Even if what you’re saying is right, don’t assume what you’re meaning is being heard.
And that’s why, when you’re talking with a prospect or even having that initial client meeting, you need to ascertain, as quickly as possible, where it is they’re coming from. You need to be asking questions that count—effective questions to learn about their perspectives on different issues that you’re eventually going to be bringing up in the course of conversation.
I had an instance as a jail chaplain where this was brought to light by a guy, [who], each time I would mention the word “father,” when I was referencing a story from the Bible, he grimaced and almost looked like he was pulling back every time I said the word “father.”
When I got talking with him, close to the end of our time together, he mentioned to me that the word “father,” for him, just bought back horrific memories—lousy memories of his father abusing his mother, lousy memories of his father abusing his siblings (his sisters), and what he put them through. It was a life of torment, initiated by his father. Therefore, when he heard the word “father,” the only memories that came to mind were all bad ones.
It really taught me that even talking about something as solid as the Bible, unless you know the context that the person’s who you’re talking with is coming from, you need to be aware of just how language can impact them. So,
- When you’re talking with people, as soon as possible, ask them questions. Get into that mode where you’re learning to ascertain where they’re coming from and what their perspectives are.
- Make sure you’re hearing that and then adjusting your conversation appropriately to let them most effectively open up and tell you what it is that is most on their minds.
- Practice this. Like everything we’ve talked about language, practice this. It takes time to be able to think on your feet and maneuver quickly amongst verbiage that’s going to allow the person you’re talking with to open up most effectively.
You’ll become a far better advisor doing this, and you’re going to have that person at ease far sooner in the course of your conversation.
I look forward to bringing you another Distraction-Proof Advisor idea next week.