There are all kinds of reasons it may be difficult to connect with your client. Whether your client is much older than you or comes from a different culture, it is important to find a way to connect and engage. In no way will you be able to read their minds, the same way you can't read anyone else's! Connecting with your client will result in better satisfaction, improved goal achievement and helping your client to feel valued and cared for. Here are five things you can do to help bridge the gap.
Listen With Intensity
Active listening is a skill that may be easy to understand but difficult to put into practice. However, active listening is a sign of respect, offers support to your client and is a basic ingredient in empathy.
Make Eye Contact, And Keep It
Your client wants to know you're interested in what they're saying, hear what they're saying, and recognize that it's coming out of their mouth. All too often, home care providers can get busy with other tasks, and while you might be listening with both ears, it appears as if you aren't. Keeping eye contact communicates to your client that you are empathetic, patient and are listening to what they have to say.
Find Something in Common
In truth, many ties bind humanity together. You may have a hobby in common with your client, come from the same part of the country, enjoy some of the same food or know some of the same people. These little ways of connecting help to build strong emotional bonds that grow trust between you; asking small questions about your client’s interests, hobbies, where they've come from, or even the food they enjoy, can help to build that foundation.
Ask Your Client Questions to Build On
Nearly everyone likes to talk about themselves. Ask open-ended questions that encourage your client to talk about their health, their habits, and interests. This helps give you insight into how you can help them reach their health goals as well as connect with them on a deeper level.
Offer Personal Warmth
Some of your clients may enjoy a hug, a touch on the hand, or an arm around the shoulder. Others may interpret personal warmth from being approachable and down-to-earth or expressing kindness and a good sense of humor. However, it all starts with a smile and using your clients' names. As you're asking questions, ask for the name your client prefers to be called. Some may enjoy the prefix Mr. or Mrs., while others will want you to call them by their first name. Using their name and a smile is almost always an instant ice breaker and a critical step in forging a connection with your client that can help them achieve their health goals.
Practice Makes Perfect
Remember, you will not be an expert the first time you practice these skills. However, as the adage says, practice will get you closer to perfect. Practice good communication skills, asking questions and engaging in good eye contact. Before you know it, you'll see improvements and the skills will become effortless. At Harmony, we can help coach you through the practice until your performance is close to perfect. Contact our professional recruiters today and let’s get started!