Communicate with impact and see increased 
Trust, engagement and efficiency 

"Since one of my colleagues attended the Communicate for Impact Course, I have definitely noticed an improvement in her writing, overall structure and presentation.

Paraplanners can often focus too heavily on the technical aspect of the job but the ability to translate that expertise is crucial so that clients can make an informed decision. I’m delighted to have seen such noticeable results and am encouraging the rest of my team to follow her lead." 

Richard Allum, Director
The Paraplanners

“I’d been struggling for a while with knowing where to start when explaining a technical concept then Melissa showed me how to begin so that the client cares about what we’re saying and can easily understand it, which I applied. 

I now don’t have to spend so long writing multiple drafts as I have used the Translation Toolbox to create useful wording which I have saved for future use. Whenever I’m not sure where to start, it is now my go-to resource." 

Zoe Flynn, Paraplanner
 Unity Paraplanning

Some clients I have worked with:

Why Communicate with impact NOW?

To improve your clients' experience and build trust 

The FCA says when communicating with clients, you must pay due regard to their information needs and do this in a way that’s clear, fair and not misleading.

With so much technical language in the financial services world, how can you be sure that what your team (with their expertise) is conveying to your client (without that expertise) is clear communication, unless you spend a lot of time checking the reports?

This course provides step by step guidance to help you and your team translate technical concepts into simple terms, This builds trust and delivers a great client experience.

To embed clear communication into your culture

 “We want to see the fair treatment of vulnerable customers embedded as part of a healthy culture throughout firms…. senior leaders should create and maintain a culture that enables and supports staff to take responsibility for reducing the potential for harm to vulnerable customers.”  The FCA 

Putting your team through the programme demonstrates your commitment to creating this culture in your business. They will build the skills and knowledge they need to adapt their communication for different people’s needs, ensuring vulnerable clients are treated fairly. 

 

To reduce your risk of complaints and claims

When communication is clear, concise and client friendly, everyone (even the client’s children) can follow the advice, helping to put the client in an informed position to make their decisions.

This can lessen the risk of complaints and claims against the business as the client fully understands what's being recommended and, crucially, why it’s right for them.

To help your firm stand out

A recent FCA study found that only 39% of UK adults trust financial advisers to act in their best interest. I believe that's partly down to the amount of technical jargon that's used. Communicating in a way that’s clear, concise and client friendly means you stand out from the crowd. 

Not only that, people buy from people. When you build great relationships with clients through clear communication, they’re far more likely to recommend you to others. Great communication skills help to build your business for the future!


Impactful communication isn’t about what you say or write, it’s about what people DO afterwards

Hi I'm Melissa Kidd, I have worked with thousands of professionals in financial services to help them communicate in a way that’s clear, concise and compliant. 

My rare blend of marketing, psychology and financial services experience helps those who work in big and small firms to communicate with impact. 

But communication wasn't always something I was good at. So I've learnt a lot about what does and doesn't work...
My first job was tough.

 Can you imagine how hard it is to get people to care about soil?!
I worked for the main organic food and farming certification body in the UK called Soil Association. 

The job involved distilling complex concepts into consumer-friendly messages. My documents would come back full of crossed out text and paragraphs that I’d painstakingly created, deleted. It was so hard, so deflating and frustrating. 

I used to think the way I write is the way I write and it’s up to the reader to glean meaning from it. And I didn't have much influence over how it lands or resonates.  But I realised that wasn’t the case. And I became increasingly interested in the power of words so studied applied psychology. 

I could see that when we communicate well, we convey more meaning, are more successful and get more done. But when we don’t, we can feel isolated, frustrated and everything takes longer. 
 
Fast forward to 2006, I had trained to be a coach as I wanted help others to communicate more effectively. I launched myself into the world, naively assuming that everyone knew what coaching was.

Boy was I wrong.

Not only that, we were in a financial crash, I had no experience of coaching, no contacts and no marketing budget. I would go to endless horrendous networking events, where people with bad breath would stand too close and try and sell me things I didn’t want or need.

But I wasn’t much better. 

People's eyes would often glaze over when I would talk about my work. Having learnt so much about what didn’t work, surely what did work had to be around the corner...

Fast forward a few more more years, with a lot of hard-won experience, many books and courses under my belt, and the help of some mentors, I developed my own communication method.

It helped to build trust and drive engagement and could be applied both when speaking and writing – particularly when the subject matter is technical. 

This caught the attention of the finance sector: I worked with HSBC, speaking at a number of their conferences. Then the Chartered Insurance Institute found me on Linked In and I did a huge amount of communication training for that industry.

And a few years back, I began working with the Personal Finance Society (PFS) - speaking at conferences and working with their members.  And have now developed this programme.

In putting it together, I have collaborated with Caroline Stuart to ensure it's technically robust. She is a qualified Financial Planner (up to level 6) , has over 20 years experience. And is a fellow of the PFS.

What successful communicators do differently... 
They...

Know their audience. 

This comes from listening and recognising what they care about. They know a one-size fits all approach rarely works.
 They have a good understanding of their audience's level of experience in the subject matter.

And they wouldn’t dream of sending out something that included irrelevant information.

Prioritise engagement

They are clear about what they want their reader or listener to do after they’ve heard or read their message. 

 They can encourage clients to follow through this without being pushy. And they are acutely aware how easily clients can get overwhelmed and switch off.

Build trust

They are able to reassure their client they are in safe hands – not by bamboozling them with jargon and complicated concepts. But by making them feel safe and unafraid to ask questions. They are able to strike a balance between friendly and professional.

Translate technical concepts into client-friendly language

They are able to flex according to their reader’s experience. They have a number of tools so they know where to start and when to stop. 



Equip people to make decisions

They know the criteria and information clients need to make an informed choice. They are clear on the difference between what they need vs nice to know.

They also have an appreciation of how people can process information so they structure their information so that it is easily absorbed. 


Introducing...
 COMMUNICATE FOR IMPACT
VIRTUAL COURSE

6 steps to increased engagement, trust and efficiency

The online course is specifically designed for paraplanners, financial planners and advisers as well as support staff, who want to increase their efficiency and confidence through simpler, clearer and more engaging client communications.

The programme has 6 modules:
Attention
Action
Articulate
Axe
Assemble
Assimilate
 Each module includes video, downloadable tools, skill-building assignments, feedback and support to ensure your communications are
 concise, client friendly and compliant.

This is for you and your team if...

You're frustrated at the amount of time spent checking reports. 
You want to increase your efficiency and reduce the hours spent per case. 
You don't have the time or the skill to train your team to improve their communication skills. But you want a consistent approach to your client communications.
You’re stuck when it comes to ideas on training your staff to take a more client centric style and approach. You want to embed it within your culture. 
You and your team have capacity
Estimate 12 hours over 3 months as typically each module takes 2 hours.


The 6 step programme includes...

Module 1: ATTENTION
make sure people read what you write 

  • ​How to begin your emails so that your reader will read on
  • ​Use marketing techniques to gain and hold attention without sounding gimmicky and unprofessional
  • ​Recognise the 2 most important principles in getting attention so that you spend less time chasing and more time adding value 
  • ​Use three methods to convert a quick glance into more minutes of your reader’s time
  • ​Avoid 3 common mistakes which lead to letters, emails and reports going unopened or relegated down the priority list.

Tool

The Attention Aid
 

"I had never really given much thought to the email title - I will be implementing this immediately!" 
Course participant

"Before I started the programme, I felt that getting a timely response from clients was something that we had little control over. However, it has helped me to change how I title my emails and make requests, which has achieved a faster turnaround while managing
 their expectations" Course participant

Module 2 - ACTION
get faster responses without chasing 

  •  How to ask someone to do something so that they are more likely to actually do it.
  • ​The two important words that can transform the success rate of your requests 
  • ​How to avoid chasing clients more than once (which is frankly awkward) so that you can get more done
  • ​Recognise what stops clients taking action so that you can avoid making these mistakes and getting frustrated by inaction
  • ​Use the pre-made, done-for-you sentence structures for your most typical requests 

Tool

The faster-response framework  

“I often found chasing up information difficult – how do you ask again for the information without sounding blunt or impatient? Now I can construct emails chasing for information in a new really effective way. As a result, I’m getting much faster responses and replies without needing to chase.”
Course participant

"I’d been struggling for a while with getting one particular client to respond to information requests. After using what I had learnt in the ‘Action’ module of the course, where Melissa showed me how to restructure my request, I received a response the next day." 
Course participant

Module 3 - ARTICULATE
convey technical concepts so that clients understand them first time

  •  How to strike the right balance between clear, concise and client friendly
  • ​Avoid writer’s block by knowing where to begin when explaining a technical concept
  • ​How to break the habit of writing in a formal, passive voice
  • ​4 step process to convey a bite-sized point
  • ​How to turbo charge your explanations for maximum understanding
  • ​Brain-based techniques used by teachers to help learners process unfamiliar concepts
  • ​How to be clear, not simply clever
  • ​Use 7 powerful ways to illustrate technical concepts.
  • ​Avoid 3 key mistakes which cause confusion take time to clarify

Tools

The Translation Tool box
The Readability Test

"Before the course I was worried I would come across as patronising if I didn't write in a more technical manner. I am now reading everything and reorganising several times in my head. Cringing at some of the previous reports! 

Since completing the course, my clients and colleagues have noticed a big difference: they are more client focused, easy to read and straight forward to implement."
Course participant

"This module really brought home how much unnecessary jargon we use in the industry. The assignment forced me to break down what we are saying into a more client friendly way. This will definitely help build client understanding and trust."
Course participant

Module 4 - AXE
know what to leave out so that communications are compliant, concise and clear

  •  Test your decision-making skills in a range of scenarios so that you can be compliant and confident in what you’re leaving out
  • ​Avoid writing unnecessarily long reports so you can save time and get more done
  • ​How to edit your writing so that it is concise and client friendly
  • ​How to easily spot mistakes so that you avoid sending out documents with errors which can damage your professionalism
  • ​Avoid making the one big mistake that will slow you down when writing.

Tools
Axe-edit-proof checklist 

"As someone new to the industry, the Axe module boosted my confidence with regards to what we need to include to be compliant. I’m now covering everything I should be, but not in too much detail to overwhelm the client." Course participant

"I used to write then edit and re-edit all at the same time. I am now seeing the benefit of writing and then leaving and coming back to it later, with a fresh pair of eyes.  It takes less time and I'm better at spotting mistakes."
Course participant

Module 5 - ASSEMBLE
structure & layout so that your readers keep reading

  • How to apply 5 simple principles to guide and engage your reader without using expensive design software 
  • ​How to draw attention to your key points so that they don’t get lost or ignored
  • ​How to recognise common mistakes
  • ​How to structure emails so that they are easy to follow, easy to understand and easy to action

Tool

Assemble checklist 

"This course is more about substance rather than style. Although we do have a house style, I’ve still learnt a lot in terms of how to structure and explain technical concepts. This means our reports are more engaging and easily understood by clients while still in keeping with our house style.”
Course participant

"Even if you have a templates and think you can write – you will get so much benefit from this practical course. It’s full of financial services examples, which make the ideas really easy to apply." Course participant

Module 6 - ASSIMILATE
consolidate, integrate & set up habits

  •  Reinforce mindsets
  • ​Reflect on your learnings
  • ​Revisit the principles 
  •  Remind yourself of the key points
  • ​Set up good habits to integrate into your day and see lasting results

Tool

The Communicate for Impact toolkit

My employer has noticed an improved confidence to my communications. Since I have dropped ‘trying to sound professional and technical’ with clients, I am coming across as far more personable and easier to communicate with. 
 I feel more confident too in the knowledge that I do not need to fill reports with unnecessary jargon and technical terms. I am always thinking: ‘does the client NEED to know this? And would my mum understand it?’ 
Course participant

One of the biggest benefits of this programme is that it's specific to Paraplanners. I would be extremely reluctant to spend money on a 1 day course – what can you realistically learn in just a day?  

You need time to absorb, implement, obtain feedback etc. The fact the programme is over a number of weeks, with feedback is invaluable."
Course participant

"Before the course, I struggled to communicate complex, technical terms and concepts efficiently. This would knock my confidence and make me doubt myself – even though I knew what I was talking about!

Now I can quickly describe terms and concepts – making my communication much more client focused. These helpful  techniques have really boosted my confidence and efficiency.

I have had some good feedback from colleagues when proofing my reports and know that my reports are better understood by the end client."

Becci Jones, Paraplanner
THE PARAPLANNERS



“I’d been struggling for a while with getting one particular client to respond to information requests. After using what I had learnt in the ‘Action’ module of the course, where Melissa showed me how to restructure my request, I received a response the next day. This course really brought home how much unnecessary jargon we use in the industry. The assignments forced me to break down what we are saying into a more client friendly way. This will definitely help build client understanding and trust.” 

Charlotte Rigg, Paraplanner
Financial Management Bureau Ltd

How do the assignments work? 
Get feedback to ensure you're ontrack
After each module, you'll be asked to submit instances of you using the new techniques. Typically, you’ll send in three before and after examples.

Once approved, the next module will be released. The reason it's set it up like this is because it’s often only when you start to apply something, questions can emerge. Depending on the option you go for, you can ask these questions during the live coaching calls. It also means I can offer you constructive tailored feedback.

“It’s only when you do the assignments you realise how much you over use certain words and that these words may not mean much to your client”

Before

This is how one participant would have made a request before the course:

Please provide the following information required for your new investment:

After

This is what was submitted for the action assignment

In order to progress your Octopus AIM ISA transfer with the objective of improving your Inheritance tax position, please provide the following information:

My suggested feedback
 
To improve your inheritance tax position, please provide the following information, so that we can transfer your Octopus AIM ISA:

Before

This is how one participant would have articulated a concept to a client with limited investment experience, before the course:

A reduced allowance of £4,000 has been introduced for individuals who choose to flexibly access their pension savings under the new rules and the ability to carry-forward unused allowance from earlier tax years is also removed.

Note: the new MPAA is not triggered where funds are designated into FAD where tax-free cash only is taken with no income.
Therefore, due to the UFPLS payments, the reduced MPAA of £4,000 will now apply to your pensions.

After

This is what was submitted for the articulate assignment:

As you have taken money from your pension, the amount you can put into pensions each year will be reduced to £4,000. Going forward, you will also not be able to use any unused allowances from earlier years.

My suggested feedback
 
As you have taken money from your pension, the amount you can put into pensions will be limited to £4,000 each year. 

Please note that any unused allowances from previous years cannot be carried over.

How do the Q&A calls work? 
supportive fortnightly hour-long sessions...
The purpose of these are to celebrate successes, address any challenges, discuss any points with your colleagues. They also act as a deadline to keep you accountable. They are held fortnightly via Zoom, are 1 hour long plus they are recorded so you can watch again at your own convenience.
What if...
Our reports and letters are compliant, so I don’t want to change them
I understand there can be reluctance to alter templates for fear of non compliance.

The AXE module focuses  on compliance so you can be confident that you're including the required information. The course focuses on the building blocks of engaging and client friendly communication.  What participants find is that they're making the same points but phrased in a way which prioritises the client and as a result gets better engagement and builds greater trust.

Lots of technical professionals struggle to communicate complex concepts to those that have limited financial experience because they are not experts in how people learn or process information. In fact the more you know the harder it becomes to convey that to non experts.


What if...
I already have a house style that we need to follow 
That's fine, please still follow it. I focus more on substance rather than style.  For example I’m not going to insist you use contractions (can’t rather than cannot). In the ASSEMBLE module I do give some suggestions for layout to increase the likelihood that your reports will get read but the majority of the modules are about 
the building blocks of communication – the substance rather than the style

What if...
My clients have varying levels of investment experience - I don't want to patronise
 them by dumbing everything down.  
And you absolutely shouldn't! The number one rule of communication is to know your audience.  You need to tailor your writing to your reader's level and pitch it so that they can follow your advice and make informed decisions. If your clients are experienced investors then you will communicate in a  very different way when compared to someone with very little.  The trouble is developing this range and flexibility takes skill and practice.  This course helps to develop that skill.
What if...
I'd like to sample some material before signing up?
I'd recommend you watch the "How to Get Faster Responses without Chasing" webinar. This forms part of the Action module.  You can sign up for the FREE session here. It runs regularly.

Guarantee 

This course is designed to get you results. If for any reason you are not thrilled with the content and the potential impact it will have in your business, I will refund your tuition 100% within the first 30 days. No hoops. Just send me an email.
WAYS WE CAN WORK TOGETHER
the materials are the same: the support is different
Clearer, concise and more client-friendly communication begins here...
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