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Frame Your Client...

client communication listening skills rapport

...Communication. We've all had clients who are reluctant to move forward with something. For example, sometimes clients are reluctant to move forward with mediation, not wanting to face the opposing party. That can bring up a lot of emotions, so they may not be at their best or get the best outcomes.

If you preframe, their focus can shift to a feature that makes it more palatable, or at least more tolerable. So, instead of them going into it with negative expectations, they can go in feeling empowered, focusing on something positive to work toward.

 A frame, in communication, is very much like you relate to a frame for a picture. Frames contain the content, and they also set the perspective. Where a picture frame might draw out specific colors while others fade, a frame in communication may draw out specific perspectives around the topic while others fade. So, it's a great tool to use in the second essential element, or step, of conversations - relating.

Agreement frames, another type of frame, are a way of relating by picking up on something the person has already said that you agree with, acknowledge, respect, etc, then, using rapport, expressing what needs to be said. When you do that, the client first feels heard, which goes a long way toward building, maintaining, and leveraging the influence of rapport.

The preframe and the agreement frame are two framing tools you can use to relate to the client. And by now, you also probably realize these are a lot easier if, first, you have used your best listening skills. Because without having used those first, you really don't have anything to relate to. If you have done well remembering information from previous conversations, however, you may be able to leverage the listening skills you used then and relate to that content.



Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

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