Effective Communication

What is the purpose of communication? Communication is not only about delivering messages, it’s also about giving impact, to influence the mindset or even to encourage someone to take an action. Essentially, successful communication is when we can change the behavior of others. Therefore, effective communication is needed to carry out a strong transformation.

A powerful transformation is when we can combine various communication theories and put them into practice. This is a special skill for individuals or organizations” said Dr. Nurlan Silitonga in the webinar Training of Trainers (TOT) of Effective Communication organized by the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) on September 3, 2021.

By combining the elements of clinical management and private and public health services, this training aims to increase the capacity of doctors in Indonesia to be proficient at handling patients more humanely, as well as to improve service quality, including referral network between services in the private and public sectors.

Learning from her experiences doctor Nurlan concluded that in creating effective communication, we should first understand and examine five interrelated elements of communication, including:

1. Communicator

According to Dr. Nurlan, good communication starts with us. We will not be able to provide good communication if we don’t understand ourselves, therefore it is very important to know our weaknesses and strengths. So as communicators, we can analyze and outsmart deficiencies, adapt to the environment in order to achieve communication goals.

2. Recepient

After we recognize ourselves, we must also recognize who the recipient of the message is. For example, are we talking to individuals? Or people under certain organizations? What are their backgrounds? What are their expectations and needs? Recognizing the target audience, the message conveyed can be right on target. This will also affect the communication strategy that will be carried out, whether communicating directly online, offline or through social media.

3. The Message

The message that we want to deliver should be straight to the point. Doctor Nurlan also explained that it is better to know the theme to be discussed so that the content of the message is filtered. Make boundaries and cut unnecessary points, so that the content of the message becomes more focused and directed. In addition, Dr. Nurlan also reminded several important points, (1) when delivering a message under/as an organization, it is better for us to be neutral and doesn’t lead to an opinion. Give them options and its consequences (2) always include references from the material submitted to avoid hoax news.

4. Message Deliverance

As communicators, we also need to give messages without rushing so that the message can be understood. Prepare the compatible devices or medium. If you are going to use presentation material, it’s best to use lots of pictures instead of words so it doesn’t get boring. Interactive communication is also very good, for example by sharing experiences with trainees, or discussing case studies that are relevant to everyday situations.

Moreover it is important in a training to give attention on the output that will be achieved, and it is measurable and practicable. The theories should be presented along with case studies so that trainees are prepared to face common situations. Doctor Nurlan reminded us that in medical science, make sure that trainees not only memorize the material but also understand and sharpen the strategic thinking, in order to respond to the various and complex challenges that are faced by a doctor in his daily work, both clinical and non-clinical problems.

If the material is wrapped in a personal story, then they will focus and pay attention because this message is considered important to them.

Of course, it won’t be easy for everyone because there are also those who are not comfortable speaking in public. That’s why it takes a lot of practice. Also, the message, we convey will make an impression and generate feedback, whether people will be interested in connecting later or want to network with us, this can be influenced by our appearance. For example, wear clothes with bright colors, smile and be friendly to give a positive aura” explained Dr. Nurlan.

It should be realized that the information conveyed will not necessarily be responded to in the form of action, there are many factors that influence it, therefore to transform information into an action, the repetition of information needs to be conveyed by different methods but still interrelated, and then followed up with trainees.

5. Environment

Lastly, make sure there are no environmental disturbances. For example, make sure there is no distracting noise, the lighting is well regulated, so you can concentrate on delivering the material, in hope to give a good impression, so that the communication objectives are achieved.

The session was continued by a discussion session with participants who are all doctors, where the topics discussed included effective communication on social media, and also regarding the advantages and disadvantages of Telemedicine. According to Dr. Nurlan, the key to Telemedicine services today is good communication by all parties, between service providers and recipients, aligning the expectations and limitations of Telemedicine that do not harm the recipients and service providers.

With clear communication, trust and bonds between the parties involved will be built, and miscommunication can be avoided. In addition, it is important to make clear technical guidelines so that all actions can be accounted for and do not violate the rules. For sure Telemedicine services will continue to grow and becoming one of the options for people’s needs to access easy, affordable and safe health care services.

This article, written by Joan Nadya, in summarize Dr. Nurlan Silitonga, MMed‘s key notes On Effective Communication ToT activity Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) on September 3, 2021.

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