Some taxi drivers could use a little more effort to communicate with their customers. This is what Johanna Dumon of In Balance, a Belgian consultancy firm that teaches managers, politicians, coaches and actors to speak in a connecting way.

In Balance is a training, advice and coaching company that focuses on optimizing the spoken word of executives, professionals, politicians and anyone who wants to create more impact with their verbal communication. The agency In Balance provides advice on inspiring communication and leadership, speaking professionally, speaking without stress, speaking stylishly and speaking in a team. The agency also provides all kinds of coaching and training in the field of communication.

Do you ever take a taxi yourself?

“When I come back from vacation, I sometimes take a taxi to take me home. The longer the distance, the better the ride. The experience is better. In Brussels, I sometimes take a taxi for a short ride if I have to give a course there. I usually find the taxi drivers very impersonal, distant and unfriendly. Especially on short journeys. As a woman, I often sit alone in a taxi and I notice that taxi drivers do not always know how to behave. I don’t have such a good experience with it. Perhaps they have never received communication training?”

As a woman, do you sometimes feel unsafe in a taxi?

“As a woman I don’t often get scared. When I come to Brussels alone, I do feel unsafe. You are alone in a car with a man. Nothing’s going to happen to me? When I take a taxi, I want to feel a bit of security. But I don’t feel that. They don’t make me feel comfortable enough. On short journeys I want to be on the spot quickly and have a sense of confidence. I don’t have that feeling. However, the driver could address me politely: what can I do for you? Where should I take you? Are you comfortable? Does everything work? Can you leave with your legs? Everyone who gets into a taxi should feel safe and arrive at their destination within the right time.”

What then goes wrong?

“If you have a suitcase with you, the taxi drivers don’t bother to get out to load the luggage into the suitcase. Opening the door and letting people in is the minimum they can do. They ask me where to go and they start driving without saying anything. They often don’t say a word. They shouldn’t tell personal stories, but they could still say something about how long the ride takes and how many kilometers have to be driven. If they have to take a different route – for example to get there faster – they can also say so. But they say nothing. It’s not up to me as a customer to open the conversation. It’s up to them. It’s about creating impact and radiating confidence.”

This article previously appeared on sister magazine TaxiPro.be. Read here the full article.

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