An Experts Dilemma
In healthcare there can be two kinds of experts. One takes pride in being able to think and communicate in a logical and detailed manner. This type of expert overwhelms their patients with medical jargon that can’t be understood without insider knowledge.
This type of expert is unable to communicate what they know to a typical patient. Clinical experts can often be mired in their own world of science and specialized techniques. These experts are tempted to escape into the world of advanced knowledge and certifications that further widen the gap between them and their patients.
Accordingly, their practice can flounder in obscurity while other seemingly less qualified therapists practices grow. Rarely are they sought out to be a speaker or quoted by the local media. They ease their discomfort by telling themselves and others that their practice is evidence based and “pure” from commercialism.
In contrast is another type of expert.
This type of expert also bases her care and communication upon logical thinking that is scientific and accurate. However, she is aware that her scientific reasoning and vocabulary is not appropriate in every circumstance. She understands that talking with her colleagues within her medical community is different from the way she needs to communicate with other people.
She is aware of her audience’s level of understanding and alters her communication style. She uses real world examples and images to help her patients to comprehend their problem and what can be done about it. Patient education is done with energy and empathy not with emotionless pat answers. She avoids over generalizations like “you’ve got arthritis” or “you’re just getting old”.
More than likely, her patients don’t feel like she is talking down to them and really cares. Patients have a good vibe about this type of expert and are more apt to spread the word. This expert enjoys the challenge of taking complex medical information and making it understandable. Therefore, she is frequently interviewed by the media and is asked to speak at conferences and to community groups.
Her practice expands as her reputation as first-class clinician and communicator spreads through a ever-widening network.
Which kind of expert do you want to be?
Here are few ideas to help you to be the type of expert that people can’t wait to tell others about.
Keep the focus on your patients
You’re an expert in your chosen niche but be aware that can hold you back. Make your patients the heroes of your clinic not you. Use your professional platform to highlight your patients’ needs and desires not your expertise or services.
Become an expert in a specific niche that you know will really help your ideal patients. Practice your way of explaining what you do and why you do it. Talk less about your certifications and training and more about the benefits they will receive from your care.
Speak in the language of your patients
Your patients are experts on what they want and what they are willing to pay for. Develop a vocabulary and library of everyday stories that are understandable to your patients.
Your head might be full with a lot of great information and you might have great hands on skill. But with no clear way to package it into a clear and compelling message your prospective patients won’t be able to explain what you do.
You can’t hide behind the shingle over your door and you can’t overcomplicate yourself in any shape or form. If you do you won’t capture the attention of the patients you are meant to serve.
Stay connected to your patients
The only way to stay relevant is to stay connected with your patients. Try not to geek out on the latest research and treatment techniques. Geek out on understanding on what your patients need.
Be authentic, open and personal as you seek to understand your patients’ problems, dreams and most importantly the language they are using. If you use their language to explain your solution you’ll experience a satisfying and effective connection.
Invest some time thinking about their answers to these questions (use their words):
- Why are they using your service?
- What do they hope to get out of their time with you?
- What’s in it for them?
- What’s the top question you get asked all the time?
The most important lesson to remember is that patients want you to help them. They want to connect with you. So make it about them not you. Your patients will sense that you understand and care about them when you use language that resonates with their core needs. Rather than talking down to them or talking over their heads speak in words that are meaningful and empowering.
A practice built around a clinical expertise and loyal patients takes time. The connections you make today may not show results until years later. But if you keep your focus on serving your patients, develop your skill as a communicator and stay connected with them then your practice will exceed your expectations.
Share with the community any tips you’ve used to communicate your expertise to your patients.
Cash PT Lunch Hour Interview December 9, 2015
Please make plans to join Aaron Lebauer and I on December 9th, 2015. Aaron will interview me on his Cash PT Lunch Hour about how to take your practice idea and treat your first patient in 30 days. So if you are in the exploration stage of starting your own practice then you don’t want to miss this interview. On the day of the webinar use this link to connect with us. Cash PT Webinar
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If you are intrigued by the attention that cash-based practices are attracting On Fire is a great primer to help you get up to speed on the key issues and how if might impact your practice. The book is available on Amazon. If you are interested in getting your own copy join my email list and I’ll keep you up to date on the special pre-order bonuses I’m giving away.
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