The job of a patient is not to know what’s wrong, that’s our job as dental professionals. That’s clear. But what many dentists are missing out on is the communication component. It’s our job to educate the in a way that they can relate, and they can feel connected to what it is you are saying.
When presenting treatment, I will always get to know the patient first. And I am not talking about getting to know about their kids, or job, or favourite activities. I am talking about how they communicate, how they receive information, how they relate to the world around them. I want to hone my presentation to them, and present information in a way they connect with and feel valued and heard. I want to give them what they want in a way they want it, so I don’t loose their attention, their focus, and their trust.
If I am talking with a patient about numbers, for example, and they are not a numbers person, they won’t listen. And if I am too soft in my presentation with someone who is very Type A, I loose their respect.
So we need to learn how to talk to each type of person. That’s what makes us professionals. We need to learn how to relate to them in their way, present information in a way they want to receive it, and that will allow us to connect with them on a deeper level.
Communication, and learning about how to connect with all kinds of people has always been a passion of mine. There are so many intricacies to a simple conversation that can lead it in many directions. The key, and it’s a skill anyone can learn, is to be the one in the driver’s seat. You want to be able to take the conversation in a specific direction, have control, and do so in a way that places you as a true professional. And that’s when the case presentation becomes a planning session instead of a manipulating session. And that’s a skill everyone should learn.