With COVID-19 creating a time of uncertainty and fear, the following can only be applied if and only if you’ve first reached out to clients with empathy. Ask if everyone is OK and establish if now is a good time to talk business by asking targeted questions to identify needs. Only then can the following be applied.
How can you help motivate clients to listen to your message and act upon your advice, especially in a time of crisis?
It can be hard in times of turmoil to focus on your goals. In a crisis our objectives can seem even more unreachable and perhaps no longer even relevant. So how can you help your clients re-evaluate their business objectives, identify new more realistic goals, and motivate them to meet those goals in a chaotic time? Ask them this one question.
“What do you want to avoid?”
It can be a powerful question and the first step to set up a new kind of partnership in this surreal environment.
Now more than ever, people need connection and the ability to talk about their concerns and fears. They need to know they’re in good hands and that someone is out there helping them and caring about them.
People are also more apt to motivate to move away from fear than towards pleasure. While fear isn’t a good long-term motivator, in the short term, in a time of uncertainty and change, identifying fears and working to get away from them can feel empowering. Sometimes just identifying the fear, and saying it out loud can help someone realize what they need to do to find success.
By asking “What do you want to avoid”…
- You can work to find solutions away from the fear and therefore towards the goal.
- You can make yourself a partner and a motivator.
- You can provide reassurance and further solidify trust.
Here’s an example:
I was working with a CFO of a major financial institution who was going on MSNBC for the first time. I saw him walking towards the conference room and it was clear everyone he passed showed respect. He was someone in charge who was used to getting things done effectively. He walked into the room and told me he didn’t need Media Training but wanted to “brush up” so he could just practice a few mock interviews.
I asked him what his goals were for the interview and his answer was that he wanted to provide insight on the topic. We did a round or two of practice interviews and I could tell he wasn’t really paying attention and just wanted to get the training over with to appease his boss. So I stopped. I told him I had one final question to ask him and I wanted an honest answer. “Tell me what you’re afraid of with this interview?”
He was taken aback, but he thought for bit and then said, “I don’t want to appear like I don’t know the answer or that I’m not confident.”
Once I knew what he wanted to avoid, I was in a better position to help him. I told him I could work with him on ways to appear more confident and that I could teach him a tool to tackle tough questions and get him back to his message. I assured him I wouldn’t leave until he felt truly secure and that I would be available to practice with him right before the interview.
Now I was a partner to help him get through this. I was a safety net and credible resource with proven techniques that could help him move away from his fear and towards his goal.
Asking “what do you want to avoid” can put you on a path to better help your clients, cement trust and provide movement to motivate.
Information can change minds, but emotions can change actions. Currently emotions are at a fever pitch, so don’t ignore how clients are feeling! Instead show clients how you can work on a solution together to avoid what’s keeping them up at night. Even the assurance that you’re there to help, can make someone feel protected, in good hands and taken care of. In these difficult times who doesn’t want that?
Amy Fond is a Media trainer and Presentations Coach with Cameron Communications www.mediatrainer.tv For more information visit her Linked-In page at www.linkedin.com/in/amyfond or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org