It’s challenging not to try educating patients while encouraging them to accept treatment. In my last blog, I discussed why patients react negatively when we overshare our knowledge with them.
How to Stop Educating Your Patients
What goes wrong in these situations where the patient wasn’t convinced by the information overload? Obviously they see that I am highly educated. Obviously the patient knows I am an expert. Obviously my uniform says ‘Dr.’
Doesn’t this patient understand how much time, effort, hours, blood, sweat and tears I have put into my craft? How dare they say no to my recommendations! I can assure you that attitude did not start to turn my bus around. If I could share only one piece of advice with any dentist that I meet it would be this:
Whether we like it or not, dentistry is viewed by the majority of the general public no differently than how they view other everyday decisions in their life. And honestly, how they make decisions about their oral health is really no different than how you and I make many of our decisions. The keyword is influence.
We are all being influenced every second of every day and our brains are processing thousands of influences at once while trying to make a decision. We are influenced by sights, sounds, smells, emotions, past experiences, words, and a million other things!
Having a Greater Impact
If you want to have a greater impact on your patients’ lives, stop educating and start influencing. Yes, I do believe some degree of education can have an impact on influence but I also have seen firsthand that too much education can have the exact opposite effect.
When I stopped trying to educate my patients into moving forward with treatment and started learning and studying how to influence them, something amazing happened. I started doing more treatments!
Was it my education alone that enabled me to start doing more of the dentistry I knew I was capable of doing? Absolutely not. I had to take a step back, look at myself in the mirror, and agree to change myself first before I could expect to change others.
What did I start doing differently in my practice to be better at influencing my patients? Stay tuned for my next blog series, where I am happy to share my experiences.
How do you influence rather than instruct your patients? We’d love to hear from you!