Under virtually most job descriptions, a common core requirement is that the candidate possesses strong verbal communication skills. Under this umbrella falls public speaking. Traditionally, one might not think of dentists as professionals who should focus on this particular skill. Still, in the medical professional world, fine-tuning one’s public speaking abilities can allot for countless benefits—even the American Dental Association says so. Here are some reasons you’ll want to work toward improving these skills.
For one thing, don’t underestimate the importance of first impressions, especially in a medical setting. The first appointment with a new patient is like an intimate interview. The patient is scoping you out to determine if he or she will want to invest money and trust in you for the long haul. The relationship between dentist and patient is extremely personal. Trusting a dentist or doctor with your body is a significant undertaking, as well as financial expense, so you want to sell yourself as effectively as possible. This can be done through your public speaking skills. Improving your general speaking skills will help you better speak your truth. By being comfortable in your own skin, you will win the trust of your patients and establish a healthy relationship. This trust will help set the tone for your practice with things like referrals, frequency of visits, etc.
The key to effective public speaking is speaking with knowledge, but above all, with confidence and compassion. If you appear confident, your patients will naturally feel confident in your expertise. If you come across as compassionate, they will feel as though you have their best interest at heart as well. Part of effective public speaking is rooted in empathy. Being able to validate your patients’ concerns and problems, combined with reassuring them on your solution, builds credibility like no other. Patients value the feeling of their dentist being patient-centric and approachable, as someone to confide in.
Communication is not solely rooted in verbal speech, but also primarily executed through nonverbal channels like body language. Engage with your patients by orienting your body, so it is faced directly towards them, leaning forward. Naturally, humans establish closer connections and trust through this simple technique.
At the end of the day, you want to conduct yourself in a way that makes you the best candidate for your patient’s dentist of choice. However, do everything in your power to avoid sounding sales-pitchy. Be informative, understanding, honest, and confident, but be a fellow human being as well, and you can guarantee positive relationships with your patients.
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