Monday Morning Motivation | I Don't Know

Posted by Bill Esteb on Sep 10th 2023

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When asking patients Socratic questions, plan on frequently receiving a blank stare and the words, "I don't know."

It's our go-to move when...

We need to buy some time. We want to avoid being wrong. We don't want to play your game. We are unsure. We truly don't know. We don't care.

It's hard to know which meaning a patient is using when they reject your overture to engage in the hoped for conversation.

Don't let that dissuade you. There are two responses you might offer that could keep the volley going.

"If you did know…" and then ask the question again. That level of separation might be just enough to unlock the fear and engage.

The other is more of a coaching approach, where you offer up a few possibilities or observe how a previous patient responded.

If they truly don't want to play, it will be immediately obvious.

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Bill Esteb has been a chiropractic patient and advocate since 1981. He is the creative director of Patient Media and the co-founder of Perfect Patients. He’s been a regular speaker at chiropractic gatherings since 1985. His 12 books explore the doctor/patient relationship from a patient's point of view. His chiropractic blog, coaching program, patient focus groups and consulting calls have helped hundreds of chiropractors around the world. Since 1999 Monday Morning Motivation has been emailed to over 10,000 subscribers each week.