Learn to communicate like the diaper lady


In most service professions, I argue that the number one reason companies and people fail is that they cannot effectively communicate the value of the product. This communication phenomenon is arguably most prevalent in the financial service industry. In other words, I steadfastly believe that the strategies I provide along with our pricing structure are the best anywhere. However, I am not the one to decide, you are! In other words, it is not what I have to say, but what you hear and understand.

Far too many financial advisors take something simple and make it complicated. On the other hand, great communicators take something complicated and make it simple. Said differently, many folks have the distinct ability to take a simple issue and mutilate it beyond recognition. Our responsibility to our clients and potential clients is to offer clarity to the subject, not complexity, as we are often judged by the quality of the questions we ask.

People who demonstrate great people skills do not necessarily do it because it comes naturally to them. Instead, like me, they fight their national inclination to be selfish. For instance, these folks are struggling and striving to be interesting, when all they have to do is turn it around and be interested.

Unfortunately, most peeps have it all backward. We must stop telling people how great we and our products are. Instead, I suggest we begin to ask questions and start listening. For example, let’s not be an answering machine, let’s be a questioning machine! The word “listen,” after all, contains the same letters as the word “silent.” 

It’s been said that the measure of a great teacher is not what he or she knows, but what the students know. These words of wisdom underscore my belief that the diaper lady has the issue in question figured out. In this popular anecdote from the days of cloth diapers, a man obsessed with baseball was out to dinner with his wife. Suddenly, their baby started to cry. The exhausted mother asked her husband to change the baby’s diaper for once.

“I don’t know how to change a baby’s diaper,” said the husband, trying to get out of the job. “Look, Buster,” the wife replied. “You lay the diaper out like a diamond; you put second base on home plate, put the baby’s bottom on the pitcher’s mound, hook up first and third, and slide home underneath. In addition, if it starts to rain, the game ain’t called. You start all over again.”

The moral of this remarkable story is that if we want to get our message across, we have to learn how to communicate in someone else’s world.

Harry Pappas Jr. CFP®

Managing Director-Investments

Master of Science Degree Personal Financial PlanningCertified Estate & Trust Specialist ™

Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™Pappas Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors

818 North Highway A1A, Ste 200

Ponte Vedra, Florida 32082



The use of the CDFA™ designation does not permit Wells Fargo Advisors or its Financial Advisors to provide legal advice, nor is it meant to imply that the firm or its associates are acting as experts in this field.

Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a Registered Broker-Dealer and a non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and are subject to change. The material has been prepared or is distributed solely for information purposes and is not a solicitation or an offer to buy any security or instrument or to participate in any trading strategy.