Blog, Chirosecure Live Event August 13, 2021

Clinical Communication – What’s Changed?

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Hello and welcome to today’s show growth without risk. My name is Dr. Janice Hughes, and I just love to say thanks to ChiroSecure for including me and engaging me as one of the hosts today. I’d love to have a conversation about almost what sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, clinical communication. And I say that because typically we don’t really clinically think about how we’re communicating or whether we’re being heard or understood by other people. So it’s interesting because as practitioners, we spend a lot of times on the science and understanding the technical parts or how to describe to a patient what’s going on clinically putting them on clinical care plans. But we don’t tend to spend very much time thinking about how we’re actually communicating that. Now I’m not going to be able to in one show today, break down every aspect or every piece, kind of the history behind communication, and then how we change it or how we get more impact.

But I’d love to give you a little bit of an overview today. And I know I’ve been having more questions related to this by a lot of practitioners, a lot of really tough conversations are happening in the world, these states. So the thing I’d like you to understand all of us grow up and we’re kind of taught something called the golden rule. And if you think about it, I always laugh. A lot of even little kids shows Disney shows really there’s characters that talk a lot about if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And there’s another piece of the golden rule where a lot of times people will say, we’ll say and do unto others as you would have them say or do to you. And what I want to share with you is that I think that that golden rule for communication is actually just simply wrong, because what tends to happen is if you or I communicate the way we hear the way we understand, we’re only going to appeal to a certain style or a certain percentage of the population.

Ultimately chiropractically acupuncture, whatever practitioner is listening, I would like you to have more impact because people really hear you and understanding, you know, understand what you’re trying to share with them. So one of the things that I like, I teach it a lot at some of the chiropractic universities. I’ve taught it in management groups. And a lot of it is just a learning or an understanding of something called the four quadrants of communication. And the best way I can describe it is there’s a number of layers or filters related to how we communicate. Now at the top, you can almost think about it like a big funnel like this. You know, we’re at the top of the funnel is things like, are you auditory, visual or kinesthetic in chiropractic? As we know a lot is the touch the feel. So there’s going to be a little bit of that kinesthetic nature within us, but it’s really do you hear and learn that way?

Do you see and learn? You know, do you have people talking at you showing you describing things? Like what kind of style do you learn? And that’s obviously at the top of the filter, if we go a little deeper, that’s where you start to get things like your belief systems, your habits, your patterns, you know, belief systems have a lot to do with how we communicate deeper than that is something called the four quadrant personality style. And there’s a pretty simple little questionnaire or assessment tool that I use so that people can better understand their own style. And we’re actually going to put up on the screen for you a number where you can text thanks to ChiroSecure. Instead of you having to communicate with me individually, this little assessment tool is available directly through ChiroSecure. So if you text this number on the screen, 4 8 0 5 0 0 6 5 7 4, you’ll actually be able to get this little assessment tool that you can do yourself.

Now, when I do this in a classroom, or when I do this with a lot of people, I always say, don’t take very long to do this. It’s a, self-assessment, it’s a little bit of an assessment tool where you just kind of want to go and trust yourself. And you’re going to self score yourself in several different areas. Then what ends up happening is you get a score and you get two different numbers for the score that you then plot on a graph. And I’m happy if you have questions by all means. Just reach out to me either in the stream of comments related to this, um, presentation, or just reach out to me individually as well. I’m happy to help you see where you fit on this piece of paper or this tool, the best way I can describe it right now while you’re listening is it’s like you’re taking a simple piece of paper and you’re splitting it into four quadrants.

Now, the quadrants there’s the driver, the expressive, the amiable and the analytical. And those are what we call our four quadrant personalities. Now this is an assessment tool taught originally by a management company, a business management company, nothing to do with chiropractic, but applying it to chiropractic allows me to help you think in terms of how do you communicate to a patient? How do you communicate to your team? I know I see a lot in all the Facebook groups and streams, frustrations about hiring frustrations, about training frustrations, about communication with staff in particular, a lot of it comes down to if we better understood them, we could help teach them in a way that they understood. Now it’s tough because a lot of times it’s easier to just speak and, and talk and educate in the style that we’ve grown up with. But like I said, you’re only then going to appeal to a certain part of the population.

So whether that’s with patients and, or your staff, a lot of times, if we’re not careful, we find that things just fall really flat. Now I’m not going to break down every one of the styles right now, other than to say and share that on the next couple of times that I’m hosting, I will go a little more deeply into how this impacts us clinically related to patients that let me give you an idea of why I think this kind of clinical approach or thinking through communication is so important. Some of you are naturally stronger communicators than others. Again, a little bit about your personality comes into play. I also find that in many cases, a lot of women have more intuitively been able to pick up someone else’s style, and then you can almost mimic or, or pattern the other person’s style. That gets us to a certain point.

I, for example, in clinical practice was quite good, quite intuitive and strong with understanding someone’s style. But I still was finding that, you know, in that way of communicating about chiropractic, I fell back to my regular style. I’m a driver personality. I am pretty short, quick. You know, I tease a lot of people as I teach you this, you know, pattern of communication, that in some ways, if I was your patient, as an example, as a driver, I would expect a lot. I’d expect you to be on time. I would expect to be able to come in, not have to sit and wait in the clinic have really quick instant answers. I would want to know really how this thing called chiropractic impacts me directly. And how am I going to get the most results? How am I going to get the biggest bang for my buck?

So I’m a driver. And what I found is I was all too often, really succinctly, quickly, almost very directly speaking to patients. And in many cases I was completely overwhelming patients because the perfect example is one of the other, your style’s called amiable. Okay. I always tease that these are some of the nicest, kindest people. They are more withdrawn. They are more people oriented as a driver. I’m more job oriented and amiable. Amiable is more people oriented and amiable patient for me as a driver, you know, doctor, I was just, all matter of fact, let’s get down to business. Didn’t want to chit-chat, but some of the amiables actually need to feel, you feel like they’re in relationship with you as a chiropractor. Now we can learn tools. So that, that doesn’t take a lot of time, but I had to learn that myself as a practitioner so that I could have those amiable patients better hear or understand me.

Now, some of you listening would say, wait a minute, I’ve got so many other things on my plate. Why would I spend time learning this? Well, just as an example, the way that the four quadrants percentage wise in the population splits out is it’s about 20% of the population are drivers. About 20% of the population are expressives about 20% of the population. And these are general. Statistics are analytical that you can see that that leaves about 40% of the population that are amiable. So any of us that are the other styles, if you’re a more expressive chiropractor, you really want the animals to be able to better hear you and understand you and better will be being able and willing, I guess I should say, to accept your recommendations. So the styles are not only about how we even have them understand chiropractic it’s about their willingness to then schedule appointments, understand a care plan, communicate with you effectively within the clinic.

You know, you hear a lot about how do we train people to, you know, come in and talk to us on a regular visit. Some personalities are going to be really willing to come in, lie down, face down on the table, have you palpate them and then update, get other styles. They, they need different things. I just want to share with you today and instill why it’s worth taking, taking a look at how you can become a better communicator. Now, a bunch of different groups and organizations out there that are brilliant with teaching some of the initial visit to report a findings. What to say, how to say it, if you can add on top of that, the filter of how you just communicate in general, it’s going to help all those things that you do have far more impact. Now, I also want you to know this has a lot of impact throughout your entire life.

Let me give you an example of why it’s also important to learn, you know, raising our kids. Many of you will know that each of our kids tends to be a different style. So just as an example, as a more driver personality, when my, I have three sons and when the two youngest, my middle and youngest were still in elementary school, I was taking my middle son for regular vision therapy. On top of him being adjusted. He had some visual field changes and we needed to go for some vision therapy. Well, I would typically in the beginning finished consulting, finished my job. Kids would have just come in the house. I be ready to pack them into the vehicle to take him for his appointments. But you notice that I was doing it in my style. And what I would find is that I would come out say, okay, get your shoes.

Let’s get in the car. And my youngest son would be right there with me in the car. And there would be no sign of my middle son who was the one that the appointments were for. I would walk back into the house and he would basically be in a meltdown on the stairs crying. And for me, it’s like, what? Like I said, get your stuff, get in the car. But what he heard was my tone of voice. And he would think that I was mad at him. So it was up to me to say, do I want to go through that struggle every time, three times a week for appointments? Or was there a different way I could handle that. So as a driver, I had to think through how do I not talk my language? How to, uh, how do I better communicate for him?

So it was little tools. Like I was better not letting them get in the house and get his shoes off because he’s an amiable anymore wanting to hang out after school as a young man play video games. So I would do things like the bus drop the kids off only, literally less than a block from my house, but could I be in the vehicle? And could I be over there to pick him up already? Could I have his favorite snack in the vehicle, all of those things to ease okay. Or better understand his style so that we could ultimately get him to his appointments. So, likewise, let’s think about how that applies in our clinics. You can imagine really training your team. Different styles have different skill sets, have different ways of operating that are incredibly powerful. Like I, on a couple of the next sessions, all break down a couple of the patterns related to the different styles.

But thinking in terms of, if you take a simple piece of paper and split that into four, what I want you to know is that the top right hand quadrant is where the drivers sit. The bottom right hand is where the expressives are. The bottom left is the amiable. And the top left is the analytical, a couple of really general patterns to this learning. This clinical approach to communication is that the two personalities above that middle line, along the horizon, above the mid point across the page are the drivers and the analyticals. Both of those personalities are more bottom line production, detail job. First people second, the two below the horizon are the opposite. They’re more people first job, second. So you can see right away. If you have someone on your team, if you’re an analytical and you have someone on the team, that’s an amiable or an expressive what’s tending to happen is sometimes between patients you’ll come out to try to teach them something or share something you’ll be fairly detailed oriented, or you’ll say, here’s what needs to happen.

And for them being more people oriented, it can come across to sharp. It can come across. Like you’re not considering their emotions, their feelings, you know, whether they have time to address that right then or not. So it’s almost like the top part of the page. And the bottom part of the page are those opposite styles. Now, likewise, you can divide these four quadrants. If you think about the vertical line down the page, the two on the right hand side, have some tendencies that are different than the two on the left. So the driver on the top and the expressive on the bottom, right, are very different. They’re much more open. They’re willing to emote. They’re willing to say things, tell you like it is talk about it. The two on the left are much more withdrawn or closed. Doesn’t mean they won’t communicate. It does.

It’s just not that they are super forthright right? At the very beginning of the communication. So I wanted to give you just a few general ideas about these patterns or habits related to communication. So again, we’ll put up and we’ll also post the way that you can get this assessment tool. Because what I want you to understand is this is a way to look at your skill in communicating so that your team and ultimately every one of your patients better hears you and understands what you’re sharing with them. It allows you to be a little cleaner, clearer, and ultimately get the results that I know you all want. You want people to be well-educated. You want them to be well-educated about health and wellbeing. That’s, what’s so critical for us in private practice. It’s also, what’s so needed in the world right now. Let’s face it.

It’s a time in the world of a lot of miscommunication. We have a lot of people, health choices being dictated fears, driving health choices. So ultimately that’s backing people up a lot into their own style. If we don’t think more clinically about how to communicate, we’re going to miss sharing our important messages with people. So I’m excited on our next session. I’ll break down those styles a little bit more and how some of those patients show up in the clinic, how we can more effectively communicate related to even just the initial visit, even welcoming them into our clinic. And then a few tools say for the report of findings as well. So I just wanted to share that whole idea about the four quadrants with you. Please know that next week on our show growth without risk, you’re going to have the host Dr. Sherry McAllister. So please stay tuned for that as well. Again, I’d like to take the opportunity to say thank you to ChiroSecure for allowing me to be one of the regular hosts of the show. I appreciate you, please. Don’t hesitate to reach out, to ask more about why or how it will benefit you to be a little more clinical thinking about the way that you share your message of health and wellbeing. Thanks and have a wonderful day