In the mix: Enhance the patient experience: Four pointers on nonverbal communication

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, August 30, 2010

By Wendy Leebov

I’ve been doing a lot of communication skill training recently and I’m repeatedly impressed by the impact that nonverbal dynamics have between staff and customers on rapport, trust, and mutual respect.

I’ve been privileged to observe many people’s nonverbal behavior as they try their hand at various everyday scenarios. And here’s what I see:

  • Some people say the right thing, but their nonverbal behavior doesn’t support what they’re saying
  • Some staff respond to the content of what their customer is saying, even when the customer’s nonverbal behaviors communicate a completely different message
  • When asked to help each other communicate better, most people focus on “what you can say that might be better,” not on opportunities to communicate better nonverbally
  • These observations have prompted me to think more about how to make nonverbal communication work for us as we strive to create great patient/customer experiences.

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