Effective Listening Skills


A good receptionist will have excellent listening skills. By listening to the patient you can often hear an unspoken message. They might say one thing but might actually mean something completely different.  There might be several different reasons why the patient is not actually telling you what it is they want – give them every opportunity to do this by listening to what they are saying.

Tips for being a good listener

Give your full attention to the patient. Do not be distracted by other members of the team, or seem as if you are bored. Body language is also very important especially eye contact at all times.

Focus on what the patient is saying – sometimes patient find it hard to put into words what they actually mean, it might be because they are embarrassed, confused or simply looking to you for guidance on what to do – concentrate on what they are saying. listen to help solve what it is they want. Listen first and then ask the questions.

No matter how busy you are never rush the patient – listen to the patient before you begin to speak – you are not listening if you are too busy trying to butt into the conversation. Avoid interrupting.

If you are not clear on what the patient is requesting ASK – and if you are still unsure it is a good idea to repeat in your own words what the speaker has said. Get them to confirm that you have “heard” it right.

Possession of all the information – to solve problems and make decisions, it is necessary to obtain as much relevant information as possible. Good listening skills help you to get as much information as possible about the patient. If you learn to listen to the tone of voice, you may also gain information, which the patient maybe did not intent to communicate – but could sometimes it could be vital. Careful listening motivates the patient to continue talking.

Improved relationships – The patient may have the opportunity to get thoughts, feelings, facts and ideas of their chest. As you listen you will in turn understand them better. The patient will appreciate your interest and this is where a good patient/receptionist relationship can develop.

Resolution to differing points of view –Disagreements can be best solved when you and the patient listen carefully to one another. This does not mean that you will ultimately agree with their point of view, or them with yours, but you can show that you at least understand it.

Remember to use body language – smile, nod your head, frown and laugh,  these are all ways of showing that you understand the conversation. It also shows the patient that you are listening to what they are saying. Listen with your face as well as your ears!

After the patient has finished give feedback – let them know that you understand what it is they have requested – this gives the patient the opportunity of correcting the conversation if they have not made themselves clear.

Better understanding of the patient – Listening carefully to the patient will you give ideas on how they think, what they feel to be important and what they are saying. You will be in a better position to effectively identity and develop their needs and ultimately provide the best care and service.

Vital to listening skills

  • Good body posture
  • Look interested
  • Act interested
  • Good body language
  • Good eye contact
  • Avoid interrupting
  • pay attention to non verbal messages.
  • Listening in return
  • Co-operation.
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