Case presentation begins with setting the stage for success – build an atmosphere with the dental team of learning, how to show patients we care, and to take all negativity out of communication about dentistry and overall health. Some people view the patient-dentist relationship as adversarial. To counter this mindset, every aspect of your case presentation needs to create a warm, friendly feeling that puts the patient at ease and reassures them that you have their best interests at heart.
The #1 priority for the dental team should be to inspire the trust of each patient. Dentistry is essentially a relationship business built upon trust. Beyond a toothache, patients don’t usually understand their dental needs. Hence, patients must first perceive trust in the dentist and team. Patient perceptions are extremely important – that is reality as far as they are concerned. Create a sense of commonality and connection by showing them you care about them by being interested in them.
Begin with a memorable and different greeting when they arrive, a smile, handshake or touch of the shoulder. The objective is to make them comfortable enough to share about themselves with you while you passively listen with acknowledgement of their statements, plant openers to encourage them keep talking and picking out ONE thing that is unique to them that makes them memorable.
Once they feel you are interested in them Rapport is created and you have earned the right to interview them about their health, dentistry, lifestyle and what they value.
Encourage patient to speak about themselves using the F.O.R.M. technique. The structure most people open up about themselves follows F.O.R.M. F stands for Family- marriage, kids, relatives etc.., O stands for Occupation- what they do for a living, R stands for Recreation—what they do for fun. The key is to listen for and document one thing that makes the person Memorable to you and the practice.
What causes breakdowns in establishing Rapport with patients:
- You skip a warm greeting.
- Use too much dental jargon.
- Talk about yourself and your issues.
- Ask a question then ignore their answer.
- Interrupt them when they are speaking
- Don’t use their preferred name.
- No eye contact
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