Dental office staff meetings are vital for keeping a dental practice functioning properly. Staff meetings can be held at various intervals, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, and should include all of the employees. To make a dental office staff meeting successful and productive, forego titles, avoid interruptions, discuss issues, eliminate defensiveness, and be sure to mention positives.

Forego Titles

A dental practice is comprised of a group of employees with different titles. Each title signifies the level of leadership that employee has within the office: the dentist is usually the one overseeing the entire practice and makes most of the decisions, and the dental assistants, hygienists, and office personnel are employees of the practice. Having the staff members forego their titles while they are in a staff meeting allows everyone to speak freely and be heard as an equal asset to the practice.

This dental office meeting concept also eliminates privileges, so an employee who is higher up on the decision-making scale does not get favoritism for her idea over the idea of another. Appoint a new facilitator for each meeting to help prevent potential disorganization during the meeting.

Avoid Interruptions

Dental offices receive frequent phone calls from patients scheduling appointments or asking questions, and from sales personnel pitching their products. So that everyone can participate and give their full attention to the meeting, send these phone calls to an answering machine and attend to them after the meeting. Change the answering machine message to let patients know why a staff member is not answering the phone. This technique informs patients of the dental practice’s efforts to keep and promote a properly running office. You can consider designating a specific phone line apart from the practice’s main number for emergency calls, and enlist one employee to answer that phone if it rings during a meeting.

Discuss Issues

Starting the staff meeting by discussing issues in the dental practice allows the employees to get problems resolved quickly. Addressing any problems at the beginning of the meeting clears the way to discuss other meeting objectives. To encourage employees to speak about any issues they want, the facilitator of the meeting should mention a list of areas in which there may be issues, such as patient care, patient billing and payments, office cleanliness, equipment, and staff camaraderie.

Eliminate Defensiveness

Eliminate defensiveness by making sure that criticism is constructive and doesn't attack anyone personally. An employee who feels he or she is being attacked will fight back verbally, which can reduce the productiveness of a staff meeting. This meeting technique assists all attendants in listening carefully to the issues being raised.

Mention Positives

After discussing issues in the office, the facilitator needs to start a discussion about the good things that are happening in the office. A nice comment made by a patient relating to the staff or practice, or a job completed by one staff member for another, are some positive examples you can bring up in the meeting. Any positive action that might otherwise go unnoticed, such as an instance when a hygienist cleaned the dental assistant’s instruments, is suitable for mentioning during the positive discussion.