Success in any endeavor depends on two critical elements: Being the right kind of person and doing the right thing. Watch the 12 skills that will help you both "be" and "do", especially if you are a new team member just starting in a Crown Council practice. Each video lasts about four minutes. CLICK HERE to get started.
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March 19, 2020
SKILL OF THE WEEK: Listening Series
The First Level of Listening
People are NOT interested in YOUR point of view until they feel you understand theirs. Making patients feel understood happens best when you truly LISTEN. Don’t just hear what they have to say, let them know they have been understood.
One of the best systems for helping people feel understood is the four levels of listening:
Level 1 – Repeat back
Level 2 – Paraphrase.
Level 3 – Mirror back emotion.
Level 4 – Paraphrase and mirror emotion.
You can use one or more of these levels in every patient situation.
Level 1 is a great way to build more trust into a patient relationship. Simply listen and repeat back the information you have heard to the other person’s satisfaction.
Exercise: Break into pairs and pick one of the following questions to ask each other. Whoever asks the question will repeat back to the other person’s satisfaction what was said.
1. What are all the things you have to get done after work each day?
2. What do you think are the most productive things we can do during a team meeting?
3. What is the sequence of events in your morning routine before you get to work?
Action: Listen more carefully to patients by employing the first level of listening. Start by simply repeating back what they say to their satisfaction. When the patient feels understood it will change how the patient feels about you, the practice, and moving ahead with treatment.
The Second Level of Listening
If there is one ingredient that gets patients to repeat and refer its trust. If they don’t trust you, they’re not coming back.
Nothing builds trust more than listening.
Every step along the way, listen for WHAT your patients are saying. Then feed back to them in your own words, without changing the meaning, what they said. Just paraphrase so they know you are listening and understand them. It is an immediate trust builder.
Exercise: Make a concerted effort today to listen to WHAT your patients are saying and then feeding it back by paraphrasing. Don’t worry initially about having a solution to their problems. Just listen to what they are saying then feed it back in your own words. You will be amazed at how it opens up the communication.
Action: Be a master Level Two Listener by listening to WHAT the other person says and then paraphrasing what he or she has said. The more they feel you understand them, the more trust they will have in you.
The Third Level of Listening
When you listen at the first and second levels of listening, you are listening for and feeding back WHAT the other person is saying. You are listening for content. When you get to the third level of listening, however, you are changing gears entirely and listening for and reflecting back the other person’s emotion. In other words, you are not listening as much for WHAT the person is saying as you are how the person FEELS about what they are saying. When you really understand someone, you understand how he or she feels.
Exercise: Be the emotional mirror today for the patients with whom you interact. Listen at level 3 for how each feels about what he or she is saying. Then reflect back that emotion. Be the emotional mirror.
Action: Be the emotional mirror for your patients. Listen to not only what they say, but how they feel about what they are saying. Your understanding of how they feel will help them feel totally understood, valued, and important. Not only will they want to come back, but they will tell everyone about you.
The Fourth Level of Listening
Almost everyone has had a significant amount of education in reading and writing. Some have taken a public speaking course. But most have had little if any training in the one area where we spend nearly 80% of our waking hours. As a result, most of us think we are pretty good at it, but really aren't. Yet, it is one of the single most important things we are learn to do effectively that will change our results when working with other people. What is it? Listening!
When you listen to WHAT someone is saying and feed it back for verification, you are listening at what we call Level 1 or Level 2. When you listen for how someone FEELS about what he or she is saying and you reflect it back, you are listening at Level 3. But when you listen for What someone is saying and how they FEEL about it and feedback both, you are listening at Level 4.
Exercise: Listen at Level 4 by paying attention to both emotion and content. Feed it back by combining what the person is feeling and why they feel that way with the word “because.”
Action: Use every level of listening by paying attention to both content and emotion. Use Level 4 when appropriate to feed back both emotion and content with the word “because.”