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The Art of Effective Communication

Do you often  feel you are not heard, or just not connecting to the other person? The art of effective communication often falls by the way side in contemporary life. The interesting thing is if you employ the art of effective listening, you ensure understanding, resolve conflicts, and improve accuracy.  Listening builds friendships and may even save marriages.

At Willow Dental Care we believe that effective listening is key to truly connecting with our patients and helping them have a great dentist visit.  It’s this method of velvet touch interaction that we teach each one of our Willow Dental Care employees.  Here’s how we empower our people with the art of effective listening:
The important thing is to be attentive. The dictionary says that to “attend” another person means to:
  • be present
  • give attention
  • apply or direct yourself
  • pay attention
  • remain ready to serve

1.  Listen without judging the other person or mentally criticizing the things she/he tells you.

2.  Listen without jumping to conclusions. Remember that the speaker is using language to represent the thoughts and feelings inside her/his brain. You don’t know what those thoughts and feelings are and the only way you’ll find out is by listening. 

3. Pay attention to what isn’t said. Nonverbal cues or body language embody over 80% of communication.

4. Don’t interrupt and don’t impose your “solutions.”  Summarize, Summarize, Summarize!

5.  Ask questions only to ensure understanding.

6. Try to feel what the speaker is feeling. If you feel sad when the person with whom you are talking expresses sadness, joyful when she expresses joy, fearful when she describes her fears—and convey those feelings through your facial expressions and words—then your effectiveness as a listener is assured. Empathy is the heart and soul of good listening.

To experience empathy, you have to put yourself in the other person’s place and allow yourself to feel what it is like to be her/him at that moment. This is not an easy thing to do. It takes energy and concentration. But it is a generous and helpful thing to do, and for high fear patients it is the difference between trust and non trust.