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Monday, June 23, 2014

Act it out

How do we utilize the data given on communication? 

It is much easier to communicate in person because we have the opportunity to use all of our tools.  What about text message, emails, written correspondence, phone calls and messages?  Suddenly our tool box is lacking.  When answering the phone we use only words and tone.  Written correspondence uses only words.  So the words we choose are very important.  And we should all be using the same words to describe the same situation otherwise we create confusion.  If the doctor calls a child pulpotomy a “baby root canal” then the entire team had better use the same phrase. If our patients are called guests by only half of the team then it loses its impact.  Take time out of providing care to develop you and your team’s communication ability. 

Build the skills required to master 7/38/55 by role playing situations as a team or by playing team building games together.  Put your team into pairs, have one person be the talker and the other the listener for one minute, repeating the exercise twice.  Prepare each group individually by telling the talkers what topic you want them to talk about.   Then tell the listeners in the group to act bored or slightly uninterested during the first minute and then have them be an active, participating listener during the second minute.  Afterward, ask the talkers how it felt the first time versus the second, what did they think, feel and conclude. What impact did it have on their ability to talk?  Ask the listeners what they experienced; did they actually “hear” what was said the first minute?  What was different the second time?  Think about the results you get from this exercise in relation to your communication with patients.   

There are so many things that can distract us from focusing on our communication, each one is usually important and must be taken care of, however, make sure that you shut out the outside world for that one or two minute conversation with your patients.  It can make the difference in having your patients understand and accept the treatment they need or walking away feeling unheard or confused.

Lenora Milligan is a coach consultant with Salt Dental Practice Management. 
Original Article published by
Tri-County Dental Society
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