How To Turn A Meeting Into A Moment

Posted by Mike Foster: (Twitter: @mikefoster) So I like to meet people at Starbucks and I have my little table there. I order my Grande Mocha, extra whip cream, and I sit down to prepare for my upcoming conversation. How can I turn grabbing a coffee into a life changing appointment? How can you too start to set yourself up for turning a meeting into a moment?

When sitting down with a friend, leader or someone who reached out for help, the first thing we do is turn our phone upside down. You see the iPhone represents the rest of the world and everything else trying to get your attention. Every time you pick up it, you send a very strong message to the person across the table: you are not the most important thing to me right now.

Upside phone means you are my priority. You have my total attention. So lets do this. Then assess which category this conversation is going to fall into. And that’s based on the three different types of people you could encounter in a typical coaching or counseling meeting.

First, there are “The Broken." These are people who are sad, grieving or hurting. Their loss is right on the surface. The heartbreak is all over them. And their biggest question is, “Is this ever going to end?” They are mostly looking for comfort and companionship.

The second type of person I meet with is what I call “The Open.” This is a person who is ready for change. They feel low-grade frustration or dissonance in their life. They want transition. Their biggest question is, “Is it possible to change?” These folks mostly need affirmation and direction. They’re ready. They just feel stuck.

And trickiest person you meet with will be this third type. I call this group of people “The Moated.” They are like a castle with the drawbridge up surrounded by a moat filled with crocodiles. Sometimes they are really great likable people. Their moat is a smile or a cheerful, “I’m good. What’s going on with you?” But you can tell, they are tired. They are not sharing themselves, they are protecting themselves.

Once you determine what type of person you’re sitting across from, just listen. Rescuers don’t do perfect sentences, epic nuggets, or have drop the mic insights. We don’t play that game. We genuinely listen to people. Because here's what I’ve learned in over 15 years of doing this: When people realize they’re being listened to, they tell you things.

After being an open ear, ask questions until you notice a truth start to emerge.  Seek permission to make an observation. Move on to sharing the truth about what you’re hearing, while also reminding them of the truth of who they are. You do the helping, but allow God to do the healing. You serve and he saves.

I believe you can turn your coffee shop conversations into life transformations. You can be what the world needs most. A Rescuer. Someone who listens, asks great questions and aims people to real freedom.

Mike Foster is the founder of People of the Second Chance and the author of Freeway: A Not So Perfect Guide To Freedom. He lives in San Diego with his family and fluffy dog. 

To find out more about friend support, download our free E-Book "How to Help Hurting People."