Three weeks ago I published an article discussing how some dental practice team members always struggle having conversations with the patients that come to their practice.
And there are serious consequences for dental practices that have team members who cannot master the art of conversation between each of their patients and each of themselves.
Because patients will only tolerate being ignored for a certain number of times before they start feeling that maybe they should take their dental business somewhere else.
These four great ways involve being able to converse with any patient at any time on any one of four very straightforward topics.
Today I will continue with the third topic that your team members can use to strike up meaningful conversations of any length with every patient who visits your dental practice.
By “recreation”, I guess. I really mean to say:
EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES.
Sports. Hobbies. And pastimes.
Here’s a good icebreaker:
“What have you got planned for the weekend?”
“Got any plans for the long weekend?”
“How was your weekend?”
“What did you get up to on the weekend?”
“How was your vacation?”
“What did you get up to?”
“How was that?”
And then we can go a couple of layers deeper:
When they tell you about an activity they did, or have plans to do, you can always say:
“That sounds interesting…”
“Have you been doing that long?”
“Do you enjoy it?”
“Is it easy to do?”
“How did you get started in that?”
These comments or questions are very relatable to most sports played, to most hobbies, and to most pastimes.
But sometimes we need to be alert, because patients can have some pastimes that relate to OFF TOPIC topics that we may not be aware of.
For example, women who engage in the pastime of dragon boat racing do so because the actions involved in being a member of the rowing crew of a dragon boat are very beneficial to women recovering from breast cancer surgery.
Sometimes when people have to travel….
Sometimes when patients travel, they are actually travelling to participate in an event or attend a show or a conference related to a particular sport, or hobby or pastime.
A trip to a big city may be to attend a horse race, or a trade show, or a sporting event or a sporting gathering.
I remember my first appointment with a new hairdresser, many years ago:
It was the Thursday before a long weekend [that’s a three-day weekend for my American friends, where the Monday is a Public Holiday]
The new hairdresser, a man maybe six or seven years younger than me, asked me what my plans were for the weekend:
I told him I was going to Queensland to visit a friend.
The hairdresser asked where my friend lived, and I told him my friend had recently moved up to live on the Sunshine Coast there.
The hairdresser asked:
“Going to be playing golf?”
“Yes I will be.”
The hairdresser responded immediately:
“I play golf.”
And an instant friendship and long term relationship was immediately formed in that conversation.
Isn’t that interesting?
Some people have the most interesting hobbies and pastimes.
Some people love watching movies, both at home as well as at the cinema.
Some people have a favourite band they like to go and see live, and may even follow that band around their country to see them multiple times on a tour.
Some people are collectors. And I mean serious collectors.
I had a patient who was a serious collector of meccano. The weight of the meccano pieces threatened to bring down the second story of his two-story home!
Other people collect stamps. Or T-shirts. Or china. Or memorabilia.
Some people are competitive sport players. Golf. Tennis. Lawn bowls. Ten-pin bowling.
Others love attending sports. As spectators. Like Cricket, Football. Baseball. Golf. Weightlifting.
Some people run. Others walk. Daily. Or every day.
One of my patients engaged in weekly pole dancing [not professionally].
Others like dancing. Ballroom dancing.
Some people play musical instruments.
Other people like listening to classical music.
Or collecting records, and LPs and albums.
Some people like doing puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles. Crosswords. Sudoku.
Others like playing video games.
Some people like reading books. Others collect books. Or comics.
Whatever someone’s pastime, there’s always a backstory, and a long story and an interesting story waiting to be told, if only someone would ask..
And it’s easy to ask:
“That sounds interesting, tell me more…”
Everybody loves the opportunity to talk about themselves, and what they do, and especially, what they love to do.
All you need to be able to do is ask the correct questions….
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