Is it easy to use powerful communication? We know as LNCs that communication snafus derail patient safety and can lead to tragedies, or what we like to call train wrecks.
Airplane pilots use a system to verify they are receiving messages. Picture this:
- The pilots are in the flight deck,
- boarding is complete,
- they finished the preflight checklist,
- they are at the beginning of the runway, and
- they’re about to set the throttles and take off.
The takeoff airspeed is typically around 250km/h – When the plane reaches a speed of 100 knots, meaning 185km/h, the pilot in command announces “100 knots!” in the cockpit loud and clear, and if the other pilot does not promptly answer “Check!”, the takeoff is aborted. Immediately.
How do I know this? I am editing a book written by a Romanian pilot and I am learning all kinds of details about the safety of flying.
Powerful Communication Tips
How is the communication in your cockpit? Think about when you said something to a family member or friend and realized this person did not hear or acknowledge you.
This happens a lot in our house: “Raj, dinner will be ready in 5 minutes.” Raj: (Silence.) Not hearing a response, I’ll go investigate and find he has on earphones or is in the bathroom with the fan running.
With hectic schedules and distractions to contend with, it is often quite hard to take the time to stop and pay attention to what another person is communicating to you.
The following are some recommendations on how to ensure the information you communicate is done so in the shortest possible time frame, and yet fully understood by the receiving party:
Put serious thought into the opening sentence
The information and the style of the opening sentence is your only opportunity to capture and hold your listener’s attention. If your opening line in the conversation is not attention grabbing, then retaining the attention of the listener for a longer period will be almost impossible.
Make eye contact with the recipient, throughout the length of the in person or virtual communication session.
This should also be done in a precise and quick time frame. When I see my husband and say, “Dinner will be ready in 5 minutes”, I wait for him to verify he heard before I leave the room.
The language design and phrasing should also be in line with the attorney’s capability and understanding levels.
Talking to someone who is not savvy in medical jargon is a waste of time and effort. Using descriptive words and visual words to make it easy for the listener to “see” the picture in the mind’s eye would be one way of invoking the desired emotions.
When you talk to an attorney client, define medical terms and remember you are speaking to a non-healthcare provider. It is easy to slip into jargon. Be sure you thoroughly understand the medical details before providing your client with explanations. It is embarrassing to be caught with a hazy understanding of the case.
Using similes is another effective way of providing explanations.
“A stage 2 pressure sore feels like the blister on the back of your foot when you are breaking in a new pair of shoes.”
Getting the recipient to summarize and repeat, what has been communicated is also another method of ensuring the information is both heard and understood.
This is also another way to ensure the content of the information stays the same as it was presented and there are no additions or distortions to the content.
“Attorney, I screened your case for merit and found it has no merit, and here is why… Let me be sure I was clear. Could you let me know what you just heard and ask your questions?”
Following these tips will help ensure that you are using powerful communication and you’re delivering your message- and are ready for wheels up.
Pat Iyer is president of The Pat Iyer Group, which develops resources to assist LNCs to obtain more clients, make more money, and achieve their business goals and dreams.
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