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My husband recently had another surgery. In our 30 years together, he has had fifteen operations.

When a loved one is hospitalized, we often spend “quality” time with friends, family and hospital staff including physicians, surgeons, nurses, technicians, therapists, aides, volunteers, nutritionists, cafeteria employees, administrative personnel, and more.

We meet folks in stressful situations and may lash out due to a lack of eating and sleeping.

How do I avoid the title of “Witch Wife of Room #8223”?

I embrace the business communication skills that have served me for many years. The same principles for business negotiations apply when advocating for someone in the hospital.

  1. Listen. That means hear everything before asking questions. This rule applies to sales negotiators and patient advocates. In business, we may want to dazzle a prospect with product knowledge, but forget to listen to their experiences and problems.At the hospital, the post surgical update will be extremely brief if you frequently interrupt the surgeon with your vast medical knowledge gleaned from online research. The doctor is the expert, not you.
  1. Ask Smart Questions. In sales, we prepare for the prospect by assembling a list of appropriate questions. This demonstrates we’ve done our homework by researching the customer’s business, personnel, equipment, competitors and more.  Prior to and during the surgical updates, you’ll want to know as much as possible about the outcome, unexpected circumstances that will affect recovery, prognosis for future medical needs and comfort measures. Remember the surgeon is a human being, not God, and cannot predict the future.
  1. Be Patient with the Patient. They are the reason you are at the hospital. They’re more fearful than you are. Move slowly and deliberately around their room. Speak at a comfortable volume. Ask how you can help. Don’t assume they need assistance. Frequently, they want to resume self-care as quickly as possible.  In sales, don’t assume the prospect wants to change suppliers or needs your product or service. Your job is to uncover problems, diagnose needs, assess areas for improvement and then make a professional recommendation.
  1. Know When to Go Home. Do not take up residence in your prospects office or in the patient’s room. There is a time to exit. Know how to recognize the signs that visiting hours are over.

I am comforted knowing that business negotiation principles are helpful when I support someone I love.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!