Bringing Balance to our Communication
What PT can't relate to being overwhelmed with terminology?! Even if you're not a PT, you'll relate to this post.
In her blog, Lisa Catenacci wrote: I've been reviewing my notes, trying to remember pathologies and how to write my documentation...I was reviewing my notes...when we were learning how to write notes and do SOAP note documentation." (01-06-09)
As a student, I wondered how I would ever be able to keep all of those abbreviations straight. Every clinical seemed to have invented their own nomenclature-a never ending flow of alphabet soup!
Now, without even thinking, I use those once-foreign words and abbreviations in conversation with colleagues, patients, anyone! At some point I realized that if patients were going to understand what I was saying, I'd have to stop speaking in medical terms and return to terms I had been comfortable with BPTS (Before PT School).
Regardless of your career, you encounter field-specific terminology. Do you use that terminology to the detriment of your clientele? Do you forget that they haven't had the education you have? Have you forgotten how confusing your occupational words and abbreviations were B F-I-T-B S (Before fill-in-the-blank School)?
Even for parents! There are times my husband or I will be talking to our kids and they'll stop us with, "Dad/Mom, I don't even know what that word means!" We have the kind of kids that ask, usually. But sometimes they don't. I need to remember my daughter may not yet know what precocious means...even if she is! I want to increase their vocabulary skills, but first I need to lay a foundation of understanding.
Are your clients the type to ask when they don't understand? Do you assume their lack of questions implies understanding? Many people will remain ignorant because they fear their questions will make them look "stupid."
I just finished editing a book on communication. One of the recommendations is good for everyone: If you want someone to understand you, use short sentences. Preferably, short sentences with little words. And a little repetition never hurts either!
Think: Run, Spot, Run! That sentence may not make for enthralling reading, but Spot knows what you expect from him! Too often our children and clients hear, "Scuttle, Soupçon, Scuttle," when they need to hear, "Run, Spot, Run!"