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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Monday, June 30, 2014

Clusters:





  

Looking for nonverbal communication gestures in clusters prevents us from allowing a single expression or movement to be the deciding factor in a conversation or determine our thoughts about the other person’s intent.  Sure, crossing your arms over your chest can be a sign of being close-minded or resistant; however, it could be that the person is simply chilled and forgot their sweater.  Perhaps during a conversation you develop a shooting pain in your ankle and it shows on your face.  If it happens only once the other person will most likely disregard it.  If it continues it will detract from your message if you do not explain it.  Reading a person’s tails or clusters allows you to reevaluate the message you are delivering and make sure that the individual is receiving the intended message.

 If you are providing treatment and the patient continuously crosses and uncrosses their legs, this is more than one isolated movement, it’s a cluster and it may mean something is not feeling right to the patient. Perhaps they need a break, or they are uncomfortable and don’t know how to communicate it without words.  Paying attention to the whole person is the key to making sure you do not miss an opportunity to be helpful or to understand fully what the other person is experiencing.            

When supporting patients great customer service is the key. It will help you stand out above the rest. This is a simple way to stand out against the crowd because you are showing that you are able to determine the subtleties of what a patient needs.   

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Comminunication incongruent with our body





According to Albert Mehrabian only 7% of our communication is derived from the actual words we use.  While it’s 7% words, 38% is your tone and 55% is body language.  When we verbalize it’s the words, tone and expressions we use that help us communicate our meaning.  The interesting thing is if one area is incongruent to another then we develop a lack of trust. 

In other words, I can say the right thing during an apology but if my tone is curt or my body language is closed off then you won’t believe me.  If you don’t believe me you won’t trust me.  If you don’t trust me then our relationship is at risk.  When we are discussing important patient needs or treatment it is critical that the patient trust us. Otherwise, they may refuse the best course of action.    

In addition to choosing the right words, we need to make sure we are congruent, that we watch for clusters of body language as well as the context.  Cluster of body language, means you take multiple outside stimuli, sensory events, facial expressions and eye contact to determine the message that speaker is intending. When we are listening to a message, we sometimes attempt to interpret the message with a single signal, however, just like in writing our body language is displayed in a sentence and in order to avoid a miscommunication we need to put it all together.

When we are in front of the patient and discussing a treatment plan, if we are avoiding eye contact or talking fast we may give the patient the message that their treatment is not important.  Be careful of the message you deliver, your patient’s are the reason you are there and the relationship is critical for the success of your patients and your practice.  


Lenora Milligan is a coach consultant with Salt Dental Practice Management. 
Original Article published by
Tri-County Dental Society
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Act it out




How do we utilize the data given on communication? 

It is much easier to communicate in person because we have the opportunity to use all of our tools.  What about text message, emails, written correspondence, phone calls and messages?  Suddenly our tool box is lacking.  When answering the phone we use only words and tone.  Written correspondence uses only words.  So the words we choose are very important.  And we should all be using the same words to describe the same situation otherwise we create confusion.  If the doctor calls a child pulpotomy a “baby root canal” then the entire team had better use the same phrase. If our patients are called guests by only half of the team then it loses its impact.  Take time out of providing care to develop you and your team’s communication ability. 

Build the skills required to master 7/38/55 by role playing situations as a team or by playing team building games together.  Put your team into pairs, have one person be the talker and the other the listener for one minute, repeating the exercise twice.  Prepare each group individually by telling the talkers what topic you want them to talk about.   Then tell the listeners in the group to act bored or slightly uninterested during the first minute and then have them be an active, participating listener during the second minute.  Afterward, ask the talkers how it felt the first time versus the second, what did they think, feel and conclude. What impact did it have on their ability to talk?  Ask the listeners what they experienced; did they actually “hear” what was said the first minute?  What was different the second time?  Think about the results you get from this exercise in relation to your communication with patients.   

There are so many things that can distract us from focusing on our communication, each one is usually important and must be taken care of, however, make sure that you shut out the outside world for that one or two minute conversation with your patients.  It can make the difference in having your patients understand and accept the treatment they need or walking away feeling unheard or confused.

Lenora Milligan is a coach consultant with Salt Dental Practice Management. 
Original Article published by
Tri-County Dental Society
Continue learning by subscribing to our posts.  Check out updated positive quotes for your life on Facebook and Twitter And in need of something more, check out our website for speaking engagements, books and freebies for you office.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Congruence: Do the words match the tone and delivery of the message?




If I’m giving someone bad news, am I standing or sitting in a way that reflects my concern?  Using words that express empathy?  Is my tone soft and understanding?  Or am I smiling and laughing with a team mate as I walk into the room and deliver the news?  Congruency is harder than most people think.  With all the technology we have in our lives it’s easy to allow ourselves to believe we can multitask and still maintain effective communication.  You cannot.  To be congruent you must be focused on what you are saying, how you are saying it and what your gestures or expressions may be interpreted as meaning.  Any distraction can take away the impact for the listener.  

Checking your phone, rummaging through a drawer, or trying to fix a problem with your hand piece while talking, is distracted talking.  While the results of distracted talking are not as physically detrimental as distracted driving, it certainly can kill the results you are trying to achieve.  Being trained to verbalize by rote, or having “canned” speeches and responses can take away congruency as well. While I love scripting in the office to make sure everyone is singing the same tune, it must always include leeway for injecting your unique personality allowing the words and meanings to flow naturally in spite of the script.

When I think about incongruence I always think of the movie, Trains, Planes and Automobiles.  The scene where Steve Martin is standing in front of the airline ticket counter wearing a tire around his chest, in obvious dishabille and distress and the agent looks up with a big smile and asks, “How are you today?” in a cheery voice.  He loses it, as most of us would in a similar situation.  That is classic incongruence.

Lenora Milligan is a coach consultant with Salt Dental Practice Management. 
Original Article published by
Tri-County Dental Society
Continue learning by subscribing to our posts.  Check out updated positive quotes for your life on Facebook and Twitter And in need of something more, check out our website for speaking engagements, books and freebies for you office.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Context:




The context of communication between patient and doctor includes the environment where the situation is taking place.  It can include the history between the people involved, as well as each person's role in the communication.

For example- an interaction between the dentist and patient may take place in the treatment room.  Whether the doctor is standing or sitting is critical to context.  If the doctor is behind the patient then the patient is left with only two of the three ways to discern the nuances in the communication.  This will hamper your success with the conversation.  If the doctor is in front of the patient, then the patient has all three ways of accessing things: words, tone and body language.  Understanding context is important, as it is the foundation of the relationship you are building.  If there is a history of non-compliance with the patient then the frustration that causes the doctor and team may show in your tone or gestures, hampering your ability to convince the patient of the needed treatment.

The history between the doctor and the patient is critical to the conversation between them. If there is a trusting relationship then the communication is going to look and sound different versus the patient that does not have a good relationship with the doctor.  It sets the tone for everything that happens during the visit.

Each person has an individual role during the conversation. Someone is the receiver, while the other person is the communicator. The receiver is the person who is taking the information in, while the communicator is the person delivering the message. The relationship, context, and history will impact the message that is given as well as the message that is received. 

Lenora Milligan is a coach consultant with Salt Dental Practice Management. 
Original Article published by
Tri-County Dental Society
Continue learning by subscribing to our posts.  Check out updated positive quotes for your life on Facebook and Twitter And in need of something more, check out our website for speaking engagements, books and freebies for you office.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Communication between the doctor and patient




Communication encompasses so much more than the words we choose.  Communication between a doctor and patient is the basis of success in the dental practice.  With excellent communication patients can develop a high level of trust with their provider which makes every encounter you have a much more rewarding experience for everyone.  A patient who first enters the office is analyzing the visit from start to finish. The first impression is the most important.
7/38/55 I’m sure you have heard these numbers before, but they are so important that they bear repeating and usually prompt important discussions at home and in the work place.  These percentage are the result of two research studies (Mehrabian & Wiener, 1967 and Mehrabian & Ferris, 1967) combined that resulted in the 7/38/55 formula. According to Albert Mehrabian only 7% of our communication is derived from the actual words we use.  While it’s 7% words, 38% is your tone and 55% is body language.


Lenora Milligan is a coach consultant with Salt Dental Practice Management. 
Original Article published by
Tri-County Dental Society
Continue learning by subscribing to our posts.  Check out updated positive quotes for your life on Facebook and Twitter And in need of something more, check out our website for speaking engagements, books and freebies for you office.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Your short term goals




The endless grind of an office lull can work you into a frenzy never giving you a break to analyze what your office is doing. You may work through the grind of the day, go home tired and then come back the next day. But where is it all leading? For your sake and the sake of your staff step off the hamster wheel and build a new practice. The short term goals are the steps that you take in order to reach your ultimate long-term goal.

First, start by creating your long-term goal. For example, do you want a lunch everyday or do you want to go home earlier? Do you want more new patients and less patients that do not show up on time in order to increase your overall profitability and happiness? No matter what goal you want, think big picture.

After you have determined your long-term goal you need to develop the short- term goals and plan. Every short-term step you take should lead you to the overall long-term goal. If you want more patients that are great patients, then you can ask for referrals from the patients you want to see more of. Or you can increase your marketing. Or if you want to be happier at work, schedule a morning huddle where you discus the day. Schedule your day appropriately to map out the type of day that is going to allow for that.

Keep yourself accountable. In order to reach the small and long-term goals you need to develop the time line. Don’t allow yourself to not be accountable to your staff and to yourself. Develop a model or a way for you to check and see where you are at in aligning with the goal. 

No matter what your goal is, Salt consultants can help you develop your plan and reach your goals today. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Do you have a small town mentality?



A man decided to go fishing. He rowed out to the middle of the lake and dropped his line in the water. Pretty soon he pulled out a huge fish. He gazed at the fish longingly and then removed the hook and threw it back into the water.

He dropped his line back into the water. Not long after another fish bit. He pulled out a large fish. Again he studied it carefully and wistfully before removing the hook and throwing it back into the water.

Finally he caught a third fish – much smaller than the first two. This one he placed in his bucket to take home. You see the fisherman only had a small pan to cook his fish in.

Do you only have a small pan mentality? A thought that you are not worthy of larger or better things in life? Believing that you can have ‘either/or’ is a thinking error. Be open to growth – large growth. It’s not ‘either/or’ its ‘either/and.’


Monday, June 2, 2014



As an employer you perhaps have wondered, how do I get and keep my team motivated and on the right path?

There are four levels of engagement:

Level 1: Lack of enthusiasm.
            A lack of enthusiasm or motivation is generally caused when a person is in a job that does not have meaning for them. Sometimes it can be because a lack of understanding on where the practice is heading. Make sure that all team members are aware of the goals and vision for the practice, if lack of enthusiasm continues, then you know the employee is in the wrong profession or part of the wrong team.

Level 2: Inspired.
            Inspiration occurs when an idea occurs. Team members can easily become inspired, but if they are not given the chance to act the inspiration will quickly die and they will return to a level 1 engagement.

Level 3: Motivated.
            Motivation is when inspiration is coupled with action. This gets people moving.

Level 4: Passion
            Your employees have an idea they can’t put down, the authority to move forward, and the direction they are headed in the practice matches their own personal path.

Passionate people make a difference: To your patients, to your practice and to your life.