Small talk can build rapport and efficiently bring out information relevant to a patient's life, preferences, and goals. Any time there is “dead time,” for example, while bringing a patient into the room or doing an exam, ask them about their life: what they do with their time, what kind of work they do, or about school or their family or kids. Throughout the rest of the visit, you can reference the information about what they have said about their life when appropriate.
“It sounds like you are incredibly busy with all that you have on your plate with work and school!"
“Working and taking care of a little one must make it challenging to get in for your shot every three months!”