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Because you’re an expert on all things financial, you may believe you know what’s best for others – in their financial lives and otherwise.

But it’s unlikely you do. The culprit is your inability to communicate effectively, as these “bloopers” illustrate.

What’s unspoken?

An advisor told me this story. He was meeting with a couple who had inquired about his services. He followed his “process,” which was geared to determining if there was “a good fit.” In order to “set expectations,” when he scheduled the meeting, he advised the couple he had allocated one hour.

He discussed his background, how his firm approaches investments and financial planning, and his elaborate “three-meeting process,” which involved detailed discovery and goals for each meeting. As the end of the hour neared, he asked if they had any questions.

The wife looked at him nervously and said, “Can you help us set up a trust?” He indicated his expertise in working closely with lawyers who did that “all the time.” She then said (as the clock wound down), “We have a special needs child, who is seriously developmentally disabled. We are terrified about who will look after him after we are gone.”

To his credit, he apologized to the couple for his insensitivity in taking most of their allotted time to focus on his agenda and ignoring theirs.

While this story is particularly poignant, I’ve heard versions of it many times. You believe you know what should be discussed. You have boxes in your mind and you set about checking them. You view the person in front of you as a pawn in your chess game.