The book, Crucial Conversations, provides a blueprint for “power listening.” Clients under duress often need our help to open up and discuss their challenges and we are often their best source of objective feedback. To assist your client, follow this blueprint.

  • Ask: invite them to share their concerns when they are struggling to express them. This tactic shows genuine interest in your clients problem and will help create a trusting relationship.
  • Mirror: when non-verbal cues don’t sync with words. For example, “you say nothing is bothering you but you appear distraught”. Use non-verbal clues to decipher how your client is feeling.
  •  Paraphrase: share their concern in your words as they begin to open up, “so you are concerned about xyz deadlines”. This helps ensure that you and your client are on the same page.
  •  Prime: Take your best guess at what is causing the anxiety if they are still unable to express their concern.

Power listening with AMPPS can help us become a trusted advisor to the clients we serve. Master your stories to better engage with your client. It is often the “stories” (without having the facts) we tell ourselves about the motives of others that create strong emotions and when we act on them it can derail relationships. If the story is incorrect our emotions, and ensuing actions can be unconstructive. Suspending our stories until we have the facts can help us avoid these strong emotions and prevent us from acting them out in ways that damage client relationships.

Maintaining respectfulness with your client is key. Under stress we are all hard pressed to maintain composure. When we feel the heat, respectfulness in our tone of voice and body language is frequently the first thing that slips. Being disrespectful even when facing unfair criticism is an absolute and without it we lose all hope of a constructive client relationship.

Tips above are from Crucial Conversations by Joseph Grenny et al.