It is said that 50% of a patient’s opinion about a doctor or medical clinic is based upon the first impression. Providers therefore need to ensure that their team is professional, and trained appropriately in communicating with patients.
Body language says so much to a patient, even if you don’t verbalize what you’re feeling. For instance, if you are standing in front of a patient with your arms crossed and looking around, you are closed off to the patient and not engaged in what they are saying. Instead, pulling your shoulders back and relaxing your arms at your side will make you appear welcoming and approachable. Leaning forward and making eye contact with the patient will show that you are listening to them sincerely, and care about what they are saying. Acknowledgment goes a long way to demonstrate that you are engaged and listening. Nod your head and make eye contact to demonstrate that you are paying attention.
Take a look at the graphic below for the most important tips on maintaining a positive and warm demeanor with patients.
Sometimes, it’s hard to stay positive. Real life happens in everybody’s lives, and not every day will be the same. It’s understandable to deal with challenges and hardships, and for them to affect your day. However, it is always important to be friendly and warm with patients. Here are some tips on how to stay positive so that you can give your best effort to communicate pleasantly with patients, regardless of what might be going on in the world outside of your clinic doors.
Staying Positive, No Matter What:
- Skip the news before work, or only listen selectively. The news is often filled with negative stories or stressful information. It is usually best to skip the news in the morning, not just in order to stay positive, but to start the day off right. You can always catch up after your shift ends during the evening.
- Challenge yourself to find something that you like about everyone you meet. It could be something like their hair or their fashion sense, or something deeper and more personal, like their attitude or their personality. Work hard to find something, even if it has to be small.
- Reward yourself every time you do an outstanding job! Tell yourself that you are doing your best work, that you trust yourself, and that you like yourself! It makes a night and day difference for your happiness and positivity when you are kind to yourself first.
- Set daily goals and weekly goals. Improving 1% a day is 365% per year, and more than 1000% every three years! Progress might be slow, but even taking the smallest steps will result in positive change.
- Avoid complainers and criticizers. Get to know somebody with a great attitude, and model him or her when you are talking with patients.
- Set your inner compass to appreciate patients. This will keep their importance in the forefront of your mind when at work. Patients, after all, make or break the success of a dental clinic — and by extension, your job. In the end, it’s the patients who pay your salary, allowing you to pay your mortgage, buy a car or send your kids to school.
- Make a glory file of thank-you letters and every compliment you receive! It doesn’t matter how small it is, file everything away, and read it often!