Choice words: why language matters when talking to patients

How what you say can make your message more or less effective

How often have you thought about the words you use when having a conversation with a patient, and how your choice of words can affect the outcome of the encounter?

Your overall approach, and the verbs, grammar and phrasing you use, can carry great significance.

I hadn’t really thought about this until I came across work by University of Loughborough professor of social interaction Elizabeth Stokoe.

Her analysis of conversations – the science of talk – provides illuminating, evidence-based suggestions of words that can help or hinder negotiations.

Watch: Elizabeth Stokoe on the interactional 'nudge' – talking about talk

An example is how we frame requests. It has been found that if we ask whether someone ‘is willing to’


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