"Let's start with what's on your agenda."
What would you like to go over before we get into our training?"
This is how we like to start our client training sessions. In the past we would stick to the agenda. If we were scheduled to address a specific topic then we would get straight to it after the initial exchange of greetings and pleasantries. There could be some time at the end to go over specific questions or unrelated items of import to our client.
It works much better the other way around.
We now start with what's on our client's mind, even it if it's not directly related to what we have scheduled for the training today. If it's important to our client and she wants to address that topic or issue first, great. Let's do that. Then, we can get into the scheduled topic.
What we've found is that clients not only like it more, they get more immediate benefit from it. If we were unable to cover all the details we had planned for this session then we schedule another time to finish those.
It doesn't mean our process is random or easy to derail. It just means it's more flexible to meet the client's most pressing needs first. It truly is partnering and not just training or consulting.