Do you find that your patients leave the office smiling and relaxed or tense and stressed? No one walks into a dental office already relaxed and smiling, and if you do notice them smiling, you can probably tell right away that it’s less of a smile and more of a tight-lipped nervous grimace. Are you right now wondering where I’m going with this? How many times do you smile or laugh in a day? If the answer is, very little or even not at all, then where I’m going with this is to help you understand just how important doing either or both of these things regularly is to your patients, your staff, and your bottom line.
We live in a very serious world, made that much more serious by all the current events. We are being told to be serious, to grimace, to be concerned and afraid all the time. Take the news of the Nuclear threat North Korea poses to the United States (and the rest of the world). It’s terrifying to even think about. We can’t escape this reality and we are helpless to do anything about it. However, fear and negativity can be defeated, if even just temporarily. Sometimes fear’s worst enemy is humor. Just take a look at this video to see how one comedian is able to put a humorous spin on a terrifying threat. (run it forward to 1:56.)
How do you feel after watching that video? Did Mister Colbert make you smile, maybe even laugh a little? This is the power humor has over fear. One smile, just one has the ability to make you feel less stressed and more able to focus. You even lose that paralyzing feeling of helplessness for a while.
Now think of the fear your patients face every time they step into your office, dreading the chair and the treatment to follow that probably includes at the least one needle. The fear may not rank up there with North Korea, but fear is fear and whether I’m worrying over North Korea or a dental needle, it feels the same. I still feel helpless, stressed, and uncomfortable. It is with positive thoughts and actions, such as bringing about a smile or a laugh, that you gain the upper hand with fear and anxiety. These actions are your superpower and utilizing them makes you, just like Mister Colbert and other comedians, a superhero against fear.
The energy and negativity of those feelings have no beneficial value to you or your practice. What is necessary to the success of your practice is turning that frown upside down and laughing every once in awhile. Below are just a few aspects of your practice that can benefit significantly.
As a patient with high anxiety, I need the dental professionals who work with me to make an effort to increase my comfort level. My current Dentist tells me stories about his life outside the office, making sure to keep it light-hearted and interesting. Stop taking yourself so seriously and laugh a little bit.
Patients appreciate humor and will find it a lot easier to relax therefore making the procedure easier for both of you. Not only that, but keeping things light and comfortable by smiling can help your patients to better retain any information you provide them.
There is no one on your team that won’t appreciate a funny anecdote (keep it tasteful of course) and, at the least, a smile. A positive atmosphere is incredibly important to raise morale, reduce the gossip, and allow your staff to be much more open and comfortable around you.
Related article: 8 Ways to Unleash the Superpowers of Positivity on Your Practice
Your bottom line
People are very in tune to the atmosphere around them. They can feel when it is tense and uncomfortable and being all serious all the time can have a very negative effect on your bottom line.
Keeping it light and friendly can change the atmosphere dramatically. Smiling and laughing are both incredibly contagious and very nice to hear and see in particularly tense situations. These two positive actions will provide your patients with a warm and pleasant feeling, the feeling of comfort, security, and belonging.
If you’re too serious, there is no guarantee that patients will return no matter how amazing a Dental Professional you are; it’s all about the experience. Patient retention relies on how they feel once all is said and done and they are on their way out. Smiling and utilizing humor to make your patients laugh will give them a positive more relaxed experience, one they can remember and be excited about repeating. In addition, patients may be convinced to tell others about that positive experience as well, providing you with free marketing.
You might not believe it, but success hinges on the way you feel, too. If you are someone who works hard to put their patients and their staff at ease, people sense that. A smile has the power to not only make you feel good and significantly reduce your stress level, but also, a smile draws more people to you. This is why almost all ads feature someone smiling or laughing in them; or instead they feature someone attempting to make the audience laugh.
I only have one piece of advice. If you’re not smiling right now, take some time to watch or read something funny. Take a moment for that feeling to fill you up and put a smile on your face before you go back to work. Trust me, you, your patients, your staff, and especially your bottom line will thank you for it.
- Psychology Today: The Importance of Humor Research
- Lifehack: 7 Benefits of Smiling and Laughing that You Didn’t Know About