A Guide to Successful Patient Conversations

A Guide to Successful Patient Conversations

4 Common Personality Traits + Simple Dos and Don’ts

Sales people often modify their proposals based on the specific wants and needs of their customers. This same approach can be applied in transitional care to improve communication with your patients and their family members.

Patients and care givers are unique individuals with different needs and expectations, and at times they are coping with a range of emotions—from pain and sadness to anxiety and fear.

Acknowledging these differences and adapting how you talk to each individual is the first step toward successful patient conversations.


Learn to spot these 4 common personality traits and

remember these simple dos and don’ts:



They’ve done their research and want to know you’ve done yours.

Phone tip: If talking to them over the phone, they will likely skip the chit-chat and get right to the point. Don’t be surprised if they came prepared with a list of questions.


  • Get right to the point and explain yourself in clear, concise sentences.
  • Provide valid reasons for following through with the care plan.
  • Be prepared to answer their questions.


  • Beat around the bush.
  • Use a condescending tone.
  • Try to answer questions you are unsure of.



They put long-term relationships before results.

Phone tip: Over the phone, the Connection Seeker will be enthusiastic and helpful, seeing it as the first step toward building a lasting relationship.


  • Establish a personal connection and take an interest in their situation.
  • Assure them of your commitment to an ongoing relationship.
  • Provide real-person examples or testimonials of positive health outcomes associated with care plan adherence.


  • Treat them like “just another number”.
  • Go long periods without communicating with them.
  • Focus too much on data and statistics; these patients value examples with a human connection.



They want all the data before they make any decisions.

Phone tip: Like the Straight Shooter, they will want to get right to the point over the phone. However, they may want to spend more time discussing each little detail.


  • Come prepared with facts and figures.
  • Talk to their specific condition and offer a clear solution.
  • Provide all possible options regarding a successful health outcome.


  • Pressure them into making a decision.
  • Exaggerate results or make unattainable promises.
  • Push for a personal connection; they may not need or want one.



They appreciate a good rapport before getting down to business.

Phone tip: These patients are easy to “spot” over the phone: they are sociable and responsive and will welcome your questions—even more so if you open up and share something about you.


  • Put them at ease by asking questions about them or possibly sharing something about you.
  • Adopt the role of educator and spend a little more time explaining the details of the care plan and why they are important.
  • Help them see the big picture in terms of positive health outcomes (e.g. getting back to their routine, being able to do the things they love).


  • Overwhelm them with clinical jargon.
  • Disregard their questions, even if they may not be relevant.
  • Get immediately to the point; they may feel as though their thoughts and feelings are being overlooked.

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