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Last week’s Personal Finance Virtual Learning Event was a wonderful experience with so many great resources and experiences shared during each of the webinars.

If you missed the it, the 3-day learning event was focused around the ways we can listen, understand and process the information our clients give us so that we can better help them shape their financial futures. Learn more and find the recordings of each session here.

Our team shared a number of tools, resources and screenshots from the webinars on Twitter. See them here.

But the richest part of the 3-day series was the resources, tools and experiences you, our webinar participant, shared. Below you can review these wonderful resources, and if we left any out, please share with us in the comments.

Assessments and tools:


Phrases and methods used to get clients to talk:

  • “Tell me more about that”
    “Help me understand…”
  • “Why is that important to you?”
    “How is that working for you?”
    Have clients jot down quick notes about thoughts and feelings that pop up as they’re working on their “homework” exercises can be very helpful for our conversations and to furthering their self-awareness and self-understanding.
  • I turn command referrals back around on them, “if you HAVE to be here, how about we try and allow you to get something out of it? What would you like to take away from today?”
  • I may let them know their command must care about them if they are making them come here
  • For me, part of that is relating and communicating with my client in a way that communicates my perspective that they are capable.

Phrases and ways to demonstrate empathy:

  • Repeat what they said
  • Paraphrasing
  • Leaning in
  • “How can I show up for you?”
  • Active listening, eye contact, offer support
  • “If I understand…”
  • Positive body language
  • Ask the client what they want to happen
  • Use their name
  • “I heard you say”
  • “I would like to hear more about that
  • Allow them to talk and not cut them off
  • Just let them talk and don’t anticipate.
  • I  do not have a desk in between me and my client to help them feel comfortable
  • Ask clarifying questions if you’re unsure. It often pulls out more details.
  • You also have to keep in mind when working with a couple that you are reaching both of them not just one of them
  • “Sounds like this is difficult”
  • Sometimes my idea of a “happy ending” is not the client goal
  • Give them something to leave with, usually a credit report or a budget makes them feel better about the meeting.
  • The physical setting has a strong effect, and can be a very positive experience framework for the client-counselor conversation.  One of my goals in setting up the space is to allow the client to choose the chair (seats are the same, not better/different).
  • I like having a diffuser that puts out nice smells and create a warm environment; I have vibrant plants, pictures and cards…birthdays, thank you cards, etc. it seems to make clients feel warm and they really like the feel of the room
  • I actually purse my lips together while they are talking to remind myself and that also makes me use “Hmmms” and attentive vocal cues rather than words.
  • Some cultures will not hold eye contact with superiors, new people, etc. Alaska Natives tend not to hold eye contact and it is seen as lack of confidence but for them it is respect.