By Lisa Philp, RDH, President of Transitions Group North America
Have you listened to your body language lately?
Great financial conversations happen when dental teams share information with patients in a way that facilitates understanding. Science has proven that people learn differently. Some are auditory learners who understand what they hear. Some are kinesthetic learners who understand what they do. But most, around 65% according to William C. Bradford*, are visual learners who understand what they see. That means during the financial conversation, it’s not only what you say, it’s what patients see. There are two visual tools you can use to better communicate with patients:
- Better Body Language
Of all the components of body language during the financial conversation, eye contact and a confident posture are critical. If the dental team avoids eye contact and appears to be uncertain about the information they are communicating, the patient will pick up on these cues and become uncertain themselves about the value of the dentistry. Here are some body language patients will listen to:
1. Sit up straight and smile. Keep your body posture open and approachable
2. Make eye contact, but don’t stare
3. Relax your shoulders
4. Nod to acknowledge others when they are talking
5. Lean in – not away from the patient
2. Effective Visual Aids
When doctors discuss treatment recommendations with patients, they often use digital photos or other visual aids to help the patient “see” what’s going on in their mouth. Using visual aids during the financial conversation can be just as helpful to patients. Here are a few visual aids CareCredit has developed that can that help patients understand their financial responsibilities and options:
1. A written financial policy shows patients what payment options are available to them at your practice. The policy can include how dental insurance is managed, as well as all payment and financing options.
2. A payment chart or payment calculator makes it easy for patients to see their CareCredit financing options and estimated monthly payments, so they can choose the one that best fits their family’s needs.
When you purposefully use your body language to communicate confidence and your sincere interest in helping patients get care, combined with visual aids to enhance learning, financial conversations are easier for you and the patient.
*Bradford, William C., Reaching the Visual Learner: Teaching Property Through Art (September 1, 2011). The Law Teacher Vol. 11, 2004.
Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=587201
For more information regarding Lisa Philp, visit http://transitionsonline.com/