Have you ever wondered why young children are able to indiscriminately enjoy almost everything and anything they do?
Whatever situation they are in they seem to find a way to be absorbed in the moment and have fun.
As adults we often tend to lose this capacity.
Business can be a great example of this. Instead of doing something for the joy of doing it and being unattached to an outcome we place our sense of wellbeing on whether something goes a certain way or not.
All this extra thinking creates tension, stress and pressure.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (try saying that fast) wrote a classic book called ‘Flow’.
He talks about ‘Flow’ as being a state of joy, creativity, and total involvement. A place where problems seem to disappear, and you are completely absorbed in the present moment.
Exactly the state that young children experience most of the time and why they can indiscriminately enjoy almost everything.
What if this were the measure of the quality of a client meeting?
Robert C. Kausen wrote in his book, ‘We’ve got to start meeting like this’:
“A successful meeting is one in which participants accomplish the purpose of the meeting and feel uplifted and better connected. Successful meetings don’t just happen; they result from skillful design, an understanding of the human factor, and a bit of luck. You can learn skillful design and tap into the common sense understanding of the human factor. And that’s how you set the stage for luck.”
The tone of a meeting is how a client will remember it.
At one end of the scale a meeting could be exhilarating, inspiring, and uplifting and at the other end of the scale it could be tense, boring, and discouraging.
Talking about finances, the future and making life choices can be heavy subjects for many people.
So, the human factor, as Robert C. Kausen talks about, is important.
Far too many advisers bamboozle clients by talking about products, investments and what the markets are doing. This is like having your car serviced and the mechanic telling you, in detail, everything they are going to do to your car!
Very few clients care about the technicalities of advice and do not want chapter and verse about it.
How do you know if a client meeting is going well?
First, you have to notice the feeling both you and your client are in.
Are you and your client at the inspired and uplifted end of the scale or at the bored and discouraged end of the scale?
Awareness is powerful. It is like your psychological immune system.
Once you become aware, the nature of the system is that it steers you back to clarity. From this place it is easy to bring your client to clarity too.
Being able to steer a meeting that has gone off track back to a healthy place is a great skill to develop and it will often have a powerful effect upon the outcome and the quality of the relationships you build.
P.S. A useful practice is to spend a little time reflecting on each meeting you have. It is impossible to change what you are not aware of, so it can be surprising how much difference it makes to reflect and notice things you can improve upon.