Meeting Your Clients Where They Are

Listen Carefully They Are Eager To Provide You The Code!

Our ability to recognize what we want from conversations with one another is often misplaced. Allow me to share a story of such an occurrence that fortunately ended favorable for all.

I was speaking with a group of Toastmaster coaches and the concern of one particular clubs reticence to adopt to our new platform and acclimate into the new member portal was expressed. The usual Feel, Felt, Found approach was followed. Questions around the dynamics of the clubs make up were made. Ideas were offered to test the flexibility of its leadership and that of its rank and file. We looked into the demographics of the club to try to feel out their preference for staying with the previous format, all to circle back to the fact that they simply wanted to remain original. Moreover, they simply wanted to hold on to the camaraderie of the relationships, and social protocol they have established. All the level building in speaking and leadership development was not significant to them.

So how could we help? Where could we lead them from this point forward? A concern was expressed that questioned our value given the staunch position shared. Wait! A follow up question was made. Do they have to conform to the new system to remain in Toastmasters? Can they meet the clubs mandate while maintaining their autonomy? Were they even allowed to do this? The answer was a resounding YES!

Why? Because each clubs ultimate goal is to serve the need of its members. Does a club have to participate in the Pathways learning platforms to remain apart of Toastmasters? Do the members have to build Leadership skills as laid out in the progressive format? Must the matrix be feed in order to give credence to the value recognized by its club members? Will they be identified as traitors to the cause, to ‘mother’? Could they possibly insult the sensitivity of our global mission? I think not! In deed the resulting solution gave rise to the fact that Toastmasters International and its brand is adaptable for all. Seasoned veteran speaker/leader seeker and newbie introvert or mad-hatter town square announcer alike are welcome. We meet you where you are, and if it happens that a club has a nucleus that has a common format they wish to maintain and exhibit, then that is the wishes we should support. Why? Because that is in deed managing change through effective communications. That is how they see themselves. That is the value they recognize and exhibit based on what they want from such personal and professional relationships among one another. That is how they communicate among one another.

There are levels of relationships in all communities. Whether you are referring to blood family or newly found common ground of needs and interests. People that are thrust together because of circumstance. People that come together because of all manner of needs, reasons and purpose. The glue that bonds them together is the value each recognizes that they want and or need from the relationship. What they get out of the engagement…The What’s In It For Me! (WIIFM) exclamation. The next time you run into a seemingly challenging exchange of ideas, pull back a moment and listen more carefully to what is being said, moreover what is being sought by the other person and you just might meet your client where they are and be able to serve their needs.

Thank you for reading this article.

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Feel free to provide your perspective on any of the issues and topics I touch on as the true value of any exchange in interpersonal conversations is found in the differences we express.

Be seeing you!
Ronald M. Allen