Dr Mark Hassed

Here's the fourth in the check list series on communication. Make sure to follow the entire series.

4.   Ask a closing question then shut up

Let's say that you've followed the check list up to now (see previous editions of this blog) and reached the point where you have asked the patient “So, what would you like to do?”

The best thing you can do right now is to shut up.

But, that's not what many dentists do. Many dentists find the silence after a closing question so painful that they fill the gap with further talk. this is precisely the wrong thing to do.

When you had asked a closing question (especially if significant dollars in involved) the patient often needs time to ponder the decision. They need to be able to work through in their heads whether to proceed.

If you keep talking they don't have the opportunity to think and your percentage of “I'll think about it” will go way up.

So, always remember to be quiet after asking a closing question.

[The next item in the series will appear on 26 June.]

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