The Biggest Mistakes You Make When Communicating with Parents by: Kate Boyd, Guest Contributor Through my years in corporate communication, I’ve learned that communicating well is a gift you can give to others. When you don’t communicate strongly, you’ll leave parents confused and frustrated which immediately chips away at their trust in you. So try avoiding some of these common communication mistakes to build their confidence in you: Not Communicating At All Parents, like you, want to feel confident in what they’re doing and who they’re trusting their children to, but if you’re not communicating with them they’ll easily become restless. Get them into a rhythm by communicating on a regular day every week. Give them information they need to know about the week ahead and a couple of important dates or volunteer opportunities in the near future. Build a rapport and relationship with them, and any problems you may have will be much more easily resolved. Not Being Specific You’re a coach, so you’ve got a ton of information floating in your head. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that not everyone knows what we know. Parents don’t always have the same vocabulary or context of a situation that you may have. When you communicate with them, try to anticipate their questions and provide specific answers so they can feel confident they know what to do in every situation they may be in during the season. Not Bragging About Their Kid to Them I think every parent wants to know that they are doing a good job with their child and to nurture the talents and skills their child has. You can give them that. Even your most difficult cheerleader has something good about them. Make sure that when you communicate with their parents that you don’t just discuss the bad. Take some time to point out the good they do as well. Then make sure that you’re touching base with the parents of your “easy to handle” cheerleaders as well. That way parents don’t fear hearing from you. Not Listening To Them When a parent comes to you, they don’t always want or need a resolution right away … maybe not even at all. What they want is to be heard. They want to know that you have their child’s best interest at heart. So before you reply to their concerns or accusations, be sure that you’re listening to them‚ to what they say and what they mean. Don’t get defensive. Just listen, acknowledge that their feelings are okay, and show them that you want what’s best for their child. Then if the conversation needs more attention, make sure that you’re not explaining yourself from your point of view alone. Take into account their thoughts and feelings and adjust accordingly. Communicating well is not just a gift to parents. It’s a gift to yourself. Give it freely and you’ll be amazed at the results you see.