Getting to the heart of communication with The Confident Dentist

on 4th April 2019

Nicola Kramer reports back from the ‘Influencing Smiles’ two-day course presented by Dr Barry Oulton – aka The Confident Dentist – where she learned how to improve her communication skills in a fun and relaxed environment.

I have had the privilege of attending many dentistry-focused events over the years. They have covered a wide range of subjects and the one thing that rings true for all of them – for me as a delegate – is that you know within the first half-hour or so whether it’s going to be worthwhile.

I had heard great things about Barry Oulton and his ‘Influencing Smiles’ course, so I was excited and ready to make up my own mind. It didn’t take 30 minutes for me to know I was in for a treat, and I can pinpoint exactly why. A big part of Barry’s course involves helping people to build rapport – and he did that in minutes with me. I felt significant and understood, and from the reaction of the people around me, I think they did too. I thought – what greater proof that what we were about to learn would work than to see Barry do it in really no time at all in a room of 14 people?

Be present

Life can be challenging and whilst we all have our talents, we also have our limitations but, as Barry put it so wonderfully: ‘You may not be able to jump like Michael Jordan, but you can have the same attitude that made him so successful’.

That really resonated for me and left me open to the ideology of the first piece of the communication puzzle – that of mindset. I’m not a morning person so those first couple of hours can be a struggle but this mindset thing really works. Barry encouraged us to spend some time in the morning clearing our minds of negatives, choosing a positive mindset for the day and to stay in the present. I’m only a few days on from learning that, and already it’s made a difference to how my day goes.

A user’s manual for the brain

A big part of what Barry teaches is based upon neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and there are comprehensive definitions of what it means. But, again, Barry plugged right into what delegates needed to know, describing NLP as a ‘user’s manual for the brain’.

The idea that NLP can be utilised to create confidence in 30 seconds and rapport in two minutes or so is mind-blowing and, I think, true after some much-needed practise. From learning how to perform the ideal handshake and building rapport with patients to selling treatment plans with integrity – using NLP techniques – Barry had it all laid out for us in easy to understand and implement chunks.

Individual attention

There was a moment during the course when Barry zeroed in on me and tilted his head, and I realised my head was tilted too. It was instant recognition that Barry had me sussed, and my belief in that was reinforced when he taught us that people learn in four ways – visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and visual auditory. Although no-one learns in just one way, we all had a preference in the way we learn, and Barry showed us how to tap into that for better communication.

I now know I am a highly auditory learner – and Barry knew it in a matter of minutes. Having worked out how we all ticked, he adapted his teaching methods to ensure each learning style was catered for, incorporating visual and auditory approaches as well as hands-on, practical exercises for those with a preference for kinaesthesia.

It’s your turn

If you want to know more about yourself, are willing to be open and believe in the value of communication, then this is the course for you. If you’re not sure then this is still the course for you – it will knock your socks off, both in terms of content and presentation style.

As for me, I hope to be invited on to Barry’s advanced course when it is up and running in 2019. Maybe I’ll see you there!

The Confident Dentist specialises in effective communication training for dentists, team members and specialists. Upcoming events include the two-day ‘Influencing Smiles’ on the following dates:

  • 22 and 23 February in London
  • 3 and 4 May in Birmingham.

Delegates will learn world-class communication skills and how to sell with integrity to help patients make the best choices available (rather than the cheapest), thereby increasing private dentistry income. Delegates will also improve their personal relationships among family and friends as they learn about human dynamics and how to connect better with the people in their lives.

For further details, please visit

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