The Truth About The Importance Of Communication as a Dietetic Professional
“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life,” states Brian Tracy, Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International. Effective communication is essential in getting your message across while engaging others to listen and act upon.
“Registered Dietitians are uniquely qualified to translate nutrition science into smart strategies and help people make their own, well-informed nutrition decisions based on facts, not fear. Effective communication skills not only help promote better nutrition, they also promote the dietetics profession and your own career by boosting your visibility, influence, and success,” explains Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RDN, CDE, media trainer and CEO of Sound Bites, Inc. Chere Bork, MS, RDN, The Dietitian Life Coach, also agrees and shares, “Communication is the most important skill every single dietitian must have. We are in the sales business. Daily we ‘sell’ the concept of good nutrition. Consumers must know us, like us, and trust us before they buy.”
Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, founder of Shaw’s Simple Swaps: Nutrition Communications and Wellness Consultant, adds, “In order to continue to elevate our profession as the key experts in all things nutrition related, effective communication is crucial. Each and every time you position yourself in an arena to speak to the public at large about nutrition (be it your blog, a guest writing assignment, the news, radio, etc.), try to imagine how you would speak to your mother to help her understand. Being relatable and encouraging is half the battle in making nutrition easy and fun for all to get on board with.” These are just a few of the reasons for the shocking truth about the importance of communication.
4 Tips to Effectively Communicate with the Public:
1. Relatable and Compelling. Dobbins advises, “Effective communication is much more than being comfortable in front of an audience or a microphone and sharing good content. You must be relatable and compelling. The best way to do this is to be yourself and let your personality shine. This authenticity helps your audience connect with you, trust you and listen to you.”
2. Practice Mindful Listening. Bork reminds us, “We were born with two ears and one mouth. Use your ears. Let your clients tell you their challenges and WHY they want to change. Look for the whole message – their facts, emotions, and body language. Let go of fixing and just listen. And finally use the acronym W.A.I.T. Why am I talking?” Sometimes the best communicator is the person who listens and learns.
3. Be Practical. Shaw informs, “Share practical tips with the public. For example, rather than telling your audience to only have 12 chips (or whatever the particular serving size is for that product), show them how they can enjoy making practical changes to avoid eating the entire bag.” Providing applicable information is important for effective communication.
4. Validate One’s Existing Knowledge. Julie Beyer, MA, RDN, author of You Can Write A Book, speaker, and book coach, avoids debating with people by “Validating the knowledge they have and then giving them bread crumbs to follow until they get to the science she wants them to understand. When people speak up during a talk or comment on a blog, to keep them engaged in the learning process, help them identify the grain of truth in their comments. For example, ‘Yes, adding more protein CAN help you feel fuller longer.’ Then build on it by giving them the next bread crumb: ‘I understand that feeling fuller longer is important to you. Did you know that high fiber foods like whole grain bread, vegetables, and fruits can help also?’ In this technique you are validating their quest for the truth, but still guiding them into better science. More importantly, instead of creating an adversary, you are creating an educational partnership.”
Communication is important. Know how to effectively communicate to your audience and you will be successful in your endeavors.
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