1.1 How to Prepare Your Client for Their Recording Sessions


Helping your clients prepare for their memoir audio recording sessions is as important as the recording sessions themselves.

You will help your client remember the stories they want to share and guide them to focus on the experiences and details they want to include.

In this training module you will learn:

  • how to explain the preparation process
  • how to use the preparation tools in your back office 
  • and how to help your client complete the preparation process.

When you complete this training module you will be able to:

  • Explain the ML&S process to your client, without hesitation or confusion
  • Explain how your client will prepare for recording sessions, without hesitation or confusion.
  • Explain the ML&S terms and conditions and be sure your client understands his obligations and what to expect from you, without hesitation or confusion.

The tools you will use to prepare your client for recording are in your back office in the tools folder.

Tool no 1: ML&S Process Overview Graphic:

Tool no 2: Preparing for Your Memoir Recording Sessions Booklet

Tool no 3 Terms & Conditions

The importance of practice

Practice is so important it cannot be overstated.

Practice enables you to use the tools and follow the guidelines without hesitation or confusion. 

Practice also gives you confidence.

Whenever possible, practice out loud. 

Use a mirror to see how you come across. Adapt your behavior as necessary.

Then, ask a friend or family member to let you practice with them.

Step One: Scheduling the preparation meeting.

What to do:

Schedule a time and private place most convenient for your client.

Allow at least one hour for the first meeting.


You need enough time to get to know your client, build trust and do all you can to prepare your client for successful recording sessions.

How to do it:

  • You may be able to schedule the preparation meeting when you first meet your client.

If not, contact your client by phone to schedule the meeting. 

  • Explain that the purpose of the meeting is to help your client prepare for the recording sessions

  • Ask your client for a convenient time and private place to meet. (most will suggest their home or apartment)

  • Explain that you will need at least one hour of uninterrupted time AND a place where you can talk privately and without interruption

  • Some clients may want to include a friend or family member. If so, ask your client if you can contact that person to brief them as well. Ask for that person’s contact information (telephone and email)

  • Then send a confirmation email (or letter, if necessary).

Here is an example of a confirmation email:

Hello Joan,
It was a pleasure talking with you this afternoon. I’m excited to begin the adventure of recording your life stories.
As we discussed, you will be giving your children, grandchildren and their children a priceless gift. They will treasure your memories and feel closer to you because of this wonderful gift you have given to them.
As you know we will be doing several audio recording sessions.
Our first step is to help you prepare for the recording sessions.
Here are the details of our first meeting:
Day: Monday
Date: September 12, 20__
Time: 2:00PM
Place: Your apartment (address).
What we will do: 
  1. Make sure we can talk without interruption for at least one hour.
  2. Review the recording process. I will explain how you I will record your life stories.
  3. Discuss ways to help you remember people, places and events.
  4. Review a list of questions to prompt your memory.
  5. Schedule a few follow up calls during your preparation period.
  6. Schedule a date and time for our first recording session.

I am always available should you have any questions I can help with. 
I am looking forward to seeing you on Monday, September 12 at 2:00 PM.

Your name
Your contact details (phone, email)

Step two: Starting the preparation meeting

What to do:

Review what you are going to do, how you are going to do it and the outcomes you expect from this meeting.


You will be helping your client stay focused. And you will build trust because you will come across as prepared and professional.

How to do it:

After the usual small talk make sure you are seated face to face.

Begin the meeting by explaining what you will accomplish in the next hour or so:

You will start by reviewing the My Life & Stories process; the steps you will follow together.

Then the client will decide what topics to cover in his or her recordings

Next you will review how the recording sessions will be conducted.

Then you will set a tentative timetable for preparation, completion of the recordings and delivery of the completed product.

And finally, you will review the terms and conditions to make sure everything is acceptable.

When your client is ready, move to Step 3.

Step 3: Explaining the My Life & Stories Process

What to do

Use the graphic titled My Life & Stories Process (in your back office, under tools) to explain each of the steps you will follow.


To make sure your client fully understands what he or she will be doing and what to expect from you. This will lead to greater comfort with the process and increase trust and confidence in your skills.

How to do it:

Take along a copy of the My Life & Stories Process graphic ( in your back office, under tools). 

Put a copy of the My Life & Stories Process in front of your client.

Allow at least 10 seconds for him or her to look it over before you start talking.

You can say something like this:

These are the steps we will follow to complete your recording sessions and produce your memoir so it can be sent to your children and grandchildren.
As you see, the first step is what we are doing today: helping you prepare for the recording sessions.
You will start preparing by deciding the major chapters you want to include in your memoir. This gives you a path to follow. It is not hard and fast. But it will help
I will give you list of chapter headings and you can decide which to include. You can also rename the chapter headings if you wish.
Then you will take the time you need to let your memories flow to the surface.
I will give you a list of questions that you can use to prompt your memories.
If necessary, you can note names, places and events you want to include.
You can also look at photos and talk to friends and relatives; anything you need to bring your memories back into focus.
I suggest you do this a little at a time, perhaps for 10 minutes or so then take a break. 
We will schedule the first recording session today and then decide when to continue after each session is completed.
We can go as quickly or slowly as you prefer. It’s up to you.
But I suggest we allow at least two weeks for you to decide the chapters you want to include, look at photos and go through the prompter questions.
Then, as you see, we will record your memoir. It usually requires two or three sessions of about one hour each. But we can be flexible if need be.
Next, I will edit the recording and you will have a chance to listen to it to decide if there is anything else you want to include. If so, we will do one last session which we will call “further thoughts” and add it to your recording.
Finally, you will tell me who to send the recording to or if you want to wait before sending it to your family and friends. Your decision, of course.
Are there any questions I can help you with?

Step Four: Explaining the Preparation Process 

What to do

Prepare a personalized ring binder or folder with a copy of the ML&S process graphic and the instructions titled How to Prepare for Your ML&S Recording Sessions (in your back office, under Tools). Include at least 15 different colored pastel note cards.


You want to be sure your client has a helpful tool for deciding the major chapters s/he wants to cover and for prompting memories that s/he wants to include in the memoir. 

And, you want to help your client prepare details and specific information that will help your client feel confident and prepared to record.

How to do it?

Give your client his or her copy of the preparation booklet.

Explain that your client does not have to include answers to all questions. She or he will decide what to include. The questions are prompts only and your client can skip the ones that are not relevant.

Emphasize that note taking, especially names and dates and addresses, can be very helpful and encourage your client to do so.

Say that most people need at least two weeks to prepare but no more than four weeks.

Then ask how long your client would like to complete the preparation process.

Schedule two meetings:

  1. Set a date and time for a phone call or visit (your choice) to check on progress with the preparation process.

  2. Set a date and time for the first recording session. You can change this if necessary but at least you have a goal to work towards.

Step Five: Reviewing Terms and Conditions.

What to do

Review the document titled My Life & Stories Terms and Conditions with your client. Make sure he or she clearly understands and accepts the terms and conditions. Get a signature. Leave a copy.


You are providing a service. You have certain obligations you must fulfil.

Your client is receiving a service that includes his or her input and participation. 

Trust and ill will can result when obligations and deliverables are unclear and expectations differ. 

This can be avoided by taking the time to review terms and conditions at the start of the process and again about the mid-point.

How to do it:

Print two copies of the document titled My Life & Stories Terms and Conditions. (in your back office, in the tools folder).

Explain that you want to review the terms and conditions to make sure your client understands what to expect from you and what he or she agrees to do.

Add that you will review the payment schedule as well.

Hand your client a copy of the terms and conditions and read through it. Check for understanding if your client seems confused and ask for questions.

If your client agrees to the terms and conditions, ask him or her to sign and date both copies. Keep one for your records.


Now that you have completed this training module it is very important to check that you can do what you have learned:

Ask yourself (or have a friend or family member ask you) to prove:

  • That you can explain the ML&S process to a client, without hesitation or confusion
  • That you can explain how your client will prepare for recording sessions, without hesitation or confusion.
  • That you can explain the ML&S terms and conditions and be sure your client understands his obligations and what to expect from you, without hesitation or confusion.

The most important proof that you are well trained is that you can do these actions WITHOUT HESITATION OR CONFUSION.

If not, no problem. Just keep reviewing the module and practicing until you are ready.