Why Listening To Clients Is ImportantJan 09, 2023
Listening to clients is a fundamental aspect of celebrancy. It is crucial for writing and delivering effective, meaningful ceremonies. You can develop the skill of cultivating small details from your meetings with families and using them to create incredible, moving and memorable events. Failing to listen means your ceremonies become generic and families might feel dissatisfied during these crucial life milestones. So, if you want to deliver high quality ceremonies at all times, the first thing we advise you to do is refine your listening skills. Here’s why it’s important.
It’s All About Them
Whether it be a funeral, baby naming ceremony or a wedding, the client is the central priority. This event is about them. Therefore, the ceremony should reflect as much of their personality, values and wishes as possible. Of course, there are limits to what you can achieve and so managing expectations is important. Listen to what they want, what their vision is, and then break this down into smaller achievable goals.
A great example of this is highlighted by Stuart in his Facebook video from December 2021. In this video, Stuart describes a meeting he had with a family ahead of a funeral where he learned that the deceased was a bird watching enthusiast. This information did not make its way into the script Stuart wrote. However, during the ceremony, a kite flew over the burial ceremony and Stuart noticed it. He felt this was a fitting moment to mention the kite and refer it back to the bird watching hobbies of the deceased. This added a nice touch to the ceremony, potentially bringing spiritual comfort to the family, and at the very least, letting the family know that they have been listened to.
Words and Phrases They Use
When you write a wedding script or a eulogy, you can listen to the client in a very particular way - by picking up on their specific words and phrases and incorporating these into your writing. How are they describing the deceased? What memories are they sharing? How are they reflecting on their journey as a couple? What did they think of each other when they first met? How do the couple describe each other? Use a notepad or a prepared questionnaire and listen out carefully for catchy words and phrases that can make their way into your script and help personalise the ceremony. It might be as simple as the family referring to someone by a particular nickname.
An example of this in action is described in another Facebook video uploaded by Stuart. He describes a funeral he took where the deceased was called Fred, however, upon arriving at the funeral it became quite clear that everyone knew him as John. Having this knowledge in advance would have helped Stuart to write the script as John, rather than Fred.
Could You Be A Celebrant?
Active listening skills are a fundamental part of celebrancy but also something you can train to do. Not everyone naturally listens in an engaged way, and so training in a professional environment led by real celebrants can help you to cultivate this skill. When you train with ICPC, we teach you how to do this.
There are many other skills celebrants need as well as active listening. You can read more about this on our blog post titled ‘5 traits every celebrant needs’.
You can also test yourself on your skills and attributes via our celebrant quiz.