What clients come to me with

When I first meet with new or potential clients they usually have been working on their project for a year or more and have rudimentary plans sketched up as well as a laundry list of what they want. It is unusual for these two things agree with each other and I am in the position of delicately pointing this out. It reminds me of first year in architecture school when you work on a project day and night for a week and on presentation day someone on the jury picks up your model and says "this is crap" , hopefully followed by constructive critisism. At this point the project can go in at least two directions. The client can clam up and say " I know what I want and I just need it drafted up" or the client may realize that what they have come up with may be unneccesarily complicated and expensive as well as not really achieving all it could and welcome professional input. I don't discourage the drawings as they help me to see how people think and see. This helps me tailor what I do to maximize clear communication. Ideally, I can serve as their "jury" and coax/coach them into designing a scheme that meets all their stated (and implied) goals and perhaps even help them re-visit their stated goals to see if they are realistic. Before architecture school I spent a year in art school but dropped out beause of the lack of productive critisism of my work. If I put enough time into an assignment, I would get a high grade regardless of whether the project was actually good or not. When I got to architecture school, I welcomed the much higher level of artistic and intellectual rigor.