July 9, 2017
I’m pretty sure that if I asked the readers of this blog if they’ve done any public speaking recently, most would say no ... but believe it or not, 100% of you do it every day. Public speaking happens just about every time you open your mouth at work (except when you’re in the chair yourself) … a phone conversation, at a staff meeting, in a conversation with colleagues … and especially each time you speak to one of your patients.
As a dentist, you are part of your community and are required to speak with the public every day, whether you feel like it or not. Even if making a “public presentation” is the last thing you think you would ever want to do, you are doing it every single day. You are constantly marketing your own dental practice.
How to hone your speaking skills to increase profits
In one study, the top 5 reasons patients abandon a practice are patients felt rushed, they felt their concerns weren’t taken seriously, the practice’s schedule was inflexible, they experienced poor customer service, and, the one I want to focus on, lack of interest in developing a relationship … which your chairside manner reveals in a split second.
Chairside manner includes things like a warm welcome, appropriate touch, eye contact, a thank you… But a critical component is how you speak to your patients.
Not sure what to say or when to say it? Are you nervous? Do you trip up when trying to explain a procedure – and do you follow through with the patient-benefits of the procedure? Or worse yet, don’t think you need to speak to your patients at all?
Public speaking training and voice training – what you say and how you say it – will make a huge impact on the satisfaction level each patient feels when they are at your practice (and on what resonates after they’ve gone home and inevitably share their thoughts about their dental experience with friends and family). You must feel comfortable building relationships – through conversation. You need to win over your patients and because time is money, you must do it quickly. Every second counts. Every word counts.
Remember, your audience – the patients you see every day – don’t know the ins and outs about dentistry and they rely on you for clear information with no room for misinterpretation. They want it delivered succinctly and accurately with an excellent chairside manner.
Patients also want to engage, learn about you, and learn to trust you. In a blog I read recently, the author said, “Going to the dentist is an intimate experience fraught with pain emotionally and financially.” You must be able to get your patients beyond that. Honed public speaking skills – talking clearly and concisely with confidence, commitment, knowledge, and authority – will get you ahead by leaps and bounds because it will…
• Heighten patient trust
• Increase your bottom line and profit
• Raise patient retention rates.
Skillful communication is learned and with public speaking training, your interactions with patients could be more direct, clear, meaningful, and successful to ensure your patients not only know how you perform dentistry, but that you care for them. And once you’ve done that, the impact on future business will be rich.