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Trojan Today Classic: “To Give is to Gain – The Gift of Effective Communications: Words that Work” by Phyllis Waite

The Gift of Effective Communications – Words that Work

Effective communication helps GAIN patient relations that sustain and grow your practice. Building TRUST and respecting a patient’s inherent right to choose become the cornerstone of effective communication. Patients walk through your door trusting you are honest and will provide quality care for their families. GIVE THE GIFT of using terms that create a win/win outcome and lead patients to feel acknowledged and understood.

Does your team share a positive attitude? Do they believe patients care about their dental health? People do not make self-defeating decisions if they are given enough information. When we partner with patients and support co-discovery by showing them unhealthy conditions and examples of what will happen if left untreated, patients will choose treatment when they are able to prioritize it in their lives.

DISCOVER: a word that works

“Mrs. Johnson, during your exam, you will DISCOVER unhealthy areas with Dr. Kharing. After the exam, Dr. Kharing will discuss what may have caused each condition and your most effective treatment choices. We love patients who want preventive care because it tells us you value your health. We wish more people valued preventive care instead of waiting until they have symptoms. Without a doubt, preventive care is always less costly…and treatment is much more predictable.”

NEED: a word to avoid

When patients perceive they have a NEED, they tell you loudly and clearly. “I need to come in today…I broke a tooth.” Needs are distinguished from wants when there is an obvious negative outcome. What may be obvious to you may not feel obvious to a patient. For example, when asymptomatic patients have decay, some believe they need treatment now, others may want it when they can afford it, while others only relate NEED to symptoms. During a routine exam when comfortable patients hear they need a crown, you may experience resistance. Instead use an informative WIN/WIN phrase. “After removing the decay there won’t be enough tooth left to hold a filling. Fortunately, you will have enough healthy tooth left to completely restore a strong chewing surface with a crown. A crown rebuilds the tooth, and with regular hygiene visits and reasonable home care, crowns last a long, long time.”

Over the next few months, we will examine WIN/WIN WORDS that GIVE THE GIFT of leading patients to make decisions from their value systems. The dental team will GAIN maximum accepted treatment with less resistance.

Phyllis Waite is a Management/Leadership Coach committed to building successful dental practices.

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