4 Strategies to Make Patients Love Your Osteopathic Practice

Learn the lessons from Dale Carnegie's classic so you can elevate your practice with powerful communication skills and patient-centred care.

Timeless lessons from a timeless classic:

Building strong relationships and effective communication are essential for success in any profession and osteopathy is no exception. As an osteopath, your ability to connect with patients, other healthcare professionals and even yourself plays an important role in providing quality care and growing your practice.

Let’s explore 4 valuable insights from Carnegie’s timeless classic, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” tailored specifically for osteopaths.

Subscribe to The Hustle

The greatest osteopaths in the world never stop learning.

Get the best business and marketing resources for osteopaths in 30 words or less into your inbox every Monday.  

By subscribing to The Hustle, you agree to our terms and conditions. We’ll never send spam. 

Part 1: Fundamental techniques in handling people

In the first part of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale underlines three fundamental principles for effectively handling people: avoiding criticism, condemnation and complaints; providing honest and sincere appreciation; and stimulating an eager desire in others. Yeah, this confused me at first, but I’ll explain everything in relation to being an osteopath.

1. Listening and empathy

One of the most powerful ways to connect with your patients is by being an active listener. Osteopaths who excel in this skill create a safe space where patients feel heard and understood.

Instead of rushing to offer solutions or judgment, take the time to listen attentively to their concerns and experiences. This demonstrates your respect for their thoughts and emotions, building a foundation of trust and rapport.

By practicing empathy, you put yourself in your patients’ shoes and strive to understand their perspective. Through active listening and empathy, you can create a therapeutic environment where patients feel valued and supported.

2. Appreciation for patients’ time and trust

In today’s fast-paced world, time is a precious commodity. As an osteopath, acknowledging and appreciating your patients’ time is essential. Respect their schedules by minimising waiting times and ensuring that appointments start and finish promptly. Let them know about your gratitude for their trust in your expertise and their decision in choosing you. A simple gesture of appreciation goes a long way in making patients feel valued and validated.

3. Identifying patients’ needs and goals

Every patient has unique needs and goals when seeking help for their pain/health goals. By taking the time to understand and identify these individual objectives, you can tailor your treatments accordingly.

Engage in meaningful conversations with your patients to learn about their expectations, desired outcomes and concerns. This active involvement empowers patients, as they feel their opinions and aspirations are heard and respected.

With a comprehensive understanding of your patients’ needs and goals, you can provide tailored treatment plans that align with their expectations.

By applying these fundamental techniques in handling people, you can improve the patient experience.

Cultivating a compassionate and empathetic approach, appreciating your patients’ time and trust and customising your treatments to meet their individual needs are key elements of building strong patient relationships.

When patients feel valued, heard and supported, they are more likely to be actively engaged in their own healthcare journey, leading to improved outcomes and a thriving practice.

Part 2: Ways to make people like you

In the second part of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale delves into techniques for making people like you. These 3 strategies revolve around showing genuine interest in others, projecting a friendly demeanour and engaging in effective communication.

Before we dive in, don’t get me wrong, you need to be authentically you. However, these are some seemingly obvious traits that every osteopath can always work on.

1. Creating a welcoming environment

As an osteopath, creating a welcoming environment is essential for promoting a positive patient experience. Pay attention to the physical space of your clinic, ensuring it is clean, organised and comfortable. Consider factors like lighting, temperature and seating arrangements to ensure a sense of ease and relaxation.

Additionally, encourage a culture of hospitality and respect amongst your practitioners, staff and throughout your practice, ensuring that every patient feels like they made the right decision from the moment they walk through the door.

2. Remembering the important things

One of the most powerful ways to make people feel special is by remembering their names and relevant details about their lives.

As an osteopath, this may sound super obvious, but it’s important to take the time to familiarise yourself with your patients’ names and use it. It’s simple but effective.

Beyond names, make an effort to write down and remember significant details about your patients’ lives, such as their job, what they’re planning on getting up to between now and their next appointment or even their pet’s name. Engaging in small talk and recalling these details during subsequent visits shows that you genuinely care and value them as people.

3. Active listening and empathy

Effective communication is at the core of making people like you. Actively listening to your patients demonstrates your genuine interest in their concerns and creates a foundation of trust. Maintain eye contact, nod to show understanding and ask relevant follow-up questions to delve deeper into their experiences.

Practicing empathy is another vital aspect of effective communication. Put yourself in your patients’ shoes, seeking to understand their emotions and perspectives. By validating their feelings and showing empathy, you foster a strong connection and establish a therapeutic relationship built on mutual trust.

By creating a welcoming environment, remembering patients’ names and details and practicing active listening and empathy, osteopaths can make patients feel valued and appreciated. These strategies contribute to building lasting relationships and generating positive word-of-mouth referrals. When patients experience genuine care and attention, they are more likely to develop a sense of trust and loyalty, leading to enhanced patient satisfaction and practice growth.

Part 3: How to win people to your way of thinking

In the third part of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Carnegie explores strategies for winning people over to your perspective. These two techniques involve understanding others’ self-interest and presenting arguments in a non-threatening manner.

1. Presenting benefits and addressing self-interest:

When discussing treatment plans or recommendations with your patients, it’s essential to highlight the benefits that align with their self-interest.

Understand their motivations and goals and frame your explanations in terms of how your proposed approach can help them achieve those goals.

Focus on the positive outcomes they can expect from following the treatment plan, such as pain relief, improved mobility or getting back into that activity they love doing.

By addressing patients’ self-interest, you’re establishing a connection between their desired outcomes and your role in helping them achieve them. This approach allows them to see the value in your suggestions and increases their adherence to your agreed plan.

2. Non-threatening communication

Communication plays a vital role in winning people over to your way of thinking. Avoid confrontational or judgmental language that can put patients on the defensive. Instead, strive for open and non-threatening discussions that nurture cooperation and understanding.

Use clear and concise language to explain your rationale, avoiding complex medical terminology.

Break down complex concepts into easily understandable explanations, ensuring that patients grasp the information and feel empowered to make informed decisions. Encourage questions and actively listen to their concerns, addressing them with patience and respect.

By presenting benefits that align with patients’ self-interest and adopting non-threatening communication, osteopaths can effectively influence patients’ perspectives. When patients perceive that you genuinely understand their needs and communicate in a manner that respects their autonomy, they are more likely to embrace your recommendations and actively participate in their own care.

Part 4: Be a leader

In the final part of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale explores the qualities of effective leadership.

1. Motivating patients to take ownership

Empower your patients to take an active role in their healthcare journey. Educate them about their conditions, treatment options and the importance of self-care. Encourage them to ask questions and involve them in the decision-making process.

Provide educational resources, such as leaflets or online materials, to support their understanding. When patients feel informed and involved, they become more invested in their own well-being, leading to better treatment compliance and improved outcomes.

2. Cultivating a sense of autonomy and responsibility

If you own a clinic or manage a team, it’s essential to cultivate a sense of autonomy and responsibility among practitioners and staff. Delegate responsibilities and encourage your team members to take ownership of their roles.

Provide opportunities for professional growth and development. Recognise their achievements and celebrate their successes. By giving your staff autonomy (in those who want it) and instilling a sense of responsibility, you’re crating a positive work environment that promotes a sense of something bigger than themselves.

Encourage open communication and create an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns. Actively listen to their input and involve them in decision-making processes whenever possible. This collaborative approach encourages a sense of teamwork and enhances the chance of them working in the clinic for a long time.


“How to Win Friends and Influence People” offers fantastic lessons that can transform your osteopathic practice.

By applying the principles outlined in the book, you can enhance patient interactions, create meaningful connections and grow both professionally and personally.

Written by Alan Zaia M.Ost

Founder & CEO of Osteohustle. You’ll find Alan coaching osteopaths, travelling in a van or writing our weekly newsletter, The Hustle.

Grow your business today

Work with our coaches to grow your clinic

Get osteopathy business coaching to overcome your biggest barriers in 10-14 weeks. Mix short-term coaching and accountability with long-term strategies. Brainstorm, plan and take action every week with the Osteohustle team so you can break through to the next level of being a clinic owner. 

Subscribe to The Hustle

The greatest osteopaths in the world never stop learning.

Get the best business and marketing resources for osteopaths in 30 words or less into your inbox every Monday.  

By subscribing to The Hustle, you agree to our terms and conditions. We’ll never send spam.