As an educator in the continuing education setting, I occasionally get a participant in one of my seminars who seems resistive to what I’m sharing. While I’ve not had any full-blown hecklers (I’m confident that that day will come) but I have had a few who seem utterly unimpressed by my approach. Most times, I’m able to roll pretty well, but occasionally someone rocks me more than I wished.
The following happened a few months ago.
I was teaching one my MFR for Neck, Voice, and Swallowing Disorders Seminars and had just finished performing a demonstration of some manual therapy to the anterior neck region. While I’m not sure what the person’s issues were I believe that they were voice-related.
There appeared to me to be someone in the group who impressed me as someone who was not buying what I was selling. The arms-crossed posture may have been my first clue.
It was the second day of the seminar, and many demos had already been completed, as well as a fair amount of one-on-one learning time. My demo model sat up form the table, and we were fielding comments and questions from the group as a whole. She had shared how the hands-on work I applied felt and how she felt after the quick session, as compared to how she felt before. Again, details are lost, but I remember her saying how she thought it was easier to speak and felt an internal sense of change (my goal!).
At this point, the arms-crossed skeptic raised his hand and asked, “would you pay for that? Would you pay for what he just did with you?”
It’s not common knowledge that I can have some anxiety issues, one of which is fueled by self-doubt. Arms-crossed pushed my self-doubt button big time. But I kept my anxiety in check, and shot arms-crossed a bit of a dark look before turning my head to my demonstration model, who thought for a few moments and said, “yeah, I think I would.” My anxiety meter dropped down a bit after that response and, as my model spoke as to why she answered the question the way that she did, I thought a bit about the question. Damnation to crossed-arms rather quickly turned into respect.
People pay us for what we do, whether their insurance is paying some or all of the bill or the patient reaching into their purse or wallet to pay us directly. So, why wouldn’t that be a fair question? No matter who is paying the bill, our work should be of sufficient value that people would pay for it. It turned out that arms-crossed was spot on when it came to asking the tough (though accurate) question. When someone gets up out of my chair or off of my table, they should be noting changes; change in what brought them into my office. Those changes need to be apparent and lasting, or I’m not delivering a valuable commodity. While I tell new patients that they should be noticing lasting, positive changes within three sessions at most, I like the notice change immediately. Immediate alteration in whatever they came to see me for allows their brain to begin a process of change, with the potential being quickly noted and the potential for progress as real. Those are the expectations I place on myself and for the work that I teach to others. So why shouldn’t we be asking those tough questions?
Would you pay for that?