Unlocking Patient Engagement: The Power of Instant Influence for Physiotherapists


In the dynamic landscape of healthcare, effective patient engagement lies at the heart of successful outcomes. As health providers, your role extends beyond physical rehabilitation. You are not only healthcare practitioners but also communication specialists, poised to empower clients to actively participate in their treatment plans. In this endeavour, Michael Pantalon’s book “Instant Influence” offers a treasure trove of insights that can revolutionise how allied health providers, including physiotherapists, engage and motivate their clients.

Bridging the Motivation Gap

I found his book to be a great resource that can equip allied health providers with practical tools to drive positive behavioural change in their clients. As physiotherapists, your interactions with clients extend beyond the treatment room; they encompass your ability to inspire and facilitate lasting improvements in their health and well-being.

Allied health providers regularly encounter clients who struggle with adhering to treatment plans or any form of change due to various and often unknown factors. Pantalon’s approach emphasises tapping into intrinsic motivations – the reasons that truly matter to clients. By aligning treatment goals with these motivations, you bridge the motivation gap and empower clients to actively engage in their care.

“Instant Influence” reinforces the concept of patient-centred care, a cornerstone of modern healthcare. By employing the influence questions, you shift the focus from a one-size-fits-all approach to a client-centred model. This approach encourages clients to take ownership of their health journey, enhancing treatment plan adherence and overall satisfaction.

Building Rapport and Trust:

Creating a foundation of trust and rapport is the first step towards influencing clients struggling with change and treatment plan engagement. Begin by expressing genuine empathy and a willingness to understand their perspective. By fostering a safe space, clients are more likely to share their concerns, allowing you to tailor interventions effectively.

It’s important to ask permission to explore the challenges the client is experiencing. The questions are likely to tap into deep motivations for change and remember, your client doesn’t have to do anything. The choice is always theirs.

The Six Influence Questions:

Harness the power of Pantalon’s six influence questions to drive meaningful conversations and catalyse positive change:

1. Why might you want to change?

Initiate the conversation by exploring the intrinsic motivations that drive clients to engage in their treatment plan. By understanding their personal reasons, you can align their goals with the treatment outcomes. This empowers clients to visualise the value of change and its impact on their well-being.

2. How ready are you to change on a scale of 1 to 10?

Assessing readiness for change helps you gauge clients’ commitment levels. Encourage them to rate their readiness on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 signifies minimal readiness and 10 indicates complete readiness. This numerical approach facilitates self-awareness and paves the way for meaningful discussions.

3. Why didn’t you pick a lower number?

Delve deeper into their self-assessment by asking why they didn’t choose a lower number. This question encourages reflection and prompts clients to identify underlying motivations for wanting to change. It also highlights their existing strengths and encourages a positive mindset.

4. Imagine you’ve changed, what would the positive outcomes be?

Guide clients to envision a future where they’ve successfully embraced their treatment plan. Prompt them to describe the positive outcomes they envision. This exercise taps into their aspirations and allows them to connect emotionally with the potential benefits of change.

5. Why are those outcomes important to you?

Understanding the significance of envisioned outcomes enhances their commitment to change. By inquiring about the importance of these outcomes, you unveil their deeper motivations. This knowledge strengthens their resolve and reinforces the personal relevance of adhering to the treatment plan.

6. What’s the next step if any?

Empower clients to identify concrete action steps they can take to initiate change. This question guides them towards tangible progress and reinforces a sense of control over their journey. Providing guidance on small, achievable steps promotes confidence and momentum.


Influencing clients struggling with treatment plan engagement is a dynamic process that requires adept communication skills. By incorporating Pantalon’s six influence questions, you can guide clients towards embracing change and actively participating in their recovery. You may also decide to pull this model apart and use individual questions if that works best in any given situation.

Remember, your expertise extends beyond physical healing – it encompasses the power to inspire, motivate, and transform lives through effective communication and influence.

Key Takeaways:

  • Build trust and rapport by leveraging a professional demeanour and a sense of curiosity.
  • Utilise Pantalon’s six influence questions to drive meaningful conversations.
  • Connect clients’ intrinsic motivations with treatment outcomes for greater engagement.
  • Assess readiness for change on a scale of 1 to 10 to facilitate self-awareness.
  • Encourage reflection on chosen readiness scores to uncover motivations.
  • Envisioning positive outcomes fosters emotional connections with change.
  • Understand the significance of outcomes to enhance commitment.
  • Guide clients towards actionable next steps to maintain momentum.

What I offer you and your staff?

Skills practice and reflection will be the cornerstone of my training. I am available for both in person and limited Zoom PD for your group.

If you have a staff member who is struggling to keep new patients or confidently present treatment plans, you might be interested in one-on-one coaching for him/her. I take on a limited number of clients each year.

If you would like to engage me to work with your staff or coach a member of your team, click here so that you can schedule a time to discuss your specific training needs.

Contact me to find out when I will be in your city and available for LIVE professional development.

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