We are a group of Dental Consultants who offer, improved practice morale; a happier, more profitable patient base;and improved home life; increased collections. (And yes, our average is 35% in year one.)

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Email Communication



It can be challenging to communicate when our co-workers are standing in front of us. For example, you may make an assumption they are angry with you based on their tone or that they do not like you because of body language. In email there is no tone. We interpret an email solely based off of the words, therefore; it is even more critical for individuals to be conscious of what they are saying. A short to the point response in email can be presumed to be rude or that you are yelling at the individual.  While a long, detailed email can get lost in translation.

I often respond to emails in a yes or no manner with very little detail. Who wants to sit at their computer and read a novel? I don’t. However, a co-worker came to me once and asked if I was upset with her. I said no, why would you think that. She stated that my email was short and that she thought maybe, I was mad at how she was performing her job. I was shocked. I had never thought of it that way. For me, I responded in a brief to the point email because I did not feel that the email warranted more.
 
Individuals have their own tone of voice, pitch and cadence. We speak in a particular manner and this same manner is how we read information. If you are a negative individual you will read emails with a negative connotation. And if you are positive and upbeat, you will read with a happy tone. This is critical when the person is not in front of you and you cannot read their body language.  




Monday, May 26, 2014

Does negative communication affect your office?




In communication, under pressure it is easy to become snippy with co-workers, frustrated with the front office personal and demanding of the dental assistants. However, it is important to keep in mind how you want to be communicated with. If we spend our time being rude and speaking disrespectfully to those around us, then they will communicate with us in the same manner.

Take the time to take a deep breath, be calm and then deliver the message. Remember that yes you need to get a job done but the more time you spend on developing appropriate communication skills in your office, the better everything else will be in the future.


Remember your purpose is to provide great customer service and this includes towards your co-workers as well.  Include a friendly tone of voice, a smile on your face and avoid the snappy comments.  Control your frustration and your tongue. There is no reason to snap at a co-worker that she is not completing a task fast enough. They will accomplish more with positive encouragement and support. Ask if you can help, even if you are under pressure or let them know that you understand they are busy and when they get a free moment you need something. In the end the more empathetic and supportive you can be when you are talking to your co-workers then the more your team will achieve. 

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Empathetic listening




Empathetic listening can help you hear the message being communicated without other noise getting in the way. It is important to be a good listener in order to communicate more effectively.  Empathetic listening has five distinct characteristics that you can implement to instantly improve your listening skills.

It is easy, when someone is talking, to think about how you are going to respond to what they are saying. However, if you are using good listening skills, you are able to hear more of the actual message being expressed. Repeat part of your co-workers response as you are responding.

 Ask clarifying questions if you are unsure and allow them the opportunity to complete what they are saying without jumping over them. Individuals at times don’t want to admit that they don’t know. But it is perfectly okay to not have all the answers.

Make eye contact. When you are looking at the person that is speaking, you tend to focus more on what they are saying and less on your to do list. Be aware of different cultures however, some cultures looking someone in the eye maybe considered rude.

Rephrase the message. By restating what you think you hear someone say it helps clarify any miscommunications before they occur. This will give the individual an opportunity to re-explain if you are confused about anything. 

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Be aware of your emotional state:




It is no surprise how we feel impacts our relationships. You woke up excited, passionate and looking forward to the day. You come to work, and the energy is flowing. There’s a rush of excitement, the doctor is in and you are prepared for whatever comes through the door.  However, another day, you wake up late, tired, rush to get out of the house, your teenager left his shoes, backpack and belt in the middle of the floor again and when you show up to work the excited flurry at the door greets you. Ask yourself, which day goes better? Why?


Before you deliver a message take into consideration your emotional state. For example, when the doctor rushes by and asks for operatory five to be set up do you turn and snap at the individual next to you because you’re feeling pressure? Calming yourself down and being aware of how you feel can help improve your communication. This will also help with your paraverbal communication, because you will have yourself under control. Be clear and concise in your message, the clearer you are the better chance you have of your message being received with the intended purpose.

Salt DPM consultant Austine Etcheverry, “it can be difficult to rate our emotional state before we walk in the door, but once we’re at work everyone in the office will know where we are at.” When working so closely with others, we need to become more aware of where we are at in order to build stronger relationships. 

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Your body language commuicates and then your mouth catches up








What does your body language say about you?  Our body language communicates a message before we ever open up our mouth. If we walk quickly towards someone, they may take a step back and assume we are angry.  Do you tend to stand at attention, with your arms crossed when you are talking to someone? Or are you relaxed with your hands in your pockets?

It’s time to assess your body language. Are your arms crossed? Are you tapping your foot or talking fast? Reevaluate what your body language is saying to those around you to help improve communication.  When we are in a hurry we may rush at our co-workers, deliver a message quickly and then walk away.  Our body language often delivers the message for us before we open up our mouths.  

Take a moment to practice: Stand up, put a smile on your face and walk towards your co-worker. Ask them how they are doing? Can you get them anything? Then ask them a question in reference to a patient. What was the result?

Now, think back on a time when you did not do this? Did you receive a different result? Did your co-worker respond in a completely different way? Did they become angry or frustrated with you later on seemingly over something small?

The small moments add up to the big ones and when we do not take enough time to assess our body language before communicating we run the risk of offending, and damaging the relationship. A well-oiled machine of productivity could stop being productive if oil is not added to the parts every once in awhile. Your collogues and co-workers are the same. They may become less productive if all they are only ever given directions, questions and statements of demands.
When you take time to use friendly bodily language, you improve the power in your communication.

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Golden Rule


What we learned in Kindergarten applies to the workforce today:

The Golden Rules we learn in kindergarten are the stepping-stone of what we need to implement in our day-to-day life.  On that list of rules is respect yourself and each other. When you are on a team it does not matter if you like them or if they are your friends on Facebook. When you are in the office you must communicate with your team upholding respect above all else.  

Respect needs to be delivered not only in the message you are saying, but your body language as well. I can say the nicest thing in the world, but if I speak in a condescending tone my words will be lost.
Our tone of voice depicts how much we respect our teammates or don’t respect them. Be careful of the tone you use, as you do not want a negative communication pattern to begin between yourself and others in the office, especially ones that can be heard by the patients.  Your team is only as strong as the weakest person, and if you are busy bickering among yourselves and are not respecting others then your team communication will break down.    
Keep in mind that what respect means to me is different than what your co-workers definition of respect is. For example, I work with an individual who takes messages very literally. Our boss was describing to the team that there were too many adult issues going on and that the team needed to handle them. To her the boss was informing her that she didn’t care about their feelings and their concerns. Our boss, was trying to get the team to problem solve for themselves.  Our boss believed that she was respecting the right of individuals to come up and problem solve a situation while my co-worker believed she was disrespecting them because she didn’t care enough about them to support their concerns.

No matter what the issue is, it pays to error on the side of caution when communicating and interacting with your team. Take the time to know them in order to help increase support and respect around the office. It will pay off in the end, because your patients will pick up on the positive relationships that you as a staff have.

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Evaluate your paraverbal communication




Paraverbal communication encompasses intonation, cadence, volume, and pace.  It is how you say what you say minus the words. We all have a tone that we use, or a speed in which we talk. For example, when we are stressed our voice may become higher and faster.  

Intonation is the pitch of our voice. Some people's natural pitch is high and some is low. However, when we communicate in a nervous fashion the pitch changes to show we are uncomfortable and if we are mad it may get higher. It is important to practice certain dialogue if you know that you are going to have a heated discussion in order to work on having an even pitch.

When we feel calm, we may talk in a softer cadence and slower.  We can help better communicate with others when we are aware of how our tone sounds and what we are communicating. If it is a stressful situation people around us will benefit from us using a calm and collected tone of voice, versus a high stress tone.

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A smile is worth a thousand words


Using a smile when you talk can help you deliver a message that demonstrates respect and, willingness for a positive outcome.  A message that a friendly individual is there to help you will let your co-workers know you are trustworthy and respect them. A scowl on your face displays you don’t want to be talked to and they should move away from you.

Smiling helps you feel calm and actually makes you feel happier according to CBS news. The happier you are, the happier the office becomes.  The stress of the day can take over our lives, so take time to give in and smile allowing the calm to reenter your body.

At first smiling as we talk to a co-worker may feel awkward. You don’t have to practice in the mirror or anything weird. But the more you smile the easier it will become. Practice smiling at the people around you, take note of what your face may convey to a co-worker you are speaking to.

Try this exercise:

Have your front office call you on the phone. Say hello without a smile. Then have them call back. This time when you answer the phone have a smile on your face. Notice the difference in your tone and the outcome of the conversation. Did you notice a difference? I bet the person on the other line did. The tone in your voice will change when you are smiling. 

Smiling is contagious. So, if you’re smiling and your co-workers are smiling then patients will also be smiling.  


Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.