Chiropractic Coaching: How to Deal with “Difficult” Patients
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Chiropractic Coaching: How to Deal with “Difficult” Patients
Hello everybody, and welcome to Thrive In Five, I’m Dr. Dennis Perman and I’ll be your chiropractic coach for today. Well, there isn’t one of us who hasn’t had the experience of having somebody come into our office or dealing with somebody in some other particular business setting, that seems like it’s difficult. And I thought that today we would spend a few minutes on how to deal with difficult patients, because people aren’t deliberately trying to make it hard for you. People do the best they can with the resources they have available. In fact, I learned from Anthony Robbins many years ago, that there are no resistant people, only inflexible communicators. So the point is, if you can learn to be more flexible as a communicator, you’ve got much more of a likelihood of being able to either turn “difficult people” around, or even better turn them into raving fans, because you were the one who was able to crack the code on how to communicate effectively with them.
So let’s begin with a discussion of the way that we connect with people, because the very first thing that you need to do in order to make a connection with somebody who’s well, anybody, whether they’re “difficult” or not is by gaining rapport. How do you gain rapport? Well, you want to alert the other individual’s nerve system that you are someone who can feel familiar or comfortable to them. You see, in order for you to be able to gain rapport, you have to get the other person’s nervous system to receive you and think you’re okay. And the way to do that is with a very simple process known as matching and mirroring. Matching and mirroring means that you give the individual you’re communicating with back some of themselves. So if you’re speaking with somebody and you choose to use a tonality similar to theirs, or word choice that’s similar to theirs, or a facial expression or a head tilt or a body set that’s similar to theirs, you’ll be amazed to discover that it almost automatically makes the person seem more comfortable.
In fact, if you match and mirror somebody often you’ll see them relax. They’ll just give you that sympathetic sigh. Or they may even lean it a little bit to be more engaged and to demonstrate how comfortable they are with you. So the very first thing you want to do to deal with somebody who you perceive may be difficult, or even somebody who is acting difficult, is to match and mirror them, to create the best and most streamlined connection with them that you can possibly get.
Now that by itself is a really good idea. But when you add the second factor we’re going to talk about, it makes all the difference in the world, but let me make sure you have a grounding in this. Because if you understand why I’m going to say what I’m going to say next, it’s going to make it easier for you to use it in every communication from now on. You see, relationship is made of something. And when somebody is perceived to be “difficult” what that really means is that they’re not available. They’re not in relationship with you, they’re not engaged. If they were, they’d be eager to hear what you had to say.
So I developed a perspective that I call the relation equation. The relation equation is very simple. It just says that all relationships are made of two factors: the ability to generate rapport or a feeling of connection or liking or engagement, and the ability to generate a commonality of values. A commonality of values means not that you have the exact same values, but that you understand what the other individual’s values are and you’re willing to support them. And you’re willing to suggest or explain what your values are so that the individual across from you is willing to support them. So relationships simply are made of R plus V, rapport plus values. Now you see why I begin our discussion of difficult patients or seemingly difficult patients with the ability to generate rapport.
If you match and mirror these people, you’ve got a much better likelihood of having them feel comfortable. And if they feel comfortable and familiar with you, there’s less of a likelihood of them pushing back too hard on what you’re going to say. But then you add the X factor, values. You find out what’s important to them, and you demonstrate how what you’re going to do is going to cause them to get more of that. If somebody gets that they’re going to get more of what’s important to them through what you do, they want you to do it. So defusing difficult patients is nothing more than creating rapport by matching and mirroring, and then asking good questions about what’s important to them to find out exactly how you can match your values to theirs, or at least be aware that you know what their values are so you can show them how what you’re going to do is going to help them get more of that.
Now, every patient who comes into your office, at least the huge majority of them, have a very similar problem. They’re in pain and they want relief. But the question is what is their pain preventing them from doing in their life that they really want to do? See, if you can understand what their pain or problem is preventing them from doing, now you can support their values. You can even just ask, “Tell me, Mr. Patient, what is this pain preventing you from doing in your life that you really want to do?”
“Oh, well, doc, I love to golf and I just can’t golf.” So you say, “Well then I guess if we were able to get you back out on the golf course, then you’d feel like our work together was successful and worthwhile, right?” And the patient will melt. They’ll go “Absolutely. If you can get me back out there on the golf course, I’ll be your best friend.” And you know what? They’re not joking. They will be. So no matter how difficult somebody is, or seemingly difficult somebody is, if you expend the effort to gain rapport by matching and mirroring, and then to establish a commonality of values by asking good questions and showing you what you’re going to do is going to help them get something that they want, you will find that there are no resistant people, just inflexible communicators.
Say, let’s take a look at a slide that talks about a very important event that’s coming up in just a few weeks. Our SuperConference is notoriously one of the grandest events of each year. And those in the know, make it their business to attend. Now last year because of COVID, we weren’t able to have our SuperConference. So this SuperConference coming up is going to be October 21st, 22nd, and 23rd in Tampa, Florida. It’s some of the very best speakers that you can possibly have in the profession. Experts in neurology, experts in social media, experts in coding and billing, experts in people skills, experts in all aspects of clinical practice. This is one you simply don’t want to miss.
Now we call it Practice Unmasking because we all recognize that chiropractic is a great unknown to many people in the marketplace. And we want to take off our masks so that they can see us in full glory and recognize how they and their families can benefit from chiropractic care. So you see a link at the middle of the screen, tmc.bz/sc2021. That’s the link that will take you to the landing page, where you can find out more about this event. I urge you to consider being there. This is going to be one of the good ones. And after all this time of not being able to go to live events, I think you’ll be very pleased if you choose this one to go to first. Listen, it’s always a pleasure to be here with you on Thrive In Five. This is Dr. Dennis Perman from The Masters Circle Global signing off for today.
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