We all know that communication is essential in personal relationships ­– and the same is true in the professional world. Proper communication improves your efficiency, boosts office morale, and helps your practice thrive. Without it, your business suffers. A few tips in dental practice management can help owners prioritize what’s important and prevent communication breakdown.

With over 24 years of dental practice management experience, Jennifer Pearce of Prosperity Dental Solutions can show you how to assess communication styles in your office and establish ways to get back on track.

Communication Breakdown Affects More Than Efficiency

Clear communication between the doctor and staff helps you run a more efficient practice. If you’ve been in the dental industry for very long, you probably already know this. But did you know that a lack of communication can lead to more than just inefficiency? According to a 2012 article from the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, approximately 80 percent of medical errors are due to miscommunication.[1] Furthermore, poor communication can cause a significant drop in office morale. When employees don’t feel heard, they don’t perform as well. In fact, according to Forbes, employees are far more likely to quit their jobs if they feel overlooked or ignored.[2] Avoiding communication breakdowns is one of the most effective paths to a healthy, successful practice.

The Importance of a Daily Huddle

If you’re not already holding a daily team meeting, start now. However, to ensure your meetings are fruitful, they must be organized. At least 10 to 15 minutes should be set aside every morning to discuss production, new patients, emergencies, and similar points of interest. It’s important to make sure that all team members feel heard during this meeting – and that each employee has a safe space to express any concerns.

Be Approachable

I’ve worked in many practices where the doctor seems too busy to be bothered – even when there’s an urgent matter at hand. Unfortunately, this means that problems aren’t always presented in a timely fashion. Make sure your team understands that non-urgent communication should be saved for slower times of the day – but emphasize that you’re never too busy to help them handle a tough situation.

Reward Good Ideas

Communication will thrive when your employees feel heard and appreciated. Did an employee have a good idea that will help the practice grow? Reward him or her accordingly. Consider giving them a promotion or a bonus. Even thanking them in the presence of their teammates can show that you truly appreciate their efforts.

Understand that Everyone Communicates Differently

Like learning styles, everyone has a different communication style as well. For example, some team members may have no problem discussing things in a group, face-to-face. However, someone who is shy may not feel comfortable expressing their concerns in such a public manner.

Use a variety of communication approaches so that everyone is encouraged to share their opinions. Brainstorming sessions with each department can help with this. It’s also a good idea to set up a forum where employees can write down their ideas. These can be read out loud during team meetings so that everyone feels comfortable expressing their concerns.

Contact Prosperity Dental Solutions

The bottom line is: We all communicate differently. Be sure you’re fostering a space where every single person can share confidently and listen respectfully. Prosperity Dental Solutions can help you do that. Call us at (817) 975-4567, contact us online, or email [email protected].

[1] https://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/6/tst_hoc_persp_08_12.pdf

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2018/04/17/the-top-ten-reasons-great-employees-quit/#45ffbb371cd5

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