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Portfolio > Mutual Funds

Communications Rules

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Top advisors communicate regularly and meaningfully with their top clients.

Here are some suggested rules for making those communications effective, as found in “The Ubiquitous Paradigms of Dialogue Are Pejorative,” Advantage Compendium, January 1999.

Communicate at the level of the receiver. A six-year-old eating dinner with her fingers is unlikely to respond to the suggestion that “It would facilitate the transmittal of the seeds from the legume by utilizing the pronged culinary utensil.” It would be much more effective to say: “It would be easier to eat the peas with a fork.” While this scenario may sound a bit far-fetched, it is a reminder of how easy it is to use “jargon-speak” with clients.

Communicate using the simplest words to convey the message. While you could tell clients that mutual funds purchase equity instruments in a geographically diverse portfolio of small-cap corporations, it is clearer to say that this mutual fund buys stock in a lot of small companies across the country. Use of simple words does not mean you have to dumb down your message, rather it conveys the exact meaning. Effective communication is applying the most appropriate language to the situation.

Ensure your message is understood. When you’re speaking with a client, stop talking on a regular basis to ask questions to confirm your listener understands what you are saying.

Communicate frequently through “touch points.” Send top clients articles or invitations to seminars, and provide research or advice from topic specialists. Implementing this system helps to keep the advisor in the forefront of the client’s mind, and positions the advisor as the first person to call when life events occur and the client is seeking guidance.


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