How Many Times Is the Correct Number Of Times To Use A Person’s Name During A Conversation With Them?

People have names.

These are the names they were given at birth by their parents.

Or they are names that they have assumed and started using during their life.

Like Gus.

Gus is not Phil Gould’s birth name.

But it is a name that he answers to and goes by.

In dentistry, in the dentist-patient relationship, the power of using the patient’s name during conversation cannot be over-emphasised.

And when I say [or write] dentist-patient relationship, what I really mean is all relationships that exist between the dental practice, and each of its employees, and the patient. 

Such as:

The practice manager-patient relationship

The hygienist-patient relationship

The dental assistant-patient relationship

The dental receptionist-patient relationship

The front office coordinator-patient relationship

The dental practice-patient relationship.

How often should we address the patient by their name?

The answer is:

As often as we [comfortably] can.

Dale Carnegie wrote:

“Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest sound in any language – it is his badge of individuality.”

 Carnegie also noted that the use of people’s names during conversation will automatically

  • Increase your popularity
  • Help you in your business or profession 
  • Help you win friends
  • Give sparkle to your social contacts

When exactly is that?

There are several times during a patient’s visit and contact with our practice that we should endeavour to use their name in conversation as many times as we [comfortably] can.

When a patient phones your practice.

As soon as the phone rings the first thing we need to do is find out the name of the caller and the name of the person they are wanting to make an appointment for.There are so many times when I am reviewing recorded phone answerings where this does not happen.And when we do not know who we are talking to or talking about, we cannot use their name in conversation with them.

Which is a significant disadvantage.

The other thing we cannot do without their name is discover whether they are an existing patient or someone wishing to come and see us for the first time.

If you want to increase your conversions of calls to appointments, you will find out the name of the caller as soon as possible, write their name down and then use it back to them as often as you comfortably can.

When they are being spoken to, in conversation, with any dentist, hygienist, or dental employee.

It is common courtesy and good manners to address people you are speaking with by their name.It is ignorant and rude not to do so.And to forget their name? Well that’s an insult.

Every member of the dental team needs to know the first name, and surname and also title of every person who they will be interacting with EVERY DAY, at the dental office.

This is a non-negotiable condition of employment.

When scheduling future treatment, and when paying.

I always said that in my practice, if we wanted people to pay us on our terms, then we needed to know how to pronounce their names correctly.And we needed to be able to spell their names correctly.And we needed to be able to use their names as much as was [comfortably] possible during conversations.

Using a patient’s name regularly in conversation puts our patients more at ease than not using their name.

Our job at the dental practice is to help every patient feel welcome, valued and comfortable and understood.

Using each patient’s name during conversation with them goes a long way towards creating this trust we seek.

People naturally feel more trusting towards other people who remember their names and use them during conversation.


If you want your dental practice to be more successful, start making a concentrated effort to use your patients’ names more often in conversations that you have with them.

It’s that simple.


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