It is a powerful but underutilized communication tactic. Politics aside, we can all agree that the speech above by Prime Minister Netanyahu was very powerful for many reasons, but mainly because of the 45 seconds of silence.
How often do you hear silence these days? Not very often at all. In our hyper-connected, instant gratification, selfie-obsessed society, silence is a precious commodity.
If you can overcome this societal tendency you can actually leverage the power of silence to grow your practice and increase your impact in your community. Silence in communication offers several distinct advantages.
If you aren’t talking it makes it a lot easier to listen. There’s an old saying that goes like this, “You have two ears and one mouth, your listening, and talking should be in that proportion too.” When I meet a new patient for the first time I acknowledge their primary complaint and say I have read their paperwork, but invite me to “tell them all about it.” It’s an open ended question and I don’t talk until they are done speaking.
More often than not patients don’t know what to do with that question. They aren’t used to getting to tell their story to a doctor. You have just created a wow experience and built trust with them simply by shutting up and listening.
Improved Report of Findings
I hesitate to write this portion of the article because I don’t want it to come across as one of those pushy practice management tactics. I hate manipulation tactics so trust me this isn’t one of those.
Your silence after you present a treatment plan, and ask if they have any concerns is magical. It gives the patient time to think things over. You don’t know what they are thinking, so don’t rush in trying to anticipate what they are going to say next. You will probably be wrong and it makes you look desperate. So shut up and let them think and I guarantee your reports will go better.
A Better You
Your biggest competition is ultimately you. Not the DC down the road. Not organized medicine. It’s you.
You alone are responsible for your success. You can’t have a better life if you don’t make a better version of you.
This is where silence and the practice of meditation/mindfulness comes into play. Silence allows you to think. To plan, to evaluate. But it also helps you lessen stress and improve your happiness.
One of my favorite forms of meditation is to simply think about the love of Christ. I just close my eyes and think of all He has done for me. You can also focus on a scripture verse, or simply your breath. Do what works for you.
Whatever form a meditation you choose be sure to stick with it. Google benefits of meditation/mindfulness to find out more. There is a growing body of evidence available at your fingertips.
This is an easy thing to implement on Monday morning. I challenge you to experiment and see how silence can grow your practice.