As I write this blog I’m on a coach/bus travelling from Dublin to Lahinch. A friend and I have been travelling around Northern Ireland playing golf for a week, and now we’ve just joined an organised tour for a second week of golf with forty other golfers. It’s 9:45am and the bus has its wipers on. This is the first rain we’ve really seen on the trip, after nine games of golf. And we still have seven more to go.
As the bus heads west the weather does not look good.
The bus trip has been, well, interesting.
It’s given me a greater insight into some of the different types of people there are in the world.
Firstly, we’re sitting at a table of four on the coach. I’ve had to get the iPod Shuffle out in an effort to try to drown out the prattle of our Irish coach driver who is very fond of his own voice. Overly fond. I’m not sure anyone is listening to him. But he’s still talking, talking, and talking…..
In our group of four, there seems to be one talker, and three listeners. Again, some people seem very fond of their own voice. Overly fond, again.
Now, I’ve found, over time, that it’s easier to learn more when you’re listening rather than when you’re talking.
And this is the same at the dental office.
Firstly, if you’re not listening to your patients, how the heck can you ever expect to understand them? Or understand them fully? How can you really ever know all of their needs and their wants, if you yourself have always got your own mouth open?
How can you know exactly what your patients want if you’re always talking on and on yourself?
Ask yourself this? Are you the kind of dentist who likes to prattle on for long lengths of time, about techniques and features, rather than discuss benefits as needed?
Because it’s benefits your patients want to hear about, not features!
If you don’t dig deep into your patients needs and wants with questions, then how the heck can you solve their problems?
If you’re always listening to the sound of your own voice, then how will you know, I mean really know, your patient’s real concerns?
This is the case of the bus driver.
In the group of four, some people like to be the centre of attention. Again, these people seem to have an opinion on everything, and they need to have that opinion heard by everyone too.
The listener type, however, is far more interesting. They sift through the information they hear, adding appropriately, where needed, appearing interested and knowledgeable.
This is how you should be with your patients. Become fact collectors. Gather information. Add your own two cents worth pertinently, where needed.
Mastering the art of active listening, rather than lecturing, will help you become a respected friend of your patients, rather than a knowledgeable lecturer.
When its time for them to have and accept treatment, they’ll be more likely to accept your proposed treatment plan, if you’ve been a problem solving, active listening friend, rather than a headmaster type.
You’ll find your business, *the* business of dentistry, will become easier, when you are a good listener, rather than a lecturer.
So be a good listener…
After all, that’s why we have two ears and one mouth, isn’t it?
So we can listen twice as often as we speak…
The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.
Email me: david@theUPE.com
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