A Little Conversation Goes a Long Way with Clients

GriefTalk can go a long way as a powerful tool on many levels when working with funeral home clients. Not only is it crucial in exchanging information, it also helps to convey emotions, thoughts and their meanings. It may seem that these four points are separate and act independently of one another, but this is seldom the case.

It may be prudent to you, as a funeral service provider, to remember that a mixture of words, thoughts and emotions are especially volatile during times of grief.

For instance, when retrieving information from your client, sometimes the most mundane question, such as an address, can trigger emotion. Grief comes unexpected, often uncontrollably. A few words of comfort can be just the right balm for your client’s pain. They may not always be able to express their gratitude for your kindness, as intense emotion can overcome our ability to organize thoughts, but they do notice a smile, your demeanor, words of comfort. In fact, they may decide to work with you as a result of your words — words that can make all the difference between a professional and sensitive exchange that result in a client well-served, or one who perceives insensitivity and walks out the door.

Visit www.right-writing.com to explore new phrases of condolence, to help keep your vocabulary fresh. Even though your clients may only hear you once, you will hear yourself every time you speak. If your words are tired to your ears, they likely will be tired to someone else’s ears as well.

Body language also can speak eloquently when words seem too harsh. Words are not always necessary and it is helpful to remember that what we don’t say is just as potent as what we do say. Making eye contact with someone lets them know that you are giving them your attention.

Those individuals who are in grief may need a sense of connection, something that re-threads what has been severed by the loss of a loved one. This re-connecting can be a tremendous service that you can provide simply by giving your client your full attention. This personal connection may be especially effective when going over the impersonality of paper-work. Although getting the correct information is very important, keep in mind that a piece of paper does not feel anything. It doesn’t laugh, think, grieve, or require your services. Only your client is capable of these things. The paper can wait. Practice looking up when asking questions, meet your client’s eyes and hold his or her gaze for an appropriate amount of time.

A great site that goes in-depth on body-language includes www.changingminds.org. Check it out for tips and pointers.

Finally, where does meaning come into communication? To help relate this to your business, try asking your clients for details or specifics. If, in choosing flowers, your client selects lilies, inquire further by asking if a particular color is preferred. The deceased may have loved yellow, disliked pink. By being thorough, you show that you care about what you do, that every client and their family matters. What more meaning can be found than in caring?

Not only is caring a powerful force to help break the tension of grief or the awkwardness, for many people, of arranging a funeral, it helps to provide quality of service, service undoubtedly remembered.

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