Updated: May 19, 2020
Letting your personality show and making your patients feel less fearful are going to be difficult for dental health providers for sure post COVID. We may be coming at them looking like Darth Vader robot, but they do not have to feel as if we are one. In fact, I believe this is the time to let our personal power shine and providing soft skills behind our shields and masks is going to be one of the most important things we can do moving forward.
Here are some small gestures we can do to make sure we are not hiding behind our masks…..
Smile- Have you ever called and office and can almost feel the frown someone has for answering the phone? I have. We are in the business of smiles and by simply smiling behind your mask creates a small but powerful gesture to make someone more comfortable and less fearful. Smile, it always makes your patient feel more at ease.
Make eye contact- We see a lot and “hear” much more with our eyes than people may realize. At least 70% of what is said is body language and eye contact is certainly part of that. Simply looking at someone when they are speaking to you, will let you know they are being heard.
Speaking a bit slower-Pause and speak a bit more clearly through your mask and shield that you are wearing. You will gain more trust and patient acceptance. We are going to sound muffled and your patients may have a tough time hearing you. Slow down a bit and articulate your message a bit more slowly. Your patients will appreciate this.
Find a bit of humor- They are adjusting to your new normal robot look just as much as you are. Have a bit of fun with it, tell a (short) story. Perhaps you put the new gown on backwards or you learned to juggle during your time at home. There is always a bit of humor in every situation, use it.
Mindset-Remembering why you went into dentistry in the first place. It wasn’t to hide behind something like a mask and shield, it was to help people. You are protecting your patients and yourselves by wearing new gear. It’s not who you are, but how you have to prepare now. Showing them you are not hiding behind a mask by using these small but subtle gestures will give your patients faith in you as a dental health care provider that cares.