Worth Watching

Communicating with consumers about financial planning and the issues related thereto requires, in effect, that we translate a foreign language to and for them. Since dealing with financial matters is a daunting task, that emotional roadblock makes effective communication even more difficult. We must also listen to them and understand what they are communicating (or trying to communicate), even when they are less than clear. I often talk to and work with advisors who think that their communication with clients and prospects is two-way and open, even when it is not. It is all but impossible to ask too many open-ended questions and it is impossible to overestimate how important it is for advisors to listen not just to what is being said, but also for what is being withheld and to what is meant in a meeting with a consumer. Many of us are all too ready to go into “pitch mode” before we have heard the story the consumer needs to tell to give the background information we need to allow us to get into a position to be able to communicate the appropriate solution(s) to and for them. We need to know, fully and completely, what they are “sinking” in order to make the right recommendations and to make those recommendations stick.

Worth Watching

I have often written about the need to rely upon data rather than upon ideology as we seek to come to conclusions and make decisions amidst uncertainty and complexity.  Tim Harford looks at this subject in “Trial, Error and the God Complex” below.  His book — and it’s quite good — is Adapt.