Listen Up

Did your mother or grand-mother ever say something like, “You have got two ears and one mouth, so you can listen more than you speak?” Did you know they were quoting an ancient, Greek-speaking Stoic philosopher, when he said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” His name was Epictetus.

Information overload

We are in danger of information-overload with the abundance of content pushed our way all day, every day. There are all types of social media groups and forums for all types of things: travel, pets, children, amputees, lifestyles, occupations — you get the idea.

Our patients, referral sources, friends and family are bombarded with marketing messages from the moment they wake until the moment they sleep. As marketers, we contribute to that content clutter. That is okay. It is what you need to do to be heard. But let’s not forget about Epictetus’ wise words.

Image: ©Shutterstock.

Image: ©Shutterstock.

Are you listening? Who are you listening to? What are you listening for? And if you are listening, are you hearing as well?

Listening can be scary if you have not done it. You could hear things you do not like, do not agree with, do not understand or just do not want to deal with. It seems safer if all you do is talk; but it is not. It could be dangerous.

Squeaking when you walk

In this uber-connected age, oftentimes the fastest way to get answers is to head to the internet. It can provide an education.

Sample question: “I squeak when I walk. Does anyone else have that problem?” Answer: There were five of them to be specific. None of which from a prosthetist or technician. Maybe the answers were right, maybe not. I do not know. I am not a prosthetist. Although from a marketing perspective, it seems that this would be a great question for a prosthetist. My gut says there could be any number of reasons for squeaking while you walk, so objectively the right answer would be “Call your prosthetist.”

I do not know about you, but I think reading the questions people have and seeing the answers provide a wealth of information as far as offering your customers, patients and referral sources additional value. I see a “Top Five Reasons Why Your Prosthesis Might Squeak” handout just for starters.

Thoughtfulness and answers

For phantom pain, clothing issues, coverage issues, relationship questions — it is not so much about the questions. Rather, the thoughtfulness and number of answers is impressive.

I have learned about clothing issues from reading just two or three posts. Sure, you can make the best prosthesis in the world, but it could be a problem if consumers cannot wear anything but shorts with it and they live in Minnesota.

Elizabeth Mansfield
Elizabeth Mansfield

In addition to learning more about what kind of information you should be proactively sharing, you can discover a lot about what patients consider important qualities for a good prosthetist. You might be surprised. It is a good idea to check your ego at the door when you head into a forum or group.

The easiest thing to do would be to stop listening and start talking. One might think, “These people are not professionals. They do not know what they are talking about. I went to school for this. I know what they need.” That would be unfortunate.

Most of us do not listen more than we speak. Most of us only listen so we can talk back — otherwise known as reply. However, listening and disseminating information can be a great way to raise brand awareness. Ask Epictetus or ask your grandmother.

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