On Saturday, Trinity Western University welcomed about 500 new students to campus for Orientation Day. It was a lot of un, but it was also challenging for our staff to serve that many people in one day.
One interaction I had with a parent reminded me about what’s most important when meeting new students and parents who are entrusting their kids into our care. 5 of us had just finished making a presentation to parents of news students in which we fielded many questions, everything from “is there a bus service to Langley?” to “what address do I use to send mail to my son?” Then we stayed afterwards to answer any further questions from parents. That’s when a dad came up to me and said, “I have a question about my son’s invoice. It says the money I put on his account hasn’t been applied against his fees yet. Should I be concerned? I talked about this to someone in your office before we arrived.”
That is a classic “can I trust you?” question.
I could have gone into the details with him, but he knew the details better than I did – he had them right there on his smart phone, so there must be more to his question than just details. I had to listen to the real question – the question behind the question. So I asked him who he talked to. When he answered, I simply said, “Oh, you talked to Maco and Laurette? There’s no one better than them to answer your question. If they said it’s ok, I can guarantee you that it’s ok.”
He smiled and said, “Thank you,” shook my hand and walked away.
It was a simple but profound exchange. He was simply looking for confidence in the competence of the people he talked to. When he found it he could move on. My only job in that situation was to confirm the trust he’d already extended to TWU. That was easy to do!
Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.