Developing your communication
Whether you’re talking about the skills of a doctor/dentist, reflecting on your own experiences, or trying to impress at interview, the word ‘communication’ is tossed around right from the start. But what actually is communication? Well, if you’re applying to medicine or dentistry, you’re probably somewhat insecure about your communication…right? Luckily for you, we’ve had the opportunity to both learn and understand the principles underlying good communication through research, personal experiences and most importantly through interacting with 100’s of you guys! So, let’s go 🙂
By the way… we’re really gonna break things down. Psychology, equations, examples, and obviously the all important actionable advice. So stay till the end. Please, it’ll make us all happy 😉
What is communication? 🗣
You can’t become fitter without knowing what a good diet is. You can’t be a good doctor without knowing what a good doctor does, and… yeah, you guessed it. You can’t communicate well without understanding what good communication actually is!
Essentially, communication is the act of expressing ourselves, whether this is verbally or otherwise. But… are you ready?
It’s psychologically proven that good communication is the ability to make yourself, and others feel good.
Yep, it really is that simple. Let’s get into the psychology!
Think back to any ‘good conversation’ you’ve had. It definitely satisfied the following 3 conditions:
- It made you feel good
- It made the other person feel good
- It involved RAW emotion
- When talking to a homeless person. You’re going to be genuinely kind, you’ll make the other person’s day, and you’ll feel great yourself because you’ve helped someone!
- When counselling a friend, again you’re going to really listen and emotionally connect yourself, whilst uplifting the friend, and you’ll end up feeling complete too!
- Even when you feel down and so you offload your stresses and anxiety onto somebody! The emotion will clearly be there, but more importantly you’re going to feel great after that conversation. You’re friend will also feel like a really…really kind person 🙂
But there’s other ways too… for example: making people laugh, teaching people a skill, or leaving somebody inspired! We know you’re wondering: ‘how’s this relevant to interviews maaaaan!’. Just wait. It’s coming.
Essentially though for your interviews, all of this can be broken down into a simple equation:
Genuine emotion + making the interviewer feel good = good communication = success!
But how do I do this? Don’t I need to ‘stand out’? 🌟
A couple of good questions tbh. Allow us to explain.
There are many ways to make the interviewer feel good, and actually, this is what makes you stand out. Not necessarily your knowledge of NHS statistics, or the amount of leadership positions you’ve held over the past year, or the extra qualifications you’ve got. Instead, just raw heart is what you need.
So, now it’s time to go into detail about HOW you can make the interviewer feel good, and stand out as a result. Within these, we’ll also cover some basic communication principles that should underpin every single answer you give! Let’s call them…uhhh: THE 5 INTERVIEW RULES
- Don’t memorise your answers. Rather, have an idea of the points you’re going to cover so that you can allow for some creative freedom during answering. Remember, waffling and going off on tangents is good, because it’s authentic! We always tell students: ****if you were to answer the same question 100 times, every time it would exude a slightly different vibe, because it’s REAL!
- You’re allowed to pause and have a think! You’re having a conversation, not regurgitating like you would in a French speaking exam or something! Relax
- Laugh. Smile. Vibe. The more natural you be, the less stressed you’ll feel, and the less awkward the interview will be. Your vibes will make the interviewer feel comfortable and engaged, which gives you leverage and power in that conversation…Isn’t that exactly what you want?! So yes, you can be a bit informal at times! You can go off on a tangent! You can go back on yourself if you make a mistake! And most importantly, you can be honest and real with the interviewer!
- Teach the interviewer! These interviewers are bored. They’ve been sat there, dying inside because of the repetitive answers they’ve been hearing. So when it’s your turn, take the opportunity to teach the interviewer something. For example in the question; ‘how do you manage your time’ → rather than answering it plainly, show the interviewer why your way of managing time is so good. It doesn’t have to be anything special though! Just be honest, and confident in yourself. For example:
- Basic answer: ‘I manage my time by using timetables. They really keep my mind free and allow me to sustain a busy schedule whilst preventing burnout and stress. I also look forward to pushing myself further as both a medical student and doctor, as my time management skills will be tested, giving me an opportunity to grow and develop.’
- Impactful answer: ‘Honestly, I struggle with it…and probably always will to an extent, but I’m sure that’s the case with most people, including doctors and medical students that I’ve spoken to! For me, weekly timetables have never really worked because every day is just so different. But what has worked for me is making daily timetables. I find that it makes me motivated to wake up every morning because I know what I’ve got to tackle, it basically gives the day some purpose. Oh and also I came across the 5 minute rule. It’s basically a rule where if you have a job that takes 5 minutes or less, get it done ASAP. It frees up mental space, making you happier and more productive! Hopefully though as a medical student I will gain even more insight and develop, as I know I’m not there yet with my organisation, but I’m certainly working on it!’ (guys, you know this is what one of our team members said in their interview, and believe it or not, at the end of the station the interviewer said ‘I can’t wait to see you in the uni next year’) → trust us, this stuff works! It is EVIDENCE BASED!)
- Leave the interviewer inspired! Again, this is another GREAT way to cure the interviewer’s boredom :).Show the interviewer an insight into your thinking. Don’t just give textbook answers, instead, aim to inspire. When they ask you ‘why is empathy important as a dentist’ → act as though you’re giving a whole TEDtalk on the importance of empathy, with the aim to leave the whole audience inspired and fulfilled. Trust me, whenever you do that you’ll establish a presence and be remembered by all.
The next steps ⏭
We know that’s a lot. But let’s be honest you’re feeling inspired, right 😎?
Now, the next steps.
- The first principle to remember is: communication starts today. From today, you need to immerse yourself in the universe. Verily, life is the best teacher. Speak to people, make people feel happy and inspired… and establish that presence wherever you go. Help your peers, teach people, take up a job! These things will all give you the confidence needed to thrive at interview in the ways explained above.
- The next point is: reflect. What are you a little bad at. Do you tend to talk a little too concisely? If so, let yourself free. Challenge yourself to think on the spot and talk for longer amounts of time. Reflect on others around you too! Those amazing speakers on YouTube, or those warm, energetic individuals at school. Ask yourself, why are they so nice to listen to? And implement those same things in yourself!
- But our final point is… relax. As you can see, nothing here is impossible. The main ingredient is passion. Students fail because they don’t put the work in… or if they ACT FAKE! Play this game fairly, with your whole heart. Use the application process as a way to change your life, because trust us…there’s a lot to gain.
Still Lacking Confidence? 😢
Everyone feels worried. So check out the next interview guide on the art of confidence, where once again we’ll break it down…step by step. Byeee 🙂