Doula Business, The Best Communicators are the Best Listeners

Posted on: June 8, 2018 | Doula Business, Doula Inspiration Woman on phone

After taking a doula training, one of the first things on any new doula’s mind is how to find doula clients. And the answer lies in being one of the best communicators possible!

You want to help improve birth and the postpartum period, and you know that you could do it, if only you could convince all the expectant parents in your area that they need you!

But wait!

Before you go forth and tell everyone all about yourself, and your new doula business consider this: there is no magic phrase to attract pregnant people to you. In fact, truly effective communicators aren’t focused on what to say at all.

The best communicators are busy listening.

Wondering how to apply this to attracting clients? Here are five tips for listening when talking to potential doula clients:

1. Ask open-ended questions.

“Have you heard of a doula?” is a yes or no question, and it’s all about you. But asking “How’s your pregnancy going?” keeps the focus on your client. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn this way!

2. Don’t memorize a “pitch” or what to say.

Your goal is to learn all about this fascinating pregnant person, or new parent. You don’t need to say the “right thing” to them. Have a conversation, don’t recite a speech, and you’ll quickly see how you can support them.

3. Slow down.

It often takes people time to form their thoughts. When you’re answering the phone, or talking during a consult, be comfortable with pauses. You don’t have to fill them. Just keep listening. A lot is actually communicated in silence. You can hear fear and hesitation, or give someone the opportunity to make up their mind.

4. Don’t assume that you know what clients want.

Just because someone is looking for a doula, doesn’t mean that they want a “natural” unmedicated birth, or to be an attachment parent. Explore their goals. Phrases like, “Tell me more about that”, and “What I think you mean is…” can help you reflect back on what you think you heard.

5. Listen to understand, not to react.

Not only is this a fundamental part of active listening, it gets to the heart of what we do as doulas. Birth and the postpartum period aren’t problems for us to fix. They’re experiences that we escort our clients through. To do that, we must know what they’re truly going through.

When you’re listening, make sure that you’re helping your client work through what they want.

Unsolicited advice and unwanted opinions are some of the worst side effects of pregnancy.

You might be the only one who truly listens to them that day, and they will be so grateful.

These are skills you probably already have, or you wouldn’t be a doula. So why do we stop listening?

It can be so easy, in our excitement about birth, and our eagerness about this amazing career, to just start talking. We call this puking birth, and it’s overwhelming to the average person.

Or, we fall into the trap of thinking that we have to prove our knowledge to clients. This dynamic can continue as we work with them. If we fall into this trap, rather than truly hearing our clients, we’ll end up talking to them about our handouts, blogs, and recommendations. This makes the conversation about what we think they should know.

Resist these urges, doulas!

Just like your client’s births and parenting aren’t about you, neither are conversations with them. To be amongst the best communicators, be curious, and stay in the moment. You’ll be amazed at how much people love you, when they get to talk about themselves.

So listen closely doulas! As you connect, attune and empathize, you’ll find that your business grows and your work is fulfilling. The number one way to grow your doula business is to listen to all the pregnant people you can find.

Samantha Griffin is the owner of  DC Metro Maternity and a member of the ProDoula Training & Development Team