What The Flying Trapeze Can Teach You About Client Services

  • June 25, 2015
  • Shelley Nall

The INK mission statement is, in part, to provide the best client service while enjoying each other and our lives. We definitely did the latter this week at our annual summer retreat, where we took to the sky and tested our courage on the flying trapeze. The experience was a combination of terrifying, exciting, and exhilarating fun (the exact mix of emotions varying on an INKer by INKer basis). For all of us, though, we saw the experience as a valuable lesson in teamwork and direct parallel of how to deliver the best client service.

Warm Up

You can’t jump on the trapeze without warming up your shoulders and hamstrings and you can’t jump on to an account without taking the time to learn about the client and their industry. Your goal should be to become an extension of your client’s team. The more you know about their business, their goals, and even their personalities, the better you’ll be able to anticipate, meet and exceed their needs.

Come Prepared with the Right Mindset

A weird thing happens when your toes are hanging off a 25-foot high platform with someone shouting asking you to jump; even when your mind says jump, your body doesn’t want to move. Nearly every single INKer experienced this involuntary hesitation, but every single INKer did eventually jump. That’s because we approached the day with, albeit some nervousness and doubt, a determination to at least try.

It’s important to have this kind of mindset when working with your clients. Consciously approaching each project or challenge with a “try my best” attitude will get you a lot farther than you’d think. And that kind of positive attitude is contagious, making your client more receptive and the relationship more productive.


The flying trapeze is all about timing and trust. As I mentioned before, you’re 25-feet off the ground! You’re strapped into a harness, being held on the edge of a platform by one person while another shouts, “Ready? HUP! Hook your knees. Release your hands. Present. Hands back on the bar. Knees down. Legs back. Three kicks – forward, backward, forward – TUCK.”

And then you’re in the net, having just performed acrobatics on a swinging bar before dismounting via backflip, and you think – wait, what just happened? What happened was, you listened and did what you were told – without hesitation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying do everything you’re asked to do with no consideration of how it fits into the long term plan or assessing its real value. There is still definitely a need to say no, from time to time. However, what I am saying is that when you really listen – and don’t just listen to respond – you are able to learn, and therefore accomplish, so much more.

Never Give Up

Each time we climbed the ladder, the jump got easier. Each time we jumped, the trick we were learning improved. And, for me at least, each time I flipped off the netting, I wanted nothing more than to climb back up and do it even better.

You aren’t going to master the flying trapeze in two hours. In fact, you aren’t going to master flying trapeze ever – it’s a continuous push to improve. Client service isn’t something you check off the list – ever. It’s a constant, conscious effort to find new, creative ways to deliver.

At the end of the day, we were sweaty, sunburnt, and more than a little bruised, but we did it! We flew through the air! We came prepared, we were determined to try, we listened, and then we executed. Even when we failed, we climbed back up that ladder and tried again. There isn’t really anything more you could want from the people on your team and the INK team wouldn’t deliver anything less for our clients.

Other good stuff in here