Skip to main content
Faculty of Community Services

Three Simple Communication Strategies to Improve Your Practice

By Jackie Silver


Nestlé Canada dietitian, Krista Kolodziejzyk, facilitated an engaging webinar for MHSc students and preceptors on Effective Communication for Success in Business and Industry on November 20th, 2018.

Krista completed a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Toronto and started her career at Loblaws. Since 2017, Krista has worked as a Nutrition Specialist at Nestlé Canada, where she manages product development, supervises dietetic interns, and organizes corporate wellness programs.

Dietitians in all practice settings can apply Krista’s three key messages:

1. Use a “design thinking” approach to communicate and problem solve.
Design thinking is an extensively used approach to problem solving that has been adapted along the way to business applications. It involves identifying end users and building empathy. The end user is not just a patient or client; it is anyone who benefits from a dietitian’s services, including doctors, marketing professionals, product development specialists and others. The “Design Thinking” method is a 5-step solution based approach involving empathizing with your users to understand their perceptions of a problem, defining the problem and users’ needs, creating and prototyping solutions, and testing them out. Craft solutions according to what the end user actually wants and not what you think they want. You can use design thinking to come up with new products, get more client referrals, or to better advocate for a dietitian’s role at your office. As Jess Wiles, MHSc student, enthused: “I love that Krista gave us a new method of problem solving using the design thinking method. Making sure that our customers’/patients’ needs and wants are met is a priority for all dietitians, no matter where we work.”

2. Create a work plan using SMART goals.
Develop a work plan for end user projects that includes SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) goals as well as smaller deliverables you can achieve along the way. Stick with those objectives to avoid reaching beyond your goals, or “scope creep.”

3. Select the most appropriate medium for effective communication.

Emails, phone calls, and in person meetings are just some of the ways that people can be reached. Krista pointed out that the way employees receive communication might vary depending on their work setting, which is important to remember when crafting your message. Communications should contain at most three key, concise messages. To make meetings more efficient, email attendees beforehand stating the meeting’s purpose, objectives, and expected outputs.

By using Design Thinking, creating SMART goals and customizing communication to match end users’ preferences, all dietitians can up their communication game. As Mitchell D’Souza, MHSc student, reflected, “Krista’s Lunch & Learn provided me with insight on what it’s like to work as an industry dietitian. Her case studies and scenarios enhanced my understanding of the impact of dietetic practice, beyond the conventional patient-professional relationship.”

By Jackie Silver, MHSc(c)