OET Speaking: RELATIONSHIP BUILDING? This is how it can be done

The OET speaking subtest is designed to assess how well the candidate can communicate when put in a professional environment. Here, there are two different sets of criteria on which you will be judged,
Linguistic and Clinical. 

While Linguistics grade you on your use of language, the clinical criteria is where you will be marked on the basis of how well you engage with the person. One among the sub-criterion of clinical is known as " Relationship building " which is one of the most important things in the speaking subtest.

So here are a few things that you should keep in mind to build the right relationship:

  • Greet: Greet the patient with good positive energy while not compromising the decorum of the scenario.
Eg: Good morning sir. I'm Sangeetha, the nurse on duty today. How may I assist you?


  • Enquire: Talk to the patient and get to know the reason behind the visit and whatever the reason should be, make it clear that it is important and that he or she has your undivided attention.           
Eg: So, Mr John, you mean to say that you're here to get more information about the surgery and that at the same time you're slightly worried about the procedure. Can you tell me the exact reason for this worry?


  • Listen: Do not interrupt the patient while he is talking and show that you too are concerned about his reason for visit. Maintain a neutral, yet mild facial expression and be attentive to anything the patient has to say.
Eg: Oh I see............ hmmmm.......... absolutely.............. yeah now I get it .................. Definitely sir, it makes sense................ aha............


  • Clarify: Ask about the things the patient has already informed you about and try to build a good understanding of things that might seem rather vague at first.
Eg: Yes. Let me tell you what I just understood. So, you first broke your finger while making the garden at home with your children and two weeks later, the area still remained swollen. And that is even after repeated visits over the week to a general physician. Is that right?


  • Explain: Be honest and tell the patient about what he needs to know. Do not try and strike fear into the person with technical jargon but at the same time, take care that you do not sugar coat the bitterness of any of the facts.
Eg: I know this might sound a bit weird but we do have to repeat the procedure a second time. Yes I understand that you weren't expecting this, but Mrs Margarette, sometimes there are complications that are unpredictable. And in your case, the second procedure will help in quick healing.

  • Reassure: Reassure the patient that everything is going to be fine. Do not show disregard to any of the patient's concerns and treat or present them as valid reasons to be worried about. Never belittle his or her feelings.
Eg: Aha....now I understand why you were not ready for the injections. You see Maria, this is very different form the regular injections and it doesn't hurt at all. It will feel just like the bite of an ant and it's going to be done real quick. I assure you that it won't hurt.

  • Advice: Let him or her know of the options that are present regardless of the condition they are in. Tell them about the things he or she as well as you could do to help the situation.
Eg: Yes. So this can be done in two ways. One might require longer hospital stay and the other option, in most cases, lets you go home in 2-days' time.You can decide which method to go for. And if you have any further questions, do ask me.


  • Invite Queries: Let the patient or the person in focus feel like he or she is free to follow up with any questions. Let them feel welcomed and further reassure them by letting them know that their concerns are valid.
Eg: That's it for today. If you have any confusions on how to apply the cream at night, do give me a call and I'll be more than happy to assist you. 

Keep these little tips in mind while you speak and see your OET scores go up.
Any questions anyone????


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