An old Zen proverb goes, “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” In other words, be mindful and give your whole attention to the task you’re carrying out.
A client meeting or call is the perfect opportunity for us to test our mindfulness and capacity to actively listen. This is particularly true in situations of distress or uncertainty in the financial markets, when clients depend on your ability to communicate to reassure them and help them cope with their pain. In such situations, your role becomes as crucial as that of a doctor who can relieve their pain. Indeed, this is the time when mindful listening brings about healing.
Think about a therapist: in order to cure her patients she must practice deep, compassionate listening. This puts her patients at ease enabling them to drop their defenses, clearly articulate their problems, and describe what frightens them—the key reasons why they are seeking her professional help. It is only this kind of listening that allows the therapist to attain an intimate understanding of her patients’ problems and identify the best therapy for them.
There are two main reasons, among many others, why you have chosen to be a financial advisor:
- You like to establish and maintain relationships with clients and become a recognized expert by building credibility and trust.
- You want to achieve the higher purpose of helping people attain their financial goals, which can have a profound impact on the quality of their lives and those of their family members.
Because of the meaningful impact that your decisions exert on the lives of your clients, the same type of listening employed by a therapist must be applied to your client interaction. Mindful listening is the foundation of good communication, as it nourishes both the speaker and the listener.