Initial Meetings with Clients

When first impressions count !

Adherence to the proper etiquette for an initial meeting with an end client (school, hospital etc) meeting establishes respect among meeting professionals and helps future working practices and relationships. It also fosters an atmosphere of cooperation. A lack of etiquette and poor planning are two of the main reasons why many contracts can fail early on for independent SLTs.

SaLT jobs are here to support you with meeting etiquette and to ensure that your interactions are effective.

1. Arrive Early (No Excuses)

Arrive to the location of the meeting at least 15 minutes early. This shows respect and allows you to find a seat and get situated before the day starts.

2. Introductions

The end client should support you with an initial caseload of the meeting should circulate a meeting agenda in advance. Therapists should call the client to introduce themselves at least 48 hours prior to the meeting times as well.

3. Be Thoroughly Prepared

Each therapist should come to the meeting with all of the materials and data she will need and an understanding of the meeting topic. The whole purpose of the meeting is to discuss the client base at hand. You’ve wasted everyone’s time if you are not prepared to contribute.

4. Follow the Dress Code

SaLT jobs will indicate what kind of attire is required for the position, either casual or formal, and participants should follow that rule.

5. Speak in Turn

Speech Therapists are highly skilled in interactions. Keep the meeting organised by only speaking when it is your turn. Do not interrupt someone while they are speaking or asking a question. Assert your skills and experience without being confrontational and do not assume you are the arbiter of best practice.

7. Listen, Really Listen

You may find that many of the questions you have about a client are answered by the content of the initial meeting. Listen attentively to the meeting and take notes. Active listening is respectful and gives you a solid base for formulating your response.

8. Keep Calm

Avoid nervous habits such as tapping a pen on the table, making audible noises with your mouth, rustling papers or tapping your feet on the floor. This is distracting to others and makes you look anxious, even if you are not.

9. Be Polite With Your Phone

Turn off your phone prior to the start of the day. If you are expecting an urgent call, then set your phone to vibrate and excuse yourself from the meeting if the call comes in.