Had a Good Dental Team Meeting Recently?

YDMLogoBridging the Management Gap

Regular and effective team meetings are a vital and essential part of leading, managing and growing a successful dental practice but are often thrown together at the last-minute without real thought, cancelled at short notice, poorly attended or seen as an opportunity to complain about everything under the sun.

Think back to your last team meeting, which was hopefully within the last 4 weeks, and ask yourself a few quick questions

  • Did your team come out feeling enthused?dreamstime_xs_33338892
  • Did all the team contribute and add value?
  • Does everyone know what they need to do next?
  • Does everyone know what success looks like?
  • Did you all learn something new?
  • Was there something on the agenda for everyone?
  • Were meeting minutes and action points circulated?

If you answered yes to all of these then well done – you are making good use of the meetings and should hopefully be seeing the results. If not then you have everything to gain from making some changes and will probably even start to enjoy the meetings.

Some suggestions for making the most of your next team meeting:

  1. Plan ahead and start to build up the next agenda as soon as the previous meeting has finished. Your agenda should cover a variety of subjects including
    • Follow-up and progress with items from previous meeting minutes
    • Practice performance update
    • Patient feedback and comments
    • Recognition of individual and team successes/celebrations
    • Items & action arising from compliance checks and audits
    • Constructive feedback from the reception team
    • Constructive feedback from the nursing team
    • Constructive feedback from the clinician team
    • Policy/procedure refresher training
    • Management update covering any proposed changes e.g. rota, procedures
    • Update on key success factors e.g. patient numbers, diary utilisation, FTAs
    • Social and “House-keeping”
  2. Invite the team to submit suggestions for the agenda
  3. Don’t allow any one item on the agenda to dominate
    • Any issues which can’t be resolved within the allotted time can be given to one or two people to take away, discuss and come back to the next meeting with a suggested solution
    • Mix any controversial items between lighter, good news stories so that you can quickly move on and lighten the atmosphere
    • If necessary arrange a second meeting to discuss with interested parties
  4. Don’t let individuals dominate discussions (including yourself)
    • Ask quieter members of the team what they think
    • Insist that everyone is given the opportunity to speak
    • Share the agenda items out so that different people come prepared to talk about something of interest to them.
  5. Ask for suggestions, solutions and feedback
    • Don’t underestimate the power of silence – someone will usually fill it quickly
    • Look at different people, this will usually prompt an answer
    • Repeat suggestions back in your own words to clarify & reinforce understanding
  6. Present in different ways to make the meeting more interesting
    • Always face the team when speaking and avoid reading from a sheet of paper – a quick glance at notes should be all that is needed
    • Incorporate short quizzes to check understanding
    • Use short videos to support agenda items – lap-tops are easily attached to modern large-screen TVs or why not invest in a small projector and screen?
    • Make use of flip-charts to explain things
    • Bring in external speakers such as Your Dental Manager to add variety
    • Incorporate some humour
    • Remain enthusiastic throughout, the team will mirror your own attitude
  7. Ask different people to take the minutes and note down actions at each meeting
  8. If meetings are being held during the lunch-period, provide light refreshments
  9. Encourage as many people as possible to attend and offer time off in lieu if not their normal working day.
  10. Make sure that each agenda item has a next step, action point or follow-up
  11. Circulate minutes and check to ensure people who were unable to attend read and understand what was discussed
  12. Always, always end the meeting on a positive with some enthusiastic words of encouragement from the Principal and/or Practice Manager.

Mark Greenwood

Had a Good Dental Team Meeting Recently?