Baby 101: How to Talk
Getting a one year old to do something can be… difficult.
We were already late for daycare, and my son was not in the mood to help me get there any faster. Wrestling his onesie, pants and socks onto his surprisingly strong frame had been enough of a chore, but finishing the shoes and coat took all of the coaxing, distraction and guile I had left in me.
When he finally turned and saw the stroller, he looked at me and performed one of his favorite new tricks: he shook his head in a tottering, side-to-side wobble and said, “No.”
Let me say right off of the bat that my son is a great kid. He’s kind, loving, intelligent and loves to learn. But he’s also a one year old (technically 14 months) who thinks he’s sixteen, with a stubbornness to match.
After weighing the merits of pleading with a toddler or forcing him kicking and screaming into the unforgiving confines of his stroller harness, I had an idea. There was another word he had learned recently.
Could it help?
“Hey, Ro. Do you want to go see Emma?”
He blinked, genuinely surprised at this new tactic, and pointed at the stroller. “Emma?”
Emma (name changed of course due to the Baby Witness Protection Program) is a friend of Ro’s at daycare. They spend all day stealing toys from each other and trading kisses – kind of like a marriage.
I nodded and smiled and pointed at the door. “Emma! Want to go see Emma?”
He took a few steps toward the stroller and pointed to the door. “Emma?”
I seized the opportunity. In no time at all I whisked him off of his feet, had him strapped into the stroller, and was pushing it to the door.
As I opened the door he looked up at me from under his thick, fleece winter hat and smiled.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we had achieved something spectacular: Communication.
Communication is Learned (and Earned)
What my son taught me that morning is that forcing someone to do something, or trying to get them to do something that they don’t understand, is the hardest way to get something done.
Even if what you are trying to do is what is best for them.
It wasn’t that he didn’t want to go to daycare – he loves daycare. He loves friends and he loves the two ladies who run the place (seriously, they are some of his favorite people in the world).
But he couldn’t see past the things he didn’t want to do. He didn’t want to get dressed (I mean, who does?).
He didn’t want to go outside in the cold. He didn’t want to be strapped into a reclining chair and rolled around the city in a puffy coat (though most adults I know disagree with him on that part).
The great thing is that now he is learning how to communicate, and I can learn how to communicate with him. Once I was able to help him understand that I wanted him to go see his friends, he was happy to get in and go.
Communication eliminates barriers that we all have that prevent us from doing the things we should be doing to avoid the things we don’t want to do.
If I tell my wife, “I want to go watch a soccer game at a bar,” she will inevitably narrow her eyes and wonder why I am putting off family time to drink and watch sports.
But if I say, “I want to go meet new people that support my favorite team and broaden our friend group here in Philadelphia,” she is much more likely to agree. We’ve only been here a couple of years and meeting people is important to us both.
Finding a way to communicate and help people understand what is best for them and hopefully best for everyone involved is crucially important to just about all walks of life.
Why Communication is Important in Insurance
Most people assume they know everything they need to know about insurance.
We have ads on TV that tell them all the time that insurance is simple, it takes five minutes to get a quote, and that it can be super cheap with the right company.
And, like most ads, that information (no matter how true or false) filters down into our minds and, since we hear it so often, it becomes what we believe.
Compare this to the old days, when insurance was associated with a local small town agent who you trusted and told you what you need. You saw him around town, went to church with him, coached his kids in baseball.
You bought what he told you to.
Modern insurance really should be a mixture of both the old trusted agent model with new, modern capabilities.
The simple fact of the matter is that all of these ads telling you that you can pick and choose your own insurance coverages like you can buy a new shirt are wrong.
The reason? There is no communication.
Just like a conversation, insurance is a two way street. A client doesn’t know what policies they really need to get completely covered from risk and an agent doesn’t know how to best cover a client unless they speak with them and get to know them.
So how can you have the right coverage if you are talking to yourself?
How to Talk to Your Agent
You know you need to talk to your agent. But what do you say? What is the best way to communicate?
To really know how to protect someone, an agent needs to look at the whole picture. You’re more than a car, more than a motorcycle, more than a house. Stopping there doesn’t help.
Tell your agent about all of your assets – your cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, houses, apartments, RVs, vacation homes, you name it. If you’ve got it, it’s a risk.
Don’t believe me? What if you just insure your car and truck and leave your boat off. You’re going to be taking a risk every time you’re out on the water.
And if you insure everything you have but you get sued, are you covered from legal liability? For how much? Is your homeowners coverage enough?
You may even find ways that your agent will say you have too much coverage. No, seriously, that’s a real thing.
Have full coverage on a twenty year old car? That’s too much. Did you put $1,000,000 of personal property coverage on your homeowners policy when you have nowhere near that amount? Too much.
I’ve written before about how you can prepare to talk to your agent by doing an insurance review, and it really is a good way to make sure you don’t miss key points in your conversation with your agent.
But What Do You Ask Them?
Just like I tried to get my son to do what I wanted without speaking to him in a way he could understand, insurance agents have a bad habit of speaking in insurance language to our clients. It’s a flaw, we know it, but it’s hard to break.
So ask your agent: What do you mean by that? Why are you making an endorsement? What is my deductible? What is liability on my homeowners policy and why do I have it? Why is Life Insurance so confusing?
Make us speak your language.
It may take a second or two for us to adjust, but we can absolutely speak your language. We did it long before we became insurance agents and we do it when we leave the office every day.
Help us help you. Instead of saying, “You can bundle your home and auto with ABC company and drive your premium down even further with EFT,” have us say this:
“If we cover your cars and your house by moving both to the same company, you will pay less. And I can give you another discount if you pay automatically from your checking account.”
We may be stubborn, but we’ll come around. It only took my son a few weeks to teach me.
So Let’s Talk
Alliance is built on communication. Our founder talked to hundreds of people (seriously, he will tell you all about it) before he founded the agency, both other agents and regular folks alike.
So talk to us. Ask us questions. Let us help you understand key phrases and what policy helps you where.
Even if you aren’t a client, we will help. We promise.
Give us a call. The number is up at the top of this page, but if you are like me and are too lazy to scroll, call (336) 377-9003.
Want us to call you? Fill out the form below and we’ll get with you ASAP.
Life is built on communication. And if my amazing son can teach a simpleton like me, there’s hope for all of us yet.