By the time this blog hits the newsstands the second US Presidential debate will have been run, done, and won.
I’m writing this now, pre-debate.
With a smile on my face.
Because as I was out on my morning walk this morning I was in two minds as to whether to watch the debate or not.
Now as an Australian I cannot vote in a US Presidential election.
But US politics does concern me, because of the importance that the USA has on world events.
The smile came to my face because I was thinking about what else I could do *INSTEAD* of watching the debate.
Several years ago I had a then new patient named Russell who turned up with a very worn dentition but also with a serious inheritance and was wanting to have his mouth restored.
Well, several implants and plenty of porcelain later and Russell is a new man.
However, one thing I remember from my time treating Russell was a specific conversation where Russell was telling me about a party that he’d been invited to.
The host had told other guests this:
“Whatever you do, don’t ask Russell about his new teeth…”
I looked at Russell quizzically.
Russell carried on. The host then told those guests:
“Because it’s an hour of your life that you won’t ever get back….”
And that’s exactly how I thought about the time I was going to spend watching the second debate.
There’s a lesson in this for all of us:
And that is this.
When we speak with someone, we must make sure that they are indeed truly listening to us.
There is absolutely no point in speaking *AT* someone.
At a captive audience.
Someone nodding politely as you rant and ramble on and on, someone internally gritting their teeth and trying desperately to think of a way of extricating themselves from your monologue, is a hostage.
Not a participant.
In the Dental Office the same thing can occur.
Actually, the same thing does occur.
But most Dental staff, and Dentists, are oblivious to the fact that they are often the guilty parties when it comes to conducting one-way conversations.
[Sorry. The term “one-way conversation” is an oxymoron]
Yet in the Dental Office, our victims of our boring monologues are sadly entrapped already in a dental chair, with no means of escape.
Well, no means of physical escape.
So mentally, they start listing in their heads all the reasons why they are *NOT* going to accept your diagnosis, and your treatment recommendations.
Because you’ve bored the pants off them.
And this is their way of getting even.
Remember, everybody likes to talk about their favourite subject.
Which is themself.
As the dentist, as the dental team member, our role is to ask questions of our patient to get them, the patient, doing this.
Our role is to keep the topic on the patient, and not to let it swing away.
Our role is to listen.
Patients value their relationship with us, their dentists, when they feel that we [the dental office] are indeed truly listening to them and hearing them loud and clear.
When we are interested in our patients they then feel that we are interesting people.
When we only talk about ourselves, we drive people away.
Keep the subject of conversation on the patient.
Do not allow the subject of conversation to drift away from the patient.
Your patients will appreciate the fact that you and your team really are listening to them, and do indeed care about them.
And when your patients feel this way, they will return over and over and over.
As an addendum, I did in fact end up watching the debate.
As predicted, it was ninety minutes of my life that I won’t ever get back….
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