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When Less Is More

Feb. 11, 2011
Karen Cortell Reisman explains how less can really be more.

by Karen Cortell Reisman, MS

In order to stay in control of chaos — in your practice and anywhere in your life — follow the maxim of “less is more.”Here are a list of “less is more-isms” guaranteed to help you communicate, lead, and manage with greater finesse.Less clutter, more clarityIt’s amazing how much we say that is not necessary. Count up the words like “you know,” and the phrases like “to be perfectly honest with you” (is everything else you say not honest?), and the fillers like “you know what I’m saying?” Be your own clutter guard! Try to make your intentions clearer by deleting the extraneous ‘uhs’ and ‘ums.’Less procrastination, more actionI recently attended the National Speakers Association annual convention. One take-away for you — and me — is, “Done is better than perfect.” Perhaps you are postponing a project in your office or at home because it has to be done a certain way. You don’t have to compromise on your ideals. Yet, you will move forward with efficiency when you realize “it” does not have to be perfect. Nothing ever is.Less talking, more listeningSeveral years ago, I had the privilege of working with 12 fine dentists in Fergus Falls, Minn. Yes, that’s Minnesota in January! During that day, I could have done all the talking. Yet, the best way to learn is to listen. In a facilitative way, we had a give and take discussion. Using their answers to the initial question, “What do you want to learn more about in the realm of communication skills in your practice?” we strategized and practiced. Can you think of times when you could be doing less talking and more listening?Less distraction, more focusOne of my corporate clients had this wise observation: “If you bet money on your golf game, you golf better!” How can you provide less distraction and more focus in your office? Do your patients get distracted when you do a case presentation? Is the room where you do these consultations filled with stuff on the wall, extra articulators on the table, and a floating screen saver on the computer? After you finish reading this article, go walk around your office. Look with fresh eyes. Get rid of the distractions. Less razzle dazzle, more simplicityDid you know that 12 million crayolas are produced annually? The motto of the company that produces them is to ‘keep it simple." Think about a box of crayons. There aren’t tons of choices. You are provided with some basic primary colors. That’s it. There was a time, however, when the crayon was not doing well in the marketplace. Fancy chalks and pens seemed to be taking over. Yet, the crayon industry stuck to the program of simplicity and has surpassed its competitors.As I coach presenters, I beg my clients to limit the fancy visuals with all of the bells and whistles. Give us great visuals and well-defined pictures without the six different fonts and eight different color schemes.Where can you find more simplicity in your office?Less answers, more questionsYour patients come into your practice wanting answers. Yet, you may find out more, diagnose better, and relate with heightened trust when you ask more questions … and then close your mouth and listen!When more is moreThere are times when more is more. That definitely includes nurturing your close relationships! ©Karen Cortell Reisman, MS
Karen Cortell Reisman is the author of two books. She teaches how to speak for yourself so that others listen, trust, and buy from you. She has been a visiting faculty presenter at The Pankey Institute, a speaker at many dental meetings, and president of Speak For Yourself® for 15 years. To buy Karen’s book or purchase other learning tools, go to