State the Obvious. Over-Communicate.

Posted on June 2, 2021 by Ramin Zamani ‐ 2 min read

State the Obvious. Over-Communicate.

“Pull your chair close to me and roll up your sleeve on your left arm,” the young nurse told me nicely as I sat down next to her to get my second vaccination shot.

“I’m going to rub some alcohol on your arm now, and here’s the bandaid I’ll put on your arm after the shot is done,” she explained calmly.

I was watching her move her hands quickly, performing the tasks she was describing, and thinking to myself: “I can see all the actions she’s taking. It’s not like it’s my first shot. Everything seems so obvious, so what’s with the explanation?”

Then I remembered what one of my dentist friends had told me once about their patient communication protocol at their clinic: “You always clearly state the next step of the procedure, so the patient is kept informed on what’s going on.”

I always wondered why. That seemed entirely unnecessary to me. What would the patient do? Object? Disagree and recommend a different course of action?

I was calm and deep in my thoughts while the nurse was preparing my arm until she was about to pick up the vaccine syringe.

I felt a sudden rush of anxiety as she brought the syringe close to my arm: “Does she know this is my second shot? Is she using the same vaccine as my first one? What if she makes a mistake?” I was concerned. I thought I should probably ask her to stop, but it seemed too late. She was moving too quickly.

Then something magical happened.

Holding the needle just an inch away from my arm, she paused for a second and confidently said: “Second shot, Pfizer.”

I was relieved and didn’t even notice the shot. The nurse smiled and confirmed: “All done!”

I was so grateful and immediately appreciated the value of the patient communication protocol.

Things that may seem trivial to you may not be that obvious to your patients/clients/customers.

Even if you think they (should) know something, it is always better to explain, give context, add detail to what you are doing for them.

State the obvious. Over-communicate.

Your clients will appreciate it. And will trust you more.

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