by Lisa Philp, RDH, President of Transitions Group North America

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

Listening is a crucial aspect of our communication for case acceptance. It is the ability to passively listen and receive our patient’s message without judgment, acknowledging their statements, answering what was asked and confirming the 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 they want to avoid and how we can help them avoid it and what pleasure they want to obtain and how we can help them get it.

Use door openers to encourage patients 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 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….