Effective Consultations: Closing With Confidence

Aug 31, 2016 | Professional Development

It’s affirming, infectious, and sometimes hard to find. It can make or break a deal and push you to victories you never thought possible. It’s confidence — that crucial state of self-assurance that success can’t happen without. Learn why it matters when concluding patient consultations and how to keep your confidence game tight every time.

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” —Arthur Ashe

Closing patient consultations effectively takes confidence, which doesn’t necessarily come easy for everyone. The good news? It’s teachable. Audigy offers resources to help you and your team master the art of confidence, starting with the following insights from professional development experts Tami LaBounty and Danielle Emmons.

What Confidence Looks Like

What does it mean to effectively communicate confidence when concluding patient consultations? Rather than a fixed position, the state of being confident involves a fluid mind-set that may need adjusting based on the circumstances of a given moment.

Some examples of confidence in action:

  • Patients genuinely trusting your recommendation and seeing value in moving forward with a solution
  • Feeling convinced of your professional recommendations and the value they’ll provide to patients
  • Patients acknowledging a genuine connection and common goal between you and them
  • Changing patients’ lives through better hearing

In Audigy Group’s quick-guide primer on hearing care consultations — part of the Patients for Life® process — confidence plays an important role in discussing treatment solutions.

Whether delivering test results, recommending a treatment, communicating the value of that treatment, or asking for a commitment, doing so confidently helps patients in turn feel confident and informed and eager to invest in treatment.

By confidently building value, communicating openly, and making an emotional connection with your patients, you can also address objections during the consultation itself.

Why Confidence Matters

Let’s say you’re going in for a medical procedure, and the surgeon visits your room for a pre-op chat. The surgeon has slouchy posture, stumbles over his or her words, and doesn’t make much eye contact. Low self-confidence? Possibly. At this point, no matter the surgeon’s skill, you’ll probably want a second opinion — maybe even a third — fast.

It’s the same in just about any industry. People judge your competence by the confidence you demonstrate. If you speak with poise and confidence, they’ll assume you can handle the job unless they’re shown otherwise. If you speak with nervousness or fear, however, the audience may assume ineptness until they’re proven wrong.

Indeed, confidence matters:

  • It positions you as the expert — To be respected as the professional, it’s important to exude self-confidence to your patients, helping ensure your external appearance matches your internal competence.
  • It builds trust — It’s all about maintaining consistent behavior in your relationships with patients. People perceive you by your behavior. Confident behavior helps cue them to believe in you and have faith in your abilities.
  • It goes hand in hand with success — What comes first, confidence or success? One thing’s certain: Studies from the past 50 years have consistently proved the two are linked. Self-confident people are more successful in all areas of life, and successful people hold a high level of self-confidence.

An important part of self-confidence is what psychologists call a sense of self-efficacy, the belief that you can accomplish a particular goal, says noted researcher Mark Leary, professor of psychology and neuroscience and director of the Interdisciplinary Behavioral Research Center at Duke University. A person with self-efficacy is more likely to try new things, rebound better after failure, and be more persistent amid obstacles.

How to Pull It Off

Based on best practices observed from top providers and advice shared in professional speaker Michael I. Kaplan’s online article “6 Tips to Project Bullet-Proof Confidence,” here are a few easy steps to confident consultations:

  • Know your motivation — It’s sometimes easy to forget the “why” that motivates you every day. Understand that you and your patients have a shared goal: improving their quality of life. Rather than pressure patients into making decisions, the intent is to help them understand how treatment will not only positively change their lives but the lives of those around them.
  • Make eye contact — An insecure person will feel uneasy looking you in the eye, and an arrogant person may stare beyond you, looking for the next captive audience that might prove more beneficial to their purposes. When speaking with others, looking them in the eye projects confidence and attentiveness, and assures them you have nothing to hide.
  • Eliminate verbal ticks — Uhs and ums may seem handy when thinking of what to say, but those and other verbal ticks can make you sound unsure of yourself. Better to simply pause midsentence, then proceed. Record yourself and practice, if needed.
  • Avoid articulating a statement as a question — A little uptick at the end of a sentence transforms even a definitive statement into a plea for approval. When asserting or making a statement, speak in a way that reflects your knowledge and opinion. If you have a question, use inflection that indicates a question. Don’t mix the two.
  • Avoid interrupting — Confident people know that talking over others doesn’t make their argument more convincing. Interrupting can project arrogance and give the impression that others’ opinions or perspectives don’t matter.
  • Refrain from immediately responding to objections — Confidence allows you to hear, accept, and apply constructive and accurate criticism rather than respond with aggressive defensiveness. If the criticism isn’t constructive or accurate, self-confidence helps it roll off your shoulder. Take the time to listen before you decide one way or another.