One Important Tip For Talking With New Patients
Late night talk show host Craig Ferguson does something unique just before interviewing someone on his show. He takes the card on his desk—the one with the background notes on the guest and suggested questions—and he makes a show of ripping it up and throwing it in the air before launching right in to the conversation.
It’s a bit of showmanship that is designed to serve a purpose. It’s a gesture that says, “I’m not going to read questions off a card. Let’s just talk.”
Now of course he does know a lot about the guests before they come out. Everyone coming on a talk show goes through a pre-interview with a staffer behind the scenes first, and you can be sure Ferguson has briefed himself well before the guest steps out. The point he’s making is that when he’s face to face with you he’s giving you his full in-the-moment attention.
This is one simple thing you can do when meeting with new patients. Review their information beforehand (from questionnaires and forms patients fill out with a team member—I’ll deal with that in the next post) and go in ready to talk, not read.
Just being able to sit knee-to-knee, eye-to-eye, and demonstrate that you have taken the time to know them has a profound impact on a patient. Sure, you may have to consult the records at some point (it is your professional duty to be thorough, after all) but the point is that you should come in prepared to put the clipboard away and start by having a conversation from the heart.