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Learn to Listen so People Talk & Learn to Talk so People Listen

Learn to Listen so People Talk & Learn to Talk so People Listen

About a month ago I began publishing the audio podcast titled the ‘Thriving Dentist Show’. A new show is published every Wednesday. My goal is producing this podcast was to create a convenient way to share information that will help you develop a thriving practice. You can download the show directly from my website or you can subscribe to it on iTunes (it’s free). The advantage to subscribing on iTunes is that you will automatically receive each new show when it is published so you’ll never miss a show.

The format of the show includes interviews where I interview some of the most recognized authorities in dentistry and we discuss timely topics. Recently, Dr. Lee Ann Brady was on the show and she discussed how to guide patients to want ideal care. Here is a link to that particular show (http://www.takacslearningcenter.com/004/) Dr. Brady shared some really useful advice and the conversation started me thinking about our new patient experience. Perhaps the single most useful suggestion I can make on successful case presentation is the title of this blog post. Easier said, than done, I know, but a very useful construct indeed!

Let’s talk about the listening part of that quote. In our general dental office we have a treatment coordinator (Karle) who spends significant time with the new patient during their first appointment. As Karle is taking the 6 digital photos we take on all new patients, she asks them the following seven questions:

  1. “We call you a new patient because you are new to us. However, you have been to other dental offices in the past. Other than having your teeth cleaned, have you had much dental treatment?”
  2. “Is there anything that you really liked about past dental visits? If so, we want to make sure we repeat that for you!”
  3. “How about anything you didn’t like? If you don’t like something we want to know about it!”
  4. “We know that dental health, like overall health, can be influenced by your genetic background. Do you know anything about the dental health of your parents, or your grandparents or other family members?”
  5. “On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being absolutely perfect, how would you rate the health and appearance of your teeth and gums?”
  6. “I see here on your health history form that you are nice and healthy. I’d like to know more about the general health of your family since we now know that the health of your gums has a direct relationship with your overall health. Among your family members is there any history of:
    • Heart Disease
    • Stroke
    • Diabetes
    • Early term birth
    • Cancer
  7. “Earlier you rated the health and appearance of your teeth and gums to be about a _________. What would have to change for that to be a 10?”

These seven questions allow you to learn the patient’s dental story. Every patient has a dental story! We have found that these questions create the environment where our new patients talk. Karle is an excellent listener and as a result we gain information that allows us to be most effective when presenting treatment recommendations. Give it a try! Keep Smiling!