It happens to the best of us: As we become comfortable in our clinical practice, we forget the ways in which our verbiage can dramatically alter the way our patients understand our recommendations.
When I was in grade school, we used to play the Telephone Game on days when our music teacher didn’t have a voice and instead chose to play games during class. She would whisper a saying into someone’s ear, and we would patiently watch as the message got passed between us. Finally, the last person in the back of the class would shout out what they “heard,” and we would giggle at recognizing that a message that started as “Don’t forget to tie your shoes today” turned into “The cafeteria is handing out espresso shots and kittens all week long."
It makes me wonder: Perhaps it isn't how we are saying it but rather what we are saying to our patients that causes important message to become lost. Moreover, are our words being misinterpreted by our patients because we're being too nice?
Are you sugarcoating your verbiage and, in turn, encouraging patients to take their dental needs with a grain of salt? Here are some common phrases you may want to avoid using in the future.