Tomorrow is parent conference day in my county and I can’t help but be reminded of some advice given by Seth Godin two years ago at the Chik-fil-a Leadercast. He discussed the importance of keeping his customers on the line as long as possible and suggested that educators try the same philosophy with parents. Seth believed that the longer you keep someone on the phone the more you learn about them and the more you learn about them the better you can serve them. I believe we can do the same with parents on parent conference day or any other day for that matter.
Oftentimes in our rushed world we are in a hurry because we feel that we must get to the “next big thing”. How many times have we rushed meetings or phone calls just so we can get to the next thing on our to do list? I, like Seth, believe we need to start doing the opposite. Next time you are speaking to a parent, make every effort, within reason, to speak with them as long as possible. In the process you are going to learn more about that parent and more importantly, their child, your student. You will build trust with parents that will pay dividends ten times over.
The author Irving Becker once said, “If you don’t like someone, the way they hold their spoon makes you furious; if you like them, they can turn their plate over into your lap and you won’t mind.”
Remember, to a parent that trusts you, you can do no wrong. On the other hand, a parent that does not trust you, well…..