I wrote this article remembering a bus trip I made on a coach travelling from Dublin to Lahinch, in Ireland in 2013.

A friend and I had joined an organised golf tour for a second week of golf in Ireland with forty other golfers, after travelling around Northern Ireland playing golf for a week prior to this.

It’s 9:45am and the bus has its wipers on. As the bus heads west the weather does not look good. This is the first rain we’ve really seen on the trip, after nine games of golf. And we still have seven more games to go.

This bus trip this morning has been, well, interesting.

It’s given me a greater insight into some of the different types of people there are in the world.

Firstly, we’re sitting at a table of four on the coach. I’ve had to get the iPod Shuffle out in an effort to try to drown out the prattle of our Irish coach driver who is very fond of his own voice. Overly fond. I’m not sure anyone is listening to him. But he’s still talking, talking, and talking…..

In our group of four, there seems to be one talker, and three listeners. Again, some people seem very fond of their own voice. Overly fond, again.

Now, I’ve found, over time, that it’s easier to learn more when you’re listening rather than when you’re talking. 

And this is the same at the dental office.

Firstly, if you’re not listening to your patients, how the heck can you ever expect to understand them? Or understand them fully?  How can you really ever know all of their needs and their wants, if you yourself have always got your own mouth open?

How can you know exactly what your patients want if you’re always talking on and on yourself?

Ask yourself this? Are you the kind of dentist who likes to prattle on for long lengths of time, about techniques and features, rather than discuss the benefits of what you’re doing as needed?

Because it’s benefits your patients want to hear about, not features!

If you don’t dig deep into your patients needs and wants with questions, then how the heck can you solve their problems?

If you’re always listening to the sound of your own voice, then how will you know, I mean really know, your patient’s real concerns?

This is the case of the bus driver.

This is what the bus driver was doing.

In the group of four, some people like to be the centre of attention. Again, these people seem to have an opinion on everything, and they have a burning need to have that opinion heard by everyone too.

The listener type, however, is far more interesting. They sift through the information they hear, adding appropriately, where needed, appearing interested and knowledgeable.

This is how you should be with your patients. Become fact collectors. Gather information. Add your own two cents worth pertinently, where needed.

Mastering the art of active listening, rather than lecturing, will help you become a respected friend of your patients, rather than a knowledgeable lecturer.

When its time for them to have and accept treatment, they’ll be more likely to accept your proposed treatment plan, if you’ve been a problem solving, active listening friend, rather than a headmaster type.

You’ll find your business, *the* business of dentistry, will become easier, when you are a good listener, rather than a lecturer.

So be a good listener…

After all, that’s why you have two ears and one mouth, isn’t it?

So you can listen twice as often as we speak…


Dr. David Moffet BDS FPFA CSP is a certified CX Experience coach. David works with his wife Jayne Bandy to help SME businesses improve their Customer Service Systems to create memorable World Class experiences for their valued clients and customers. Click here to find out how David and Jayne can help your business