"What we say and what we hear can sometimes be two completely different things" highlighted optometrist and professional affairs consultant at Bausch & Lomb, Vinni Virdee, during a talk at 100% Optical (12–14 January).
Drawing on psychologist Albert Mehrabian’s communication model, Ms Virdee’s See what you say lecture discussed the three common forms of communication that are used in daily life: verbal, vocal and visual.
This model highlights the importance of non-verbal communication. According to Professor Mehrabian, 55% of all communication is visual, delivered through body language.
Ms Virdee urged practitioners to consider that the first impression that a practice often makes with patients is verbal or vocal. “Practices cannot be in front of the patient all of the time and, for most, the first impression that a patient will have of a practice is not when they step into the store, but by phone, text or email.”
With this in mind, Ms Virdee suggested that practitioners consider how they answer the phone, as well as the, perhaps, generic emails that are sent to patients as verbal and vocal communication is important in this instance.
Highlighting the increasingly digital world that consumers operate in, Ms Virdee revealed that just 7% of our communication is verbal and therefore the words that we use and the way they are delivered are of particular importance.
“The words we use, as well as how we say them is important. We really need to bring the words to life – if you have rushed to answer the phone or were in the middle of another task, fluster and frustration can come through” she said.
Having reviewed a patient email for a practice recently, Ms Virdee admitted that is it easy to become technical and use professional jargon that patients are unfamiliar with.
“In practice, we tend to adopt a professional persona. But what we should always remember is that patients are just people too and we should try to have a normal conversation with them,” she emphasised.