Video and communications expert Drew Keller spoke this afternoon at the 6th Annual Health Care Social Media Summit at the Mayo Clinic. He described the experience of working with doctors and suggested that they have two modes of communication: private and professional.
In private, and with patients, they have natural, easy ways of using language, expression, and metaphor to explain conditions. But in front of a camera or onstage they become quite public in their behavior. Given concerns with the permanence of media and the potential for peer and public judgment, they behave and communicate differently. They’re tighter, more calculated, and even guarded in the way they appear and deliver. As a result, they appear less human and less believable.
I suspect that the ability to comfortably bridge this private and professional divide represents the sign of a great communicator. Few doctors can do this, or they’ve not had the coaching to facilitate the connection. While Keller was referring to video performance, writing could just as easily be considered subject to this private-professional divide.
As media of all type bring doctors from medicine’s private, silo’d mode into the public realm, I suspect skill in bridging this gap will be critical for professional survival. Call it a translational communication skill, or better, letting our guard down, relaxing and being real.
You can follow more of the meeting at #mayoragan