Your client comes to you with a problem and you are ready to dish out some advice. Wait. First lay the groundwork so that your input sinks in. Follow these three steps:
- Ask- Probe to find out more about the problem. Remember, often times the first thing they tell you is not always the real problem or concern. Ask two or three questions to clarify your assumptions…collect more facts.
- Support- Always try to give a “one sentence pat -on-the-back.” Things like “you have done everything right so far based on the information you had at that time” or “you are going to make it through this” go along way towards letting your client know you are on their team.
- Advise- Now that you have probed and supported, offer your best insight. By bonding with clients first you are ensuring that they are ready to hear your advise.
“Sometimes I think the main obstacle to empathy is our persistent belief that everyone is exactly like us”