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How to Improve Your Dental Team Meetings and Achieve Productive Outcomes

Oct 19, 2022

What’s your meeting-mindset? Is that even a thing?

Consider it your default response when planning, scheduling, leading and participating in dental practice team meetings.

Truth is, your team could share your mindset about meetings — positively or negatively.

Perhaps it’s time to renew your thinking and approach to dental team meetings. There are some contrasting perspectives to consider:

  • Team meetings are beneficial to your practice culture, patient care and team dynamics BUT they are also sources of frustration when the agenda isn’t clear.
  • Team meetings are a good use of time when there are clear objectives and actionable outcomes to work towards BUT they also take time away from what could be invested in scheduled production.

That said, a dental team meeting reboot can help assure that your team, culture, patients and practice production benefit from the time you invest.

How to improve your dental team meetings for the good of your team, practice culture, patient care and production

1 — Know why you’re meeting

Meetings scheduled in advance are a good idea. The same advanced planning should also apply to what you want to accomplish in the specific meeting.

Being intentional about meetings helps establish expectations, an opportunity to talk through a recent or recurring challenge and other talking points around practice culture and patient care standards.

  • Prepare and share an agenda in advance. This gives team members time to think about their unique contribution to the meeting.
  • Be specific about the decisions and outcomes you want to achieve.
  • Confirm what will be reported at the next meeting and who is responsible for the action item(s).

Let these targets determine the necessity and purpose of your meeting.

2 — Set a reasonable timeframe for your meeting

A long meeting isn’t necessarily more important than a short meeting. Again, the key is your purpose and the agenda for the meeting.

An essential for effective team meetings is knowing when it will end. Timeframes help keep the meeting on track and agenda-focused.

  • Start on time and end on time. Be diligent about this!
  • Prioritize your agenda so the high-priority action items are covered first.
  • Be prepared and disciplined to “table” any remaining agenda items until the next meeting.

Protect the integrity of your team meetings by honoring your start and finish time.

3 — Designate, empower, and protect your “quarterback”

That’s a visual for confirming that your team meetings have a leader. Their task is to know, manage and advance the meeting agenda “down the field.”

An office/practice manager is the likely go-to person for this role. But keep in mind that meeting leadership is a skill that some have (and others might lack).

  • Clarify who will “quarterback” (lead) the meeting. This could be rotational or it could be a consistent, ongoing role for the skilled person.
  • Give the leader authority to tweak the agenda and keep the meeting on-focus.
  • Allow them to close the meeting within the designated timeframe and make the call for any tabled agenda items or related actions.

4 — Mind your metrics

Goals are mile-markers. Your metrics and/or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are the measurables that help keep you and your team accountable.

Team meetings are effective for keeping your goals, vision and metrics aligned.

  • Celebrate “wins” since your last meeting.
  • Talk openly and honestly about your “losses.”
  • Set or renew your goals based on your collective input around “wins” and “losses.”
  • Make sure your goals are actionable and not unrealistic

The SMART goal approach is useful: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.

5 — Follow-up to stoke team accountability

Meetings can become mundane. When they do, it’s often because there’s no accountable follow-up.

  • Designate someone (other than the meeting leader) to take notes during your meetings.
  • Make the notes available in a digital and/or printed format within two to three hours after the meeting.
  • Attach team members to specific action items and add them to the next meeting’s agenda (if necessary).
  • Review assigned action items during the next meeting.

6 — Create team engagement around your meetings

An effective team meeting has the potential to build camaraderie. The vibe of your dental practice culture will often flow from the sense of community you create.

  • Mix in some fun and food at your team meetings.
  • Highlight individual team member successes as part of your agenda.
  • Honor team member’s employment milestones, birthdays, special events, personal and family moments, etc.

Teams are about people. Your meetings are a collective environment where you have opportunity to build them up, equip them and send them out to make a difference in patients’ lives.

Much of your team meeting agendas revolve around data such as metrics and KPIs. The following resources can help you align your team (and your team meetings) around those essential data analytics:

You’re in This Together, So Why Not Share Dental Practice Analytics With Your Team?

How to Use Data Analytics in Your Morning Huddle to Increase Practice Success

Support your team meeting agendas with proven data analytics tools

The Jarvis Analytics platform helps assure that you’re tracking the important metrics and staying on-track with your goals as your dental practice grows and expands.

Experience Jarvis Analytics in action. Request a demo today!