In any dental practice, whether it’s super small or a giant corporation, having meetings is an important part of communication with team members. Meetings establish a clear vision, targets, goals and create a sense of purpose for the day, month or even year. They allow everyone to know what to do when to do it, how to do it and when it has to be done. However, we see that many dentists are challenged with holding effective meetings. Many of the common complaints we hear include:
- Meetings often don’t start on time since someone is always late
- Meetings often run late
- The agenda isn’t followed, or there is no agenda
- Morning meetings often are just “reading the schedule” and result in wasted time reviewing what everyone already knows
- There is no purpose or format to any meetings
- Nothing is ever accomplished
- Meetings are a waste of time and resources
Formatting your meetings is important. It gives the meeting a purpose, something to accomplish, and it sets an agenda to help you cover the required material in a specific amount of time. It also tells attendees:
- Why are we there?
- Who is going to do what?
- When is it going to be done?
- How is it going to get done?
Eliminate the Fear
The structure created in effective meetings allows everyone to know the purpose of the meeting and the outcomes desired by the end of it. It’s also really important to stay on purpose and not allow people to go off course, at least not for too long. Everyone’s time is valuable so we must stay on topic and work to accomplish the desired results without the meeting being a “complain” session. Many staff often tell us that they fear meetings as they don’t know what they are going to be about. Giving people a clear agenda ahead of time (by email or posting it in the office) is a great way of communicating what’s happening at the next meeting as well as eliminating fear among your team.
There are many types of meetings and they all have a different purpose.
Morning meetings often referred to as morning huddles, are meant to communicate what’s important to know that day and what things are important for the whole group to know about the patients coming in. These are about the specifics that are going to impact your day in a positive way. They are NOT so that everyone can read the schedule and report on what they are doing – that is something everyone can read from the schedule so don’t rehash what everyone already knows. These are about details found in the patient’s chart and communicating the important things you learned about. Examples include any outstanding treatment that hasn’t been scheduled yet or any family members that need appointments and haven’t been booked yet. So, the bottom line for these meetings, what do we know about this patient that can help us deliver a better appointment for them as well as address any issues we haven’t been successful at by phone or email.
Weekly meetings have a different purpose. These meetings usually summarize the last week and how to improve the next week; and you want to allow some time for venting here, to talk about challenges or issues and how can we deal with those next time. These meetings are about two things:
- How did last week go and what was a challenge and what was a win?
- How can we learn from last week moving forward and make the next weeks better?
Monthly meetings should be about strategy and learning. We often focus on structure, strategy and financials, as well as learning something new and implementing ways to improve the practice. These meetings are usually between 3-4 hours and go much deeper into one aspect of the practice that you want to focus on in the upcoming month. In my practice, there is a ton of items we cover in these meetings that propel my business into growth and success.
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Don’t forget to send us your questions and challenges so we can help you grow, become a stronger leader, and create the practice of your dreams. firstname.lastname@example.org