Doodles: Subtle Reminders of Your Expertise

Sue BerginSue Bergin

Some advisors remember the days when personal assistants used to sit in client meetings to take notes or record minutes. The purpose was primarily for practice management. The advisor had a tangible artifact from the meeting to remind him or her of what transpired and all outstanding items that needed attention. Clients typically did not see the documents.

Since roles in advisory firms have evolved, that practice has gone by the wayside. The artifacts we have now are primarily the plans, process documents, and recommendations prepared in advance of the meeting.

A recent article by FastCompany entitled, Google Venture’s Secret Mantra for Super-Productive Meetings, suggested that a way to increase the value of meetings is to “always be capturing”.

The article encourages readers to “Write or sketch anything that is important.  …  That way you’re not only engaging your conceptual sense, but your spatial thinking, too.”

The take-away from this article for advisors is to create artifacts for clients during the meeting, not just pre-meeting. Capture dialogue, strategies and concepts that come up and give clients something to take away with them.

One way to do this is to give yourself permission to constructively doodle. With the increasing popularity of whiteboard style videos – like this one for the Absolute Return Mixer App that helps advisors navigate the complexities of determining just how much of each clients’ portfolio should be allocated to absolute return investments – doodling is getting its due.

Doodling is a natural reaction that is hammered out of most of us in grade school. Successful financial advisors, however, have found that a constructive doodle helps keep the tone of a meeting light while advancing clients’ understanding of complex concepts.

shutterstock_91178330 [Converted]So, feel free to doodle away, and generously give your artwork to clients as a meeting artifact. If you are uncomfortable handing over a napkin, just click a picture of the napkin with your mobile device and e-mail it to clients as part of your routine follow-up.

Whether or not your client keeps the napkin or digital replica isn’t the point. The point is to facilitate learning, demonstrate your value and remind clients of your expertise.

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