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Whether it’s with prospects, patients, business partners or staff: Communication can make or break you. If you communicate ineffectively, your staff will revolt, your patients will leave and prospects will choose another doctor.

Communicating well lets you avoid those problems. You’ll gain more patients, have happier patients and your staff will know exactly what you mean.

In this episode, you’ll find out how to communicate more effectively and become a better chiropractor who gets better results both in business and in clinic.

Show highlights include:

  • How “undercommunication” with patients keeps patients from coming back and sends them straight to your competition. (4:15)
  • The most important meeting you should be having with your team. (9:50)
  • Why you should always have a coach. (11:37)
  • How bad communication might be sabotaging your marketing. (12:46)

Find out more about the CSA retreat at: https://www.csacircle.com/csa-retreat

Read Full Transcript

Hey, chiropractors. We're ready for another Modern Chiropractic Marketing Show with Dr. Kevin Christie, where we discuss the latest in marketing strategies, contact marketing, direct response marketing, and business development with some of the leading experts in the industry.

Kevin: Hey, docs. Welcome to another episode of The Modern Chiropractic Marketing Show. This is your host, Dr. Kevin Christie. Today, I've got a solo episode around communication. It's going to be a big topic in the upcoming book that I'm writing, which I'm really excited about. I don’t have a title yet for you. I don’t have a release date. I do know we have a publisher and I'm about 35,000 words deep into this book, aiming for about the 50,000 to 55,000 give or take, but just not focusing on a word count per se. I obviously want to get as much good information out to you as possible within a reasonable amount of pages and it's also going to be a combination - it's going to be a book and a workbook, which I'm really excited about, so you'll actually have a workbook to go through to apply these concepts and principles to your practice or your, you know, associateship. [0:01:10.3]

It's going to be great for anybody that's an experienced 25-year doctor or a student and really going to make it actual so I'm excited about that. So communication is a big part of that book and I dive into that quite a bit in and the different aspects of it and so I wanted to touch on it today. Before we do that, we are about a month out as this episode is being released, we're about a month out from the Palm Beach retreat, the CSA Palm Beach Retreat. We had a great one in Portland over the summer and we had a lot of good feedback from that. We have already got over 20 people signed up for it and we're capping it at 40. The early bird has gone and passed but you can still get in on there. If you're a CSA member, there's a discount. If you're a student, there's a discount. If you're neither of those, there's no discount, but you can check it out at bit.ly/CSARetreat and you can register there. We are capping it without a doubt and then we have got Dr. Jeffery Langmaid. We have got John Morrison. We have got myself and we have got Dr. Bobby Maybee all presenting and giving you really good information, but at the same time, we're also going to have small groups and you'll be able to connect with your colleagues and really bounce a lot of ideas. [0:02:19.3]

That's what happens when I go to Strategic Coach every quarter - it's great learning from the Coach and it's great learning the concepts but one of the best things too is being in a room filled of entrepreneurs and bouncing out great ideas and learning things that I wouldn’t and that's what happened in Portland over the summer. We got a lot of feedback that one of the things chiropractors liked the most that went there, aside from obviously learning from the presentations, was the small groups and connecting with the other colleagues and learning information that's applicable to their practice. So check that out. Again, that's bit.ly/CSARetreat. We hope to see you there. [0:02:57.2]

Alright. So let's dive into communication. I've talked about it. I've written about it. What I talk about… what I consider as the thriving chiropractor and it really is that three-legged stool that sits on a foundation of communication and the three legs of that stool are clinical excellence, business acumen, and effective marketing, and obviously the foundation being communication because I think all three of those take really good communication to do well in that. Alright? And so let's break that down first because a lot of people are like, what does communication have to do with clinical excellence? Well, I believe strongly as a chiropractor, you're going to improve your clinical results if you're communication with your patient and even your other providers, maybe mid levels, you know, if you've got a chiropractic assistant or you've got an exercise rehab person, that communication needs to be good, but let's just focus on the patient. Right? I think one of the biggest mistakes chiropractors make, especially early on, is poor communication with that patient. [0:04:04.2]

It can be even on one end of the spectrum of over communication or what we see a lot is under communication, and so from an under communication standpoint, we don’t sit down with them at the end of the visit. We don’t give them a diagnosis. We don’t give them…maybe we do give them a diagnosis, but we don’t give them what caused that. We don’t give them a really well thought out treatment plan on why you're doing that. We don’t communicate some of the expectations you have of that patient as far as at-home care. There's a lot of things that go unsaid. We sometimes focus on ourselves or we just start spitting out all these, you know, words and terminology, but we really didn't give them the information they were seeking that's going to help guide them through this, and really frankly, buy into what you're telling them. One of the biggest things we see when this happens is under communication or poor communication in general, is you may want them to come in twice a week for four weeks to you know, obviously get better and stay better and then after a few visits or so, they're either not getting better or they feel like they're resolved and they fell off care. [0:05:18.5]

One of the biggest problems with the poor communication is these patients don’t fulfill the treatment plan that you recommend and that will really hinder your clinical outcomes, and so you'll be confused as to why they're leaving and a lot of times it's the communication and then your clinical outcomes are going to suffer as well. So you got to make sure that you're communicating. On the other end of the spectrum, like I mentioned, was over communication, kind of the verbal vomit we hear a lot, especially a lot of younger chiropractors and I think chiropractors in general fall into this category where we just start speaking in science and chiropractic terms and all these big words and we don’t bring it down to that like 5th grade level that they can actually understand and frankly buy into, and so they just are so overwhelmed and you just talk too much about whatever. [0:06:10.6]

It doesn’t resonate with them either. So again, there's not going to be any buy-in. So you really got to clear and concise with your communication and that's why I feel like I really …having communication, what we would call like table talk is obviously important but we also need to have a very well thought out report of findings that's not this dog and pony show that's trying to convince them of anything. It's just sitting down and really making them understand that you heard them. You understand what they're going through and that you have a really well thought out plan for them. So you really need to make sure, you know, I think I spend three to five minutes at the end of the first visit and go over everything for them. [0:07:01.5]

I kind of you know start out with making it about them and what the condition is, what the diagnosis is, what's the indirect cause of it, you know, reiterate what their concerns are, you know, like their concern is maybe they can't run and then outline what their goals are. Maybe their goal is they're trying to run this marathon and cross that finish line. So we go through that and we understand that like, yeah, I'm not trying to just get rid of your knee pain, which would be easier than getting rid of your knee pain and running 20 something miles. Right? So, I make sure that they understand like yeah, this is the goal, not just to get you feeling better, but also, you know, for this particular example, is getting them to be able to run and cross the finish line. So, I do that, and then from there, I lay out the treatment plan - what we're going to do as far as the care we're going to give them - what they can expect. Right? So a lot of times the mistake we make is we go right out of the gates and we talk about how great, you know, active release technique is, and I'm certified in that, so it's something we do or grastoning technique or the adjustment or the rehab or NBT, like whatever - we just go right out of the gates talking about how great that is and that's what we're going to do. [0:08:09.0]

Whereas you really want to start out and obviously reiterate what they've got going on, give them their diagnosis, give them the cause, what the goals are, everything I just mentioned. Then we can roll into what we're going to do as kind of that guide to help get them there and introduce them to certain things like, yeah, we're going to need to see you a couple of times a week for 3 or 4 weeks. That's what've seen based on your condition and your goals and just the experience of this type of injury or pain you're having. Then, when you come in, our visits are not going to be as long on followup visits as the first one because there won't be an exam, but we will be doing continual reexams and keep an open line of communication with you on how you're progressing and we're going to do these treatments, blah, blah, blah. You kind of just set this plan for them. So now they've left that 3-5 minute conversation and feel like, okay, well, I have got my diagnosis. I know what caused it. They get what my goals are. I know what my treatment plan is. I know what's going to happen when I get here. [0:09:05.3]

I've got a really well thought out actionable plan, and I think that's the way you need to do it as far as a good, concise report of findings. Okay? So that's where I feel like the communication really can improve your clinical outcomes. Okay? So to achieve clinical excellence, communication is a huge one. Alright? So let's now move on to business acumen. That's that second leg of that stool, and I feel like a big missing component in the business side of things for chiropractors is the communication with their team members. Like they do not communicate well. They don’t have a strategy in place for communicating with the team members. They don’t have meetings regularly, like a weekly short meeting. We do a weekly short meeting. We do consistent meetings. We actually do a pre-shift meeting now. So we go through our schedule - like let's say we have a split shift, you know morning and afternoon. Before the morning shift, we sit down for 5 minutes, go through each patient - this is what we need to expect - this is the treatment room they need to be in - they're going to get exercises at this visit or not. [0:10:10.7]

So we kind of do a little pre shift meeting to go through the patient, make sure the communication is there with the team. That's really helped out. So we do that. We do the weekly meeting to go over more of the clinical things, not patient related stuff. Then we do a big quarterly meeting that's everything from goals and marketing plan to you know, KPI (key performance indicators) and just get, work through any problems we're having, any issues in the office like maybe something is broken or a system is not working well. We go through that and we spend about four hours on that one. So I think having really good communication with your team members is huge. But then also having a lot of good communication with some of your contractors. Right? Like maybe your accountant and your financial advisor, your billing person if you outsource them, all these different people that are kind of the, they're kind of the scaffolding of your practice. Right? [0:11:02.8]

You've got your building, you know, you see the construction of a building and you'll see the scaffolding, which is there to help build up this building and then it's removed. It's not part of the structure but it's outside the structure and that's what a lot of your contractors are. So you've got the scaffolding that's helping you grow. You need to make sure that the communication with them is good too and that will really help you grow. You know, for me, what's been so helpful for business is the communication of that. I learned a lot of that from the Strategic Coach. Strategic Coach is part of my scaffolding. Right? Like I will always have a coach. I've got a couple. I think everybody should really and it's something that for me is part of the scaffolding and there's a lot of communication going on between my meetings at Strategic Coach and my practice and then my core… I have… there's like…the way Strategic Coach is you have a main coach that you go to when you're at your quarterly and then you have another coach that you're in consistent communication with. So that to me is huge. Make sure you have communication for the business side of things. Alright? [0:12:03.0]

And then next is effective marketing. Obviously with communication is going to be everything from messaging, which we have talked a ton about on this podcast or in the Facebook group. It's a big part of the book that I'm writing as well, but you got to have that clearly defined message and so your communication has to be good on that. You have to communicate well if you're shooting video - get better at it. It's going to take time. Public speaking - I had a podcast early on, it's like Episode 5 or something with Joel Weldon, who is a Hall of Fame Public Speaker and he talks about how it's a learned skill and so public speaking and community outreach, that type of communication is going to be really helpful to grow your practice and so you really need good communication, whether it's online or offline, in your marketing. I think that goes without saying, but a lot of people are doing marketing but their communication is really poor and so it doesn’t really work as well and sometimes they have to spend a whole lot more money to get the results with the marketing and so you really want to make sure your communication is good. Okay? [0:13:00.9]

And so that really is how you are going to tie in communication to those and one of the common questions I get from people is like, okay, I'm poor at this communication. How do I get better or the other assumption is that you're born with it, right? Like, oh, some people are more charismatic and they're better at communication. Yeah, I mean, there's definitely some levels of that. Right? But most people that you see that are really good communicators, whether it's public speaking or one-on-one with their patient, they've worked at that and it's been something they've definitely tried to improve. I've continually tried to do that, whether it's getting nervous about doing a podcast when I first started it, but doing it anyway - whether it's public speaking, like I'm pretty comfortable with it now - whether it's in a small group, running injury prevention in my community or in front of 500 people in Parker Vegas - like I've got comfortable with it. I still have room for improvement and I am working towards getting better consistently, but what's helped me with getting better with that is just that framework that Strategic Coach has, which is the 4 C's. Okay? [0:14:04.5]

And that is commitment creates courage. So the example that I like to use a lot of times is the podcast, where I made the commitment to do a podcast and that created the courage to actually get it done. When you have that courage, it creates capability. So I now have a capability of podcasting and then when you do that capability long enough, it's going to create confidence. I would say I am now confident in podcasting. I don’t really ever have a guest that I'm really nervous about having or worry that the technology side of things is going to be all messed up. So I've got the confidence in that and then when you get the confidence in something, it's going to create more commitment and it just kind of repeats from there. So it's a cycle and you can apply that to all the things I talked about. Right? If your report of findings is poor, start applying these 4 C's and get better at it. Make the commitment and then just go from there. [0:15:03.1]

If you're not having team meetings at all, so your communication is poor in your practice, start committing to that. Then you'll understand that you'll develop a capability and it'll get a zone of confidence for you, whatever it is - no matter what it is. Again, I always use the reference is like when you started in chiropractic school and you started palpating people and adjusting people, you had no confidence in that and you really didn't even have the capability, but you had made the commitment to go to chiropractic school and spend all that money and you had the courage to show up day one and stay and then slowly, you had a capability. Right? And you graduated and you still were probably at the capability level and then 10 years later, you're probably still at the capability level and then at some point you get the confidence in your palpation, adjusting, treatment, exams, all the things that come with being a clinician. So stick with it and any of these issues with communication you may be lacking that we discussed and of course there's other aspects that I didn't touch on here, but if there are any of those that you're struggling with, make the commitment to get better at that. Pick one of them. Get better at it and then go to the next. Okay? [0:16:09.8]

Alright. So that's my take on communication. I think it's huge. It's been huge for me in my personal and professional development. I still have room for improvement and I will continue to strive for that. Alright. Have a great week and practice. Hopefully, I will see you at the CSA Retreat down in South Florida.

Thanks for tuning in today. Please be sure to check our redesigned website at www.ModernChiropracticMarketing.com. Stay up-to-date with our blog, where content is regularly added by Kevin and guest contributors. You can also access our library of podcast episodes there. Go to www.ModernChiropracticMarketing.com and subscribe to the podcast today.

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