How much can you learn in 23 seconds?  Sort of depends on the circumstances and the topic.  When the topic is your personal health and wellness, 23 seconds isn’t very long.

Tragically, a study involving United States and Canadian doctors showed 23 seconds was the average time at which the doctor interrupted the patient as he or she was explaining symptoms and concerns.  This probably explains a lot of things about the state of healthcare today.

Too many doctors do not take the time to listen to what their patients are saying.  Time pressures, assumptions, and preconceived ideas often collude to rush the doctor through each appointment.  This is a very undesirable situation for two major reasons.

First, the doctor may miss the real issue.  Frequently, the patient presents only one facet of the problem, only to be interrupted before more significant components can be addressed.  Sometimes, the patient presents a minor problem before gaining the courage to address a major problem.  When the doctor interrupts, valuable data may be lost.

Second, when the patient does not feel he or she is being heard, the foundation of the doctor-patient relationship is undermined.  A fundamental need of every human being is simply to be heard.  People need to feel they have been heard.  If that feeling is not present, then that relationship can never grow to its full potential.

These two points aren’t true for just doctor-patient relationships.  They are true in all our relationships.  These same communication dynamics apply to our leadership, customer service, client relationships, board meetings, public relations, and our personal relationships.

Let’s see if we can manage our communication style in such a manner people do not brand us or our companies, “The 23-Second Doctor.”

We might be surprised by what we learn.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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