Downshifting Conversations

Time spent with clients outside of official meetings presents a valuable opportunity to communicate the value proposition of an organization. Communicating in these contexts—what we call “downshifting”—requires a set of skills different from those used in official client interactions. This product familiarizes participants with a strategic orientation to the communication “dance” initiated when meeting a client face-to-face after virtual contact. That dance is often characterized by multiple attempts by both parties to begin a genuine conversation and build a cadence together. It must involve not only appropriate communication skills like questioning and storytelling, but more fundamentally calibration of communication to the client involved. The client’s age, station, expectations, and comfort with interpersonal communication must all be analyzed and used to make strategic communication decisions.

Vocable Communications has designed a seminar, communication assessment and coaching protocol to introduce participants to best practices for downshifting interactions, assess their strengths and weakness in areas related to those interactions and increase their skills for such interactions in the future. The workshop centers on three areas of communication research: growing trust and connection, generating social capital, and utilizing inductive storytelling. Participants learn how to promote goodwill by expressing shared values and identity, questioning and active listening, and affirming their client. They also learn how to build connection through skillful physical and vocal delivery. Participants are also coached on multiple forms of mirroring to promote intimacy, frame the client relationship outside of a sales context and thereby generate social capital. Finally, participants learn the unique art of inductive storytelling, or communicating a value proposition in an informal setting. Together, these behaviors will allow participants to create strong interpersonal relationship with clients that may translate to improved business outcomes.


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