What not to say….

October 30, 2020 0

Ok ok we know you’re smart and you want the whole world to know it, but you also want to be PC and not offend anyone with whatever may offend them ( the list is endless by the way), so how do you communicate with your client.

First off, your client wants to know that you are in control and you have a plan. You don’t have to be pushy or a know it all, just be honest and frank with patients, without bringing emotion into it.

1.Stop trying to be the smartest person in the room and telling everyone you are.“The biceps tendon originates from the supraglenoid tubercle…”  Nobody else cares how much you know.  They need you to explain it to them in a simple language they can understand.  So, try to come up with ways to explain things in simple, descriptive terms. Use visuals and analogies.  You want to connect with your patients and clients, not show off your knowledge or how many big words you know!  Now, don’t dumb it down to the point that you’re just glossing over everything, but learn to read your audience correctly.

2.“Because I said so.” Or even worse “ because Im a doctor”. If you want your clients to tune out right there, congratulations you got it! Providing treatment or prescribing exercise without providing an explanation as to how that treatment or exercise connects to the therapeutic goals is a phenomenal way to turn off even your most engaged clients. Be sure to explain the reasoning behind your treatment and exercise prescriptions.  Communicate with your clients, don’t talk at them, they will switch off in a heart beat and not return, no matter how much you know or how good the service is that you provide. People want to be heard.

3.“You could be doing better.”  Your clients are not children who need to be ridiculed and admonished. All you end up doing is isolating them from you and creating a hostile environment. Blame is never helpful.  Start with focusing on the good things and the progresses that their pet is making.  If you need to point out where the client  is hindering healing, then do so gently and kindly.

  1. “Sure you can do that why not?!” Allowing a client to dictate their care plan.  This one can be tricky.  Canine healthcare funds come out of a family’s monthly budget, and that can be hard for people to balance.  However, you are the expert, which means that it’s up to you to advise what would be best for a patient. Offer a number of alternatives, gold, silver and bronze standard and let them decide what they can afford to do without you guilting them into it. Usually the latter of those includes tons of homework, home exercises, etc., and a lecture about how the clients are now primarily responsible for any progress.  And that I want them back at a specific date. This way, I’m still in charge of what gets done in each scenario.

5.“ Sure come back whenever!”.”  Don’t let your clients leave without knowing your thoughts on the best follow-up course of action.  Even in the case of ‘management-only-patients’:  “This time frame seems to be good. Or, if your patient has deteriorated,  “Let’s see him a little sooner next time”.  Rehabilitation is a marathon, not a sprint.  This means that you need your clients to ‘buy into a long game’, do their home exercises, and come back!  To accomplish this you need to have a trust relationship with the client. Communicate your plans, your next steps, your thoughts, and engage the client with regards to their goals.

Be cautious and conscious of the words you choose to speak. You may not remember them, but your clients do.


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Copyright by Dr. Michele Broadhurst 2020. All rights reserved.

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