We all know the importance of communication in the success of any relationship, business or otherwise. Communication is the key that allows us to foster great relationships with our team members, patients and our stakeholders in business. But when it comes to our patients, it could make or break the relationship. Nobody wants to go to any dentist, who cannot understand their fears and apprehensions. But is that really your job to counsel them? Shouldn’t your ability to fix their teeth be enough for them to smile back at you? Of course not! Unless you are doing dental procedures on dummies, you need to be conscious of how you communicate and connect with your patients- and all that begins with the right tone of voice! You heard that right! Your tone of voice can say a lot about the feelings that you are trying to communicate. But why is that even important?
Why do I need to be conscious of the way I speak?
Imagine going to a local grocery store. You can tell if the lady behind the counter is having a bad day just by the way she greets you. That was not because she said something, it was just because of the tone of her voice. And while you know it isn’t your fault, her tone of voice can really affect your entire shopping experience. You probably don’t care about her grumpy mood, you just want a better experience and so there is a higher chance you’d go hunting for a new place to buy groceries, even if it comes at the cost of a longer commute. Same is the case with your practice. The way you and your team members communicate can cost you patients. Hence you need to invest your time and efforts to master how your words come out. Here is everything you need to know:
Be Intentional of How You Speak
Do you ponder over your words before you speak them? Whether it is with your kids, the stranger at the bus station, your team members or your patients? Intentional speaking is all about knowing your ‘why.’ Why are you saying what you are saying? What do you plan on achieving? How will what you say be received? Just a little consciousness can help you be more aware of the tone of your voice. More often than not, we don’t really value our words. We don’t think anyone will care how we say it, and so, we don’t really pay much attention to it. But that is never the case. People may not value your words because YOU don’t value your words. So choose your words well and speak with intention.
Getting the Tone Right
Voice is all about communication, but not many of us exercise our voice. Our tone can become monotonous over time because of years of conditioning which gets locked in our muscle memory. As a result, some people have a monotone and they sound the same way no matter what they are feeling. Others don’t have any control over their tone and so they can let their tone interfere with their ability to speak rationally. They could be saying the right things but in the wrong tone because they don’t know how to use the right tone to get a message across, so the message doesn’t make its impact. Just how a singer without practice cannot really hit the right notes, we too need to practice the tone in order to be more conscious of it. Voice coaching can be extremely helpful in achieving that.
Pace of Speech
Another significant component is the pace of speech. There are two elements to this. First is from a speaker’s perspective. So if your heart is beating fast, then you tend to speak faster too; and if you are in deep thoughts then you will likely pause much in between. So it will be a bit of both. Your pace of speech should also be influenced by who you are speaking to and what you are talking about. Say, you are trying to give instructions. Then you need to speak in a slower tone so as to give the impression that you are saying something important and that you will only be repeating it once. A slower, clearer tone gives the impression of seriousness and adds more value to what you are saying. From a listener’s perspective, not everyone receives information the same way. Say if someone is really impatient and has a shorter attention span then you’d need to deliver information relatively faster, compared to speaking to someone who has difficulty with comprehension.
Understand Before You Are Understood
This is perhaps the most crucial of all elements. A healthy, meaningful conversation is more about listening than it is about speaking. You need to be able to understand the other person’s tone also. Be receptive to what they are trying to say or communicate through their tone, body language and words. Many a time, we are so engrossed in the process of delivering information that we tend to ignore the importance of receiving it. This is particularly important for people in the field of medicine, and dentists more so. You need to understand the reservations and nervousness of the patients walking in the door so as to effectively communicate with them. Are they feeling nervous, is their voice breaking? Are they finding it difficult to settle down? Being compassionate and empathetic towards your patients and team members can help you better understand their needs and create a positive environment for them. Emotional aspect of what we say is way more important than the words themselves. You can be saying the right words, but the wrong tone can fail to deliver the message correctly. Your tone, especially in the roles of leadership and medicine can speak volumes with your patients and team members.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready …. here are 4 ways I can help you grow your dental practice:
- Grab a free chapter from my book “Retention – How to Plug the #1 Profit Leak in Your Dental Practice”
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2. Join the Savvy Dentist community and connect with dentists who are scaling their practice too
It’s our Facebook group where clever dentists learn to become commercially smart so that they have more patients, more profit and less stress. – Click Here
3. Attend a Practice Max Intensive live event
Our 2 day immersive events provide access to the latest entrepreneurial thinking and actionable strategies to drive your practice forward. You’ll leave with a game plan to take your results to the next level. If you’d like to join us, just send me a message with the word “Event and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here
4. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your profit from 6 figures to 7 figures …. just send me a message with the word “Private”… tell me a little about your practice and what you would like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here