Introducing a client-care practice culture starts with one gesture, one conversation, one thoughtful question at a time. My pastoral training and years of experience do not give me a pass when it comes to being purposefully engaged and fully present with another human being. Yes, it may flow easier for me because I have honed these skills for more than three decades; but, I know each one of us is capable of learning our clients’ stories in a way that deepens our relationships with them, both personally and professionally.
Every encounter we have with someone is a unique calling for us to offer focused listening with a commitment to learning more about the individual as well as ourselves. So, as I ask you to practice the following seven keys to deeper engagement with your clients, family, and friends, know I am also doing the same:
- Being fully present with a person is more important than any “trick of the trade” or clever conversational tool. Minimize needless distractions by closing your door and turning off electronic devices.
- We bond with an individual over time. How we begin that journey shapes everything that follows. Start with focused listening, tuning into that person’s story.
- Pay attention to the non-business aspects of a conversation.
- Learn to read emotions. Facial communicators and micro expressions offer clues to his or her frame of mind and feelings at that moment.
- Clients feel authenticity. Be genuine in all you say or do. When you are, you unknowingly give others permission to be themselves.
- Being intentional about scheduling the next visit says “let’s stay connected.”
- Follow up with a call, text, or e-mail, reflecting on something in a previous conversation that needs your care. It could be a child’s struggle in school, a job challenge, a health issue, or fear about the future.
Your cadence of care for others will manifest as you devote more time understanding their hopes, needs, and dreams. I encourage you to put your finger on the pulse of a client or loved one’s need for validation, and you will soon transform your practice, your relationships, and your life.