What are the attributes of good communicators?

In this article, I will share six attributes that separate good communicators from ordinary ones.

1. Fast

Good communicators don’t take all day — in fact, it’s the opposite. When explaining treatment, bad communicators waffle around for 15, 30 or even 45 minutes. They take ages to get to the point. Good communicators, by contrast, deliver a short, crisp, clear treatment explanation. In two minutes or less the patient has all the information they need to make a decision.


2. Easy to understand

Bad communicators use jargon. They explain lots of technical details that the patient doesn’t need to know. They draw diagrams, point out things on x-rays and generally bamboozle. On the other hand, good communicators speak in plain English and just give the patient the information that they need to know.


3. Good success rate

Because bad communicators can’t explain treatment clearly to patients they have trouble getting case acceptance. Typically they do 20 items or less of indirect restorative dentistry per month. Good communicators can do 50 or more items of indirect restorative dentistry per month.


4. Low stress for the dentist

If you have good communication skills presenting a full mouth case is no more difficult or stressful than doing a Class I filling — in fact it is easier. Getting stressed when discussing treatment with patients is a sure sign that you don’t know what you are doing. By contrast, if you have mastered communication then you just relax and go with the flow.


5. Low stress for the patient

Pressuring patients is absolutely undesirable. Apart from being ethically questionable, it can also lead to conflict and patients dropping out of the practice. Bad communicators use phrases like “You really should…” and “You need…” in an effort to cajole patients into treatment. Good communicators are totally fair in how they present treatment options and never, ever pressure patients.


6. Covers you

Good communicators make modest claims for treatment and are open about drawbacks. They warn the patient of likely adverse outcomes so that patients know what they are in for. They make sure a patient’s expectations are reasonable prior to treatment. Bad communicators don’t do these things and so, when an adverse outcome occurs, it is a real disaster and can cause conflict.



Upcoming Seminars

The Art of Case Acceptance

Learn how to get patients to accept the treatment they need. For example, how to present expensive treatment without the risk of losing the patient to the dentist down the street, and so much more. Click on the links below for more details.

Sydney 26 August. | Adelaide 7 October. | Perth 2 December.

The Art of Efficient Dentistry

Dates to be advised.

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