What is effective communication?
This is my definition:
It’s the transfer of PURPOSEFUL thoughts and ideas to another person that are fully UNDERSTOOD.
Does that make sense?
Every day and all day in your dental offices you are communicating with your patients, with your team and with vital people outside the practice that help you function efficiently.
You communicate face to face, on the phone, online and offline in writing.
You communicate when you:
- market to prospective patients so they see you as the dental practice that is a great match for them.
- are face to face with your patient when they arrive at the practice.
- answer calls coming into your practice.
- take your patient to and from the treatment room.
- are treating a patient.
- are having a conversation about recommended treatment.
- make the next appointment for your patient.
You can see there is so much communication happening during the day at your practice and what a big part it plays in the actual dental treatment you offer.
The two most important parts of communication is to ensure you are understood and you have a purpose as to what and why you are communicating.
There is really no point communicating if you have no purpose and you are not understood.
With so much communication it is very easy to lose to lose sight of your purpose.
Why you are communicating with your patient in the first place and are they fully understanding you.
So how can you make sure you are communicating effectively?
Let’s look at face to face communication. What works and what doesn’t work well.
Face to face communication with your patient is when a patient is right there in front of you. Sorry for stating the obvious.
When two people are communicating face to face make sure you are facing them. This means remove anything in front of you.
Now I know when a patient arrives at your practice your team are often sitting at their desk. Well this is the time to stand up and walk towards your patient to greet them face to face with no desk in between you.
This one thing you do when your New Patient arrives for the very first time at your practice, will make a lasting impression. You now send a message that the person in front of you is important. Important enough to greet properly.
When people arrive your home you don’t stay seated at your dining table, you are expecting them and you go to the door to greet them properly and welcome them to your home.
The same should be happening at your practice.
Look I know it can have its challenges when you are with a patient or on the phone at the front office so be creative and make the effort.
Having a barrier between you and the person you are communicating with is not a good idea. You want to open yourself to the person in front of you and not be hiding behind anything.
When you communicate with patients you are always trying to remove those obstacles that can get in the way of their decision making, so start by removing the physical objects, it does help!
The same when you are in the treatment room with a patient about to have a treatment conversation with a patient, turn face to face with your patient with no desk and no equipment in the way.
If you are a treatment coordinator I would recommend positioning the chairs so they are more to the side of the table rather than talking to your patient from behind a desk.
When your patient leaves the practice after their appointment make sure you stand up again and say farewell by their side not at your desk sitting down.
Now only do this if you want to be the dental practice that makes a difference and really communicates effectively with your patients.
If you want to be like all the other dental practices and not be effectively communicating with your patients then just stay sitting down.
If you haven’t been doing this with your patients, then start today. Your patients will notice the change in how you communicate with them and be much more responsive!
If you are interested in my Call Tracking Service or have any questions please call 1300 387 044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Stop missing out on making appointments.
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Dental Phone Excellence is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system I developed that helped me to build an extraordinary dental practice in the heart of working class western Sydney.
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