I was on vacation with my family in Florida when I saw a man wearing a Masters Tournament golf hat. I started a brief conversation with this complete stranger by asking him if he was attending the tournament this year. This led to a very fun conversation and something that I think is a great reminder for us as we consider Christian education and enrollment.
My simple, short question to him about going to the Masters Tournament, led to this response, “I am not, but here is my Masters story.” From there he went on to tell me about his perspective of being at one of the greatest Masters Tournament’s ever. He went into great detail about how in 2011; Charl Schwartzel had one of the greatest finishes in Masters Tournament history by making a birdie on the last four holes to win the tournament by two shots over fellow competitors Jason Day and Adam Scott. He also told me that he had second row gallery seats on the 18th hole to witness this great finish. He was able to share specific details with little difficulty about what it was like to be there and through his story I was able to experience some of his story.
What does this have to do with Christian education and enrollment? It was a great reminder for me that everyone has a story to tell and most people love to share their story. As families visit and inquire at our schools, there is always a story in the background; a reason for why they came to our door. Why are they considering Christian education? Why are they looking at our specific school? What about their child makes them consider investing their time, energy and financial resources into our school?
Asking good questions to prospective families and getting to know their story is a great way for us to identify the best way to serve them. Listening is a discipline that demonstrates our care for the family and shows prospective families that we value them. It helps develop a deeper relationship as they consider their options. Knowing their specific needs and desires allows us to tailor our messages to them in a way that becomes very personal. Getting to know their story also allows us to share about other families who may have had similar situations or experiences and how our school helped impact their child and family.
Stories are powerful. How are you gathering the great stories that take place in your school every day? How are you capturing the great outcomes of your graduates and alumni? Why did you chose Christian education to invest your time and career? Why are others choosing your school? What are the success stories of your students? These stories are powerful and can help us make the case for our value as a school.
A simple question about attending this year’s Masters Tournament led to a man sharing about his experience at a great sporting event. His story was interesting and it was great to hear his excitement in sharing the details. If this is true for a golf tournament that took place 7 years ago, how much more precious are the stories and hopes for parents as they consider their children’s future?