By Roger P. Levin, DDS

DrPt Conversation

The more competitive the ortho market becomes, the more important it is to form strong interpersonal relationships with patients and parents. Establish rapport and make them feel special, and they will tell their friends, neighbors and referring doctors how good you are. Although more people are “ortho shopping” than ever before, they will still respond to recommendations from people they know and trust—your patients and their parents.

Add Verbal Skills To Your Clinical Skills

Some people are naturals at striking up conversations and getting others to like them. To enhance your interpersonal skills, learn to use these opening lines:

1. “Tell me a little bit about yourself.”
People like to talk about themselves. Start the process with this request and you’ll soon get a sense of the other person. Beyond this general approach, get more specific.

2. “Tell me a little bit about your family… about school?”
Adult patients or parents of young patients will usually be happy to talk about their children and family life. With children, asking about school leads to conversations about subjects, classmates, teachers, teams, etc.

3. “What activities do you enjoy?”
Everyone has hobbies, special interests, favorite sports. You can actually see patients and parents get excited as they talk about what they like to do. Ask questions, relate the answers to your own preferences and let the conversation flow.

By making simple notes for review prior to the next visit, you will pleasantly surprise patients and parents by remembering details from the previous conversation.

As simple as all this may sound, it works extremely well. You will be amazed at how easily patients and parents open up about themselves; and at how this personal connection turns them into strong referrers for you and your ortho practice.

levin To learn how to run a more profitable, efficient and satisfying practice, visit the Levin Group Resource Center at You can also connect with Levin Group on Facebook and Twitter (@Levin_Group) to learn strategies and share ideas.