Listening is the most critical communication skill that every dentist and dental team member should cultivate. Sadly, listening is commonly overlooked in dentistry. Hearing comes natural to most, but listening is another thing.
Sometimes in the rush of what the day brings, we\’92ve forgotten what it truly means to stop and listen to the person we\’92re speaking to. When was the last time you asked a patient or team member how they were doing, and then gave them your full attention when they responded? Did you really, truly hear what they were saying, or did you just hear their answer and then nod, smile and move on quickly to your next item on your to-do list. We challenge you to make a change and add active listening to your daily routine!
Psst! Listen up! Check out these stats on listening:
- Listening to and hearing patients are not the same thing.
- Active listening skills are one of the most important communication skills in achieving a successful dental practice.
- Humans can process around 600 words in one minute. A really fast talker can speak at a rate of 100 to 150 words a minute. As a result, our minds tend to wander.
- Right after hearing patients speak, it\’92s common to retain only half of what was heard.
- The average adult will spend 70 percent of their waking hours communicating. Of this, 9 percent is writing, 16 percent reading, 30 percent speaking and 45 percent listening.
- Many dentists prefer talking to listening
- Listening is not a natural process but a skill that must be learned and nurtured.
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Are you an active listener in your dental office?
Amazing active listening skills are one of the most powerful ways to build and strengthen the rapport you have with your patients. There are many studies that show how this ranks high on the list of what patients want most from their dentists and other healthcare professionals.
Ready to Improve Your Active Listening Skills?
We hope you are! The benefits are many. Active listening can help to maximize:
- Patient satisfaction
- Strengthen the patient/dentist relationship
- Improve treatment outcomes
- Reduce the frequency of complaints and claims
- Assist dental team members in resolving complaints quickly and easily if they do arise
Here are your 3 vital components to perfecting your active listening skills.
Silence is golden.
Silence is a powerful tool when it comes to honing your active listening skills. It encourages the patient to speak and lets them know you\’92re ready to listen. It\’92s possible to use non-verbal active listening techniques to actively participate in a conversation without even saying anything at all.
Don\’92t get sidetracked.
Avoid distractions and intentionally listen to what the patient is saying. It can be hard when there are things going on around you, or you\’92re tempted to run through your to-do list in your head, but do your best to block distractions out. Focus on one thing and one thing only: what the patient is saying to you.
Taking a moment to review the information given by the patient you can let the patient know that you\’92ve been listening and interpreting their information correctly. Summation examples may include:
\’91Am I right in understanding that you would prefer not to go ahead with have the tooth extracted now?\’94
\’93What I think I am hearing from you is that you\’92re more concerned with the shape of your tooth than the color of it. Is that accurate?\’93
Follow these tips to not only improve your active listening skills, but to build stronger relationships with dental patients, family and friends.
Ready to create a patient experience for your dental practice that gets the \’91wow\’92 response every time? Download Your Guide to the Ultimate Patient Experience today!