It ain’t what you say, it’s the way that you say it

Imogen Heywood,
Engagement Manager,
Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing

When you’re trying to get your point across, choosing the right words can be crucial. Getting it right can get you the connection you need, but getting it wrong can lose you your audience for good.

However, it’s not all about what you say, as the way you say things, and of course, how you listen and respond to what others say, can be just as crucial.
This isn’t a new idea, and there’s lots of well-known tricks designed to help you get your point across, from mirroring body language to changing the tone of your voice, or even saying things three times in a row to emphasise their importance – think “Location, Location, Location”.

Even then, words alone aren’t always enough and a well-designed image can really help you make your point, especially when you’re trying to get a potentially complicated point across.

This kind of image-led approach is being used by Understanding Patient Data (UPD) to support their work on a common language for talking about data sharing. By combining pictures and simple language they have developed a tool which they hope will be used across the health and social care sector to support effective conversations about information sharing, whilst avoiding difficult to understand terms such as pseudonymisation.

Here’s an example of what UPD have done to explain what ‘anonymised’ means:Having this tool will undoubtedly help health practitioners to talk about sharing patient data, not only with patients but also with each other, as having a shared understanding of the type of data being used can have a crucial effect on people’s attitudes to the sharing proposed. 

However, a tool is only as good as the person using it, so I hope that in rolling out this excellent work, UPD are supported not only to provide healthcare practitioners with guidance on what to say, but also on how to say it.  Giving them the confidence and skills to have an effective conversation about information sharing which will hopefully inspire confidence and trust in others.

Find out more and get involved

You can find out more about UPD’s work on a common language for talking about data sharing, on their website. Or read more about the anonymised example given above.

We’re also keen to hear from people using UPD’s work to help shape their conversations about data sharing with patients or other practitioners.  So please feel free to tell us in the comments below, what you’re doing, how you’re finding it, and is there’s any further support you’d like.

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