“Listening is not two people taking turns talking” – Zig Ziglar

Listening is important aspect of our communication for case acceptance, our ability to passively listen and receive their message without judgment. Acknowledge their statements.  Answer what was asked.  Confirm accuracy of what they have said with feedback statements.  Show empathy and understanding of another person’s opinion. Being quiet and letting the patient speak without interruption can lead us to their preferred future and they will trust that we have taken the time to hear them before we tell them about what they need, should have or must do.

In our listening we want to discover What pain do they want to avoid and how can we help them avoid it and What pleasure do they want to obtain and how can we help them get it.

Passive listening involves acknowledgment of a nod, smile, really, wow, eye contact… Door openers encourage them to keep talking so you can learn more about them.  Door Openers are also called “double click” questions.  Some examples:  go on, and, then what?  Silence is key to allowing someone else to feel heard. Do not interrupt their train of thought and sharing.

Active listening involves really being attentive to the speaker.  Listening to not only their words, but also their emotional language and hidden messages. The greatest gift we can offer is our attentiveness. If we want our patients to understand what we have to offer, they must feel that we understand them first. Some examples of active listening are;  sounds like…., you feel….., what I heard was….,

The sharing they give you and the answers they provide to the patient interview need to be documented and organized in one place so that all members of the dental team can easily reference either in the chart or on the computer.

Below is an example of a people paper – a tool that allows a practice to successful organize their information in one place.

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