share documents with visitors.

  4. To change what people can do to your file, on the right, click the Down arrow and then Viewer, Commenter, or Editor.
  5. Choose to notify people:
    • If you want to notify people that you shared a file with them, check the Notify people box. If you notify people, each email address you enter will be included in the email.
    • If you don't want to notify people, uncheck the Notify people box.
  6. Click Share or Send.


Share a link to a file or folder:

  1. In Drive, right-click the file or folder you want to share and select Share .

    In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, at the top, click Share.

    Note: You can only share files that you own or have edit access to.

  2. (Optional) To specify what people can do with your file when you share it, under your organization name, click Change:
    • To change the permission, at right, click the Down arrow  and select Viewer, Commenter, or Editor.
    • To allow sharing the link outside of your organization, next to your organization name, click the Down arrow and thenPublic.

      Note: If you don't see this option, contact your administrator.

  3. Click Copy link.
  4. Click Done.
  5. Paste the link in an email, on a website, or wherever you need to share it.

Share files in Drive.

3.5 Send work to clients for review and feedback
  1. Select the file you want to share.
  2. Click Share or Share .
  3. Under Share with people and groups, enter the email address you want to share with.

    Note: If visitor sharing is on for your organization, you can invite someone who doesn't have a Google Account to collaborate on your Google Drive files and folders. See Share documents with visitors.

  4. To change what people can do to your file, on the right, click the Down arrow and then Viewer, Commenter, or Editor.
  5. Choose to notify people:
    • If you want to notify people that you shared a file with them, check the Notify people box. If you notify people, each email address you enter will be included in the email.
    • If you don't want to notify people, uncheck the Notify people box.
  6. Click Share or Send.

Share files in Drive.

3.6 Target comments and assign tasks
  1. In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, select the text you'd like to comment on.
  2. Click Add comment .
  3. Enter your comment in the box.
  4. (Optional) To direct your task or comment to a specific person, enter a plus sign (+) followed by their email address. You can add as many people as you want. Each person will get an email with your comment and a link to the file.
  5. (Optional) To assign the comment to a specific person, check the Assign to box.
  6. Click Comment or Assign.

Note: If a file reaches the maximum number of comments, you can make a copy of the file without copying over any comments.

Open the Comment box and enter text, with the option to assign a task to someone.

Back to top

4  Finalize work


 
4.1 Schedule a final meeting with clients

When all assignments are complete, schedule a final meeting with your clients.

  1. On your computer, open Google Calendar.
  2. Optional: If you want to add guests to your event, on the left click Search for people and start typing the names of your guests.
  3. Click any time on the calendar that doesn't already have an event scheduled.
  4. Add a title to the event, and any event details.
  5. Click Save.

Tip: To create a longer event, drag your mouse down the page while you're selecting the time.

4.2 Join the meeting

See your scheduled meeting in Calendar and quickly join a video meeting. Use this Google Meet cheat sheet.

  1. In Google Calendar, click the event you want to join.
  2. Click Join with Google Meet.
  3. In the window that opens, click Join now
Join Meet.

To join a video meeting from Gmail or a mobile device, see Join a video meeting.

4.3 Share and present during a video meeting

Meeting organizers with Google Workspace for Education can prevent participants from sharing their screen. 

In the video meeting, share your screen to present the final documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and more.

  1. In Google Drive, open the Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Google Slides file you want to share or present.
  2. (Optional) To edit a document, spreadsheet, or presentation simultaneously with your guests:
    1. In the upper-right corner, click Share.
    2. Add a title to your document and click Save.
    3. Add your meeting guests and give everyone Editor access.
    4. Click Send.
  3. Open Google Meet and join the meeting.
  4. Click Present now and choose what to share:
    • Your entire screen
    • A window
    • A tab
  5. Click Share.

Tip: If you're not using Chrome browser (which automatically hides any pop-up notifications), mute or turn off notifications so they don’t appear when you’re presenting.

4.4 Send final deliverables to clients

When you’re sharing sensitive Drive files with external clients, you can prevent people from downloading, printing, or copying them. You can also set an expiration date on files so external partners and agencies can’t access them after a project ends.

To prevent viewers and commenters from printing, copying, or downloading your file:

  1. Find the file or folder in Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Google Slides.
  2. Select one or more files you want to limit.
  3. Click Share or Share Share.
  4. At the top, click Settings Settings.
  5. Uncheck Viewers and commenters can see the option to download, print, and copy.
Share files in Drive.
4.5 Send a follow-up email to clients

After the meeting, send a follow-up email to summarize the meeting notes and any additional tasks.

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. At the top left, click  Compose.
  3. In the "To" field, add recipients. You can also add recipients:
    • In the "Cc" and "Bcc" fields.
    • When you compose a message, with a "+ sign" or "@mention" and the contact's name in the text field.
  4. Add a subject.
  5. Write your message.
  6. At the bottom of the page, click Send.

Tip: To add individual recipients and groups of contacts you created with labels, click To:

Back to top


Google, Google Workspace, and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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