The Consultation, Part III

In last week´s Part II of this series on “consultation,’ the importance of empathy (understanding how your patient must feel and what he or she is probably thinking), and taking action to develop a professional rapport with your patient was addressed.  This third and final part will deal with the “appearance’ side of an impressive consultation.  

However, before beginning, there is a success rule that must be stressed here and that is “you must believe wholeheartedly in what you are doing in order to convey the confidence that will assure you the greatest success.’  Listen and learn from those more knowledgeable and then use that knowledge in a way that you are most comfortable with and that will still produce the desired results.    

The Patient – Exam Gown or Street Clothes?

Some doctors are comfortable having the patient gown up before the consultation.  This allows the doctor to go immediately to the exam from the consultation without having to leave the room and wait for the patient to change. It is a time saver.

Other doctors, myself included, prefer to allow the patient to remain in their street clothes during the consultation.  This gives the patient a little time to get to know the doctor and feel a bit more at ease prior to the exam.

Regardless of what you prefer, your choice should be based on being able to establish a rapport with your patients, gaining their confidence and getting their approval to proceed.    

The Doctor – Polo or Business Shirt?

Doctors should dress like the professionals they are.  Polo shirts and t-shirts are okay for physical therapists or sport trainers, but that is not the image that D.C.s want to convey to their patients.  The best patient-attracting attire for a male doctor is a white shirt, conservative tie and nicely pressed slacks.  The female doctor projects the best image in a conservative blouse and nicely pressed slacks or skirt.  Both doctors should wear a crisp white doctor´s jacket with their name either embroidered on it, or engraved on a name tag.  Professionalism and education is what your patients should think of when they first meet you.

The Location – Personal Office, Exam Room or Treatment Room?

The most favorable place to conduct an impressive consultation is in the doctor´s personal office where the furnishings are plush, professional and comfortable, and where patients can easily see and read the doctor´s scholastic degrees.

A doctor who is an expert in performing consultations, who easily develops rapport with patients, and who exudes professionalism, can perform an impressive consultation almost  anywhere in the office.  This type of doctor may opt to conduct consultations in the exam room, thereby saving time in not having to move from one room to the next.  If the exam room is busy, this same type of doctor may choose to use a treatment room for the consultation and exam.

Some doctors have a special room built specifically for consultations. Having this separate room is expensive per square foot since it is not producing dollars as a treatment or x-ray room does. If you choose to have a separate consultation room and your practice will comfortably support that choice, be wise and design the room so that it can also be used for video education of patients, CA training using professional online video classes (available at, outside sales presentations, nutritional counseling and analysis, etc.

The point is, don´t get hung up on where the consultation should be conducted.  Choose the location that is most comfortable for you and your patients, and one that will help make your consultations as impressive and effective as possible.


Personal professional attire, and a keen awareness and consideration of your patient´s comfort and ease during the consultation are important elements in conducting the most impressive consultation.  Remember to ask yourself, “What perceptions does this patient have as he or she walks into my office and sits down with me to discuss his or her concerns?’  And, then conduct your consultation in a fashion that will meet or exceed your patient´s expectations.

As far as location goes, the stronger your belief is in what you are doing and the more confidence you have in doing it, the more flexibility you will have in “where’ you can successfully conduct your consultations.

As a final note, you can be perfect in appearances and location but if the right words are not used, your consultations will fail to reach the desired results.

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