Dance instructor operates on surgeon


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Image of a surgeon operating on a patient.

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If you want to be more customer-centric in the way you train, draw from your own personal experience.

The gentleman sitting next to me trains surgeons to use new medical devices. As we chat, ‘Tim’ reveals that his secret for successfully training surgeons to use a new medical device is very similar to the skills of training couples the art of ballroom dancing, which was his former career.


Here is Tim’s advice on training surgeons to use a new medical device in the Operating Room:

1. Recognize and adapt to the surgeon’s personality. If the surgeon is used to being in complete control, you can’t be too forceful. If they are ego driven, you have to suggest actions to them, not tell them or they get resistant.

2. Have multiple tactics to choose from, but land on one as soon as you can. You can tell by the way they talk to you the type of person they are and use that to choose among different training tactics. But you have only 3-4 exchanges before you have to choose your tactic. Balance flexibility with action.

3. Engage the supporting cast. Get to the operating room early and prep the technicians who will be in the room on their role using the new device. The surgeon may be the key customer, but other people are also pivotal to your success.

4. Know whose time matters most. Never slow down the surgeon while they are learning to use the device; pace the technician’s work in support of the new devise to adapt to the pace of the surgeon. Otherwise the surgeon is likely to blame the new device.

5. Use language that conveys credibility. Learn how to speak their language, which in this case is the language of medicine (proximal, distal, medial and lateral instead of front, back, left and right). The customer won’t trust someone who doesn’t seem to know what they are talking about, and that includes language familiar to the customer.

OK, that all makes sense. But how did Tim learn all this from being a ballroom dance instructor?

Read the next post to find out….

BestCustomerConnection, by Marc Sokol

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Marc Sokol
A psychologist with an eye for the ways organizational dynamics make it possible or impossible to delight customers, I see the world from the eyes of customers, employees and leaders who strive to transform customer experience.


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