Why are the Americans so up their own backsides?

Anyone interested in Politics? Nor me.

Personally I think they’re all thieving scumbags who cannot be trusted 2.54 centimetres.

And because of that (and the fact that I don’t actually have a television) I don’t follow politics at all.

I am aware though that the Americans are gearing up for their presidential elections and had a fascinating email dissecting the speeches of the wives of the two presidential candidates at their party conferences.

In short, Michelle Obamas speech was supposedly written at 12th Grade level, whereas Mitt Romney’s wife had her speech supposedly written at 5th Grade level, the lowest of any presidential nominee’s wife ever.

Christ, aren’t the Americans just SO up their own arses sometimes?

But that aside, the fascinating thing about this is that almost everyone has entirely missed the point here.

Because the purpose of language is communication.

As doctors we use highly technical, specialist language when talking to each other about patients because it facilitates communication between us. It is very precise verbal shorthand that allows both brevity and accuracy of communication. So if I were to talk about a Dukes C1 cancer of the sigmoid colon with an isolated metastasis in segment 4 of the liver in a 79 year-old gentleman with Stage 4 renal failure and COPD you know precisely what I’m talking about. But Joe Public would probably only take away the fact that a ’79 year-old man had cancer somewhere’ from that sentence. To explain the whole picture to a layman would take a hell of a lot more than 29 words it required between you and me.

Which of course is why talking to patients can sometimes be quite a challenge even for the best of us, especially when some patients are highly educated +/- intelligent and others are very poorly educated +/- a bit Thick.

So what everyone has missed is that the speech Mitt Romney’s wife gave was far more likely to connect with the people that matter – the Voters. That was its purpose.

Michelle Obamas’ big words were a mistake.

So Private Practice Success Tip #9 is to talk to your potential patients in all your communication – your website, information leaflets, everything – in a language they can really understand and relate to. Simple words will allow understanding (‘Sun Reader’ level words – Google it). And bouncing their own words back at them will allow them to relate to what you are saying and generate empathy.

And when potential patients who arrive at your website/read your articles can understand andrelate to what you are saying they will be far more inclined to want to make that private consultation.

By Dev Lall FRCS

Meet the Author

Dev Lall

Upper GI Surgeon and expert in growing private medical practices

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