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5 tips to better communicate with your patients

Communication is the cornerstone of good health care. Despite all the external challenges we face with the system in which we work, those few minutes we spend with patients and their families are precious — and are what we will be remembered for. We, therefore, owe it to our patients to be at our very best and to make them the absolute center of our world for that time. Few things could be more important for a physician than being a good communicator.

Communication is, after all, a science — and it’s an area that I am personally very passionate about. I have been honored to give many presentations on this subject, and even one-on-one coaching to my fellow physicians. It simply is not taught enough in medical schools. To be honest, though, I do not believe there is any teaching in the world that could ever turn a poor communicator into a great one (just being brutally honest). However, there is a huge amount that any physician — or for that matter any professional — can do to greatly enhance their communication techniques.

The way anybody communicates and the way the recipient interprets everything is a complex interplay of many different factors; what we say, how we say it, and our non-verbal behavior including disposition and mannerisms (most research suggests that the vast bulk of our communication is in fact non-verbal). Here are five things that every physician has to always subconsciously communicate to their patient:

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