Creative Connections & Client Communications
How do you Sound to your Clients?
As I train practicing astrologers practically every working minute of my life, I see so clearly the major hurdle that looms large in development and easily inhibits potentially fruitful, creative, intelligent astrologers from making the grade in client consultation. That hurdle is learning to “talk the horoscope” in people terms; to communicate to the client in a prescribed period of time an organized presentation of what is discovered through the consultation as important in their life development; to communicate with meaningful vocabulary, empathic and authoritative sound, and with imagery that will remain with the client ever after. –In short: to repeat, communicating the horoscope.
Whew! That’s a lot, of course; and that’s what separates the student from the pro; that’s what takes astrology from entertaining description to therapeutic significance.
It is not possible to achieve this poise and effectiveness with knowledge alone.
Indeed, if the astrologer as a human being has social concerns or problems, anxieties about being with and communicating with people in private life, this diffidence, this awkwardness and fear will carry over into enormous difficulties with the challenge of client communication. –If we are afraid to put ourselves forward, how can we ask someone to dance? I know a highly esteemed astrologer, a physicist/mathematician researcher type, who is simply unable to speak with people at all easily, and when he does, he is practically inaudible. I see him sitting in corners of lecture rooms dying a slow professional death. He has no practicable way to use his great knowledge.
Indeed, if the astrologer talks sloppily, with little understanding of word-choice power, correct grammar, and the aesthetics of conversation, no sentence is going to carry significance. Communication will be anchored to routined sloppiness. –Can we sell Pharmaceuticals to a doctor’s office without knowing the names of the medicines and presenting them intelligently? Can we really appreciate an Opera without knowing how to pronounce the title and knowing the difference among Soprano, Mezzo, Coloratura, if we can’t express recognition of emotions and aesthetic turns of phrase?
How can we expect to hold our client’s interest for an hour or so, if we have difficulty maintaining a good conversation for even five minutes?
Do we know that good narratives, good conversations, good sales presentations do have a beginning, a middle, and an end. This organization is part of the content, part of the meaning of the communication. The massage is part of the message.
Do we know what we sound like? --When we’re searching for a word or an idea, do we fill the time with “uhs”; sometimes with some of us, the filler rate is about one or more “uhs” every 6 seconds … believe me! –Is our voice too strong, too weak, un-modulated? Are we attractive to the ear?
Are we well read, studied enough in complementary fields (Social Psychology, Psychology, Marriage Counseling, Sexology, Starting a Business, Running a Business, Alcoholism, Health, Aging, etc.) to support our discussion with the client?
**I really want to suggest that an astrologer has to be an interesting person in order to attract and hold the client’s attention. There must be “things” in the eyes that sparkle. –I can not forget author Miles Harvey’s description of a particular librarian: “But behind a pair of glasses, her large blue eyes ache with intelligence and intensity.” [The Island of Lost Maps, page 12] This is what our clients are looking for! Otherwise, why would they come to see us?
Suggestions to help us grow in our profile and power as astrologers:
Use no astrological jargon whatsoever used during the consultation. Astrologers with little to say hide behind jargon. Clients don’t understand our jargon; when you are concerned about a medical condition, you don’t want an inscrutable medical lecture from your doctor. –My students are immediately amazed with the prohibition against jargon: suddenly the astrological mirror reflects meaningful light.
Prepare notes (mental of written) that organize the projected consultation discussion over a beginning, a middle development, and an ending [Please review “The Last Five Minutes”; Essays, Counseling, Archives: August 2001.] The consultation is not an open-ended “cracker-barrel” discussion of feelings; it’s an orderly overview of development with the goal of objectification and understanding and projection.
Tape a Consultation: Count the “uhs”; note how long it took to say something important? Is the discussion organized? How involved is the client? What “creative connections” did we miss by not listening carefully to what the client was saying? How strong were our summaries of the conversation points? What did our client get out of the consultation? How did our voice sound? Too authoritative; not authoritative enough; unpleasant; dumb; involved and eager?
What do we really need to improve on –and isn’t it about time that we did that? What about outside specialist reading and study to give real substance to what we are discussing? Patience in the discussion? Staying in charge of the discussion to avoid it spilling over the best time-span of an hour or an hour and a quarter?
What did we get out of the consultation?
Review the 22,000 words of essays under the “Counseling” Department of this website!
Astrology is no longer a hobby; it is a major profession with conspicuous benefits: we work at home, we are our own boss. And the grand responsibilities we shoulder should stimulate our quest to be the best astrologer we can be!
Next Update: May 31, 2002