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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Comminunication incongruent with our body





According to Albert Mehrabian only 7% of our communication is derived from the actual words we use.  While it’s 7% words, 38% is your tone and 55% is body language.  When we verbalize it’s the words, tone and expressions we use that help us communicate our meaning.  The interesting thing is if one area is incongruent to another then we develop a lack of trust. 

In other words, I can say the right thing during an apology but if my tone is curt or my body language is closed off then you won’t believe me.  If you don’t believe me you won’t trust me.  If you don’t trust me then our relationship is at risk.  When we are discussing important patient needs or treatment it is critical that the patient trust us. Otherwise, they may refuse the best course of action.    

In addition to choosing the right words, we need to make sure we are congruent, that we watch for clusters of body language as well as the context.  Cluster of body language, means you take multiple outside stimuli, sensory events, facial expressions and eye contact to determine the message that speaker is intending. When we are listening to a message, we sometimes attempt to interpret the message with a single signal, however, just like in writing our body language is displayed in a sentence and in order to avoid a miscommunication we need to put it all together.

When we are in front of the patient and discussing a treatment plan, if we are avoiding eye contact or talking fast we may give the patient the message that their treatment is not important.  Be careful of the message you deliver, your patient’s are the reason you are there and the relationship is critical for the success of your patients and your practice.  


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