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Communicating

Stop the Conversation Hogs at your Next Meeting by Using Brainwriting

checklistAt some meetings it seems like a minority of the participants do a majority of the talking. But urging the chatterboxes to shut up or coaxing the wallflowers to speak up is unlikely to solve the problem.

Leigh Thompson, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management and a team consultant offers three techniques to ensure broader participation by meeting attendees. One approach caught our attention–instead of brainstorming, try brainwriting. We’re partial to the description Debra Kaye put together over at the Build Network:

Step 1: Write just one sentence each. For the first five or 10 minutes of your next idea-generation meeting, every team member writes down one good idea or one proposed solution on, say, each of a small stack of index cards.

Step 2: Consider the idea, not the source. When the timer goes off, all cards are submitted anonymously and taped or thumbtacked to a wall for the whole team’s consideration.

Step 3: Put it to a blind vote. Team members signal their interest in an idea by marking it with a sticker or a Post-it note. Everyone gets a limited number of stickers and, if done right, the best ideas emerge quickly

What about you—what has been an effective tactic to ensure that everyone in a meeting is heard? Leave your answers in the comments

Add This Phrase to Supercharge your Feedback

mentoring

Great feedback can help move a person forward, while ineffective feedback can stall or even reverse progress.

What is the secret of great feedback? Author and blogger Daniel Cole identifies one phrase that dramatically increases the likelihood that the recipient will use the feedback to improve:

I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.

Why is this 19-word phrase so effective? Cole explains that the phrase contains three essential signals:

  • You are part of this group.
  • This group is special; we have higher standards here.
  • I believe you can reach those standards.

Notes Cole:

The key is to understand that this feedback isn’t just feedback–it’s a vital cue about the relationship. The reason this approach works so well has to do with the way our brains are built. Evolution has built us to be cagey with our efforts; after all, engagement is expensive from a biological standpoint.

But when we receive an authentic, crystal-clear signal of social trust, belonging, and high expectations, the floodgates click open.

Now it’s your turn—do you have any techniques you use when giving feedback to ensure your feedback moves the listener forward, not back? Leave your answer in the comments.

In a Time of Change Find out Why Things are Going So Well

Leading a group at a dry erase boardSometimes it seems we’re wired to correct the negative. So when it comes to making a change, we’ll wonder, “What is the problem and how shall I fix it?”

Author Dan Heath suggests that this approach probably works fine most of the time — if your kid has a single F on his report card, by all means focus on that problem. However in a post on the Fast Company blog, Heath suggests it isn’t always wise to focus on problems:

There’s one time in life when this problem-focus backfires on us, and that’s when we’re trying to change things. In times of change, our report card doesn’t look almost-perfect. It looks mixed. Parts of it look like a failure. And if, in those times, we slip into problem-solving mode, we’ll spin our wheels, because there are problems everywhere. That’s a recipe for inaction, for paralysis.

What’s the answer? Instead of focusing on the problems, identify the parts that are going right and try to reproduce those results. Heath calls this a bright spots focus.

Here’s an example — let’s say you set a New Year’s resolution to get more exercise, and that looking back you haven’t been as consistent as you hoped. You probably exercised on some days – what made those days different? If you do some detective work to identify those bright spots (“I woke up earlier on those days,” or “I had my gym bag ready-to-go by the front door,”) you can focus on increasing the number of good days, rather than scolding yourself for having bad days.

Have you found any bright spots? Leave your answers in the comments.

Save the Fairy Tale Kingdom with your Toothbrush!

The American Dental Association is proud to be one of the founding members of the Ad Council’s Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives. As part of its successful Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign, the Partnership recently released Toothsavers, a new, free mobile gaming app. This interactive game encourages kids to save friendly fairy tale characters from the evil, cavity-creating sorceress who cast a wicked, tooth-rotting spell on the kingdom. The goal of the game is to motivate children to save their own teeth by brushing their teeth two minutes, twice a day.

Here’s how you can help spread the word:

Share this game with your patients to motivate parents to take action to reduce their children’s risk of oral disease by making sure their kids are brushing their teeth for two minutes, twice a day.

Schedule a Workshop for your New Dentist Committee

local arrangements committee smiling (2)Whether you are looking for a basic workshop to get off to a good start, or an advanced workshop, customized to meet your group’s needs, an ADA New Dentist Committee Workshop can help you elevate your connection to new dentists to the next level!

Both the basic and advanced workshops are designed for current and prospective members of your New Dentist Committee, as well as society leaders who work with or have an interest in the activities of the committee. The workshops are conducted by ADA staff in conjunction with the district representatives from the ADA New Dentist Committee.

There is no charge for workshops. The ADA pays for all of the speakers’ expenses, and the society hosting the meeting is requested to provide continental breakfast and lunch for the attendees as well as a location for the program.

To Schedule a Workshop or For More Information Please contact the ADA New Dentist Committee office at newdentist@ada.org.

What Comes Before Leading Others?

Thanks to the local arrangements committee for helping to make last year's conference a success!

Thanks to the local arrangements committee for helping to make last year’s conference a success!

We are hard at work making plans for the upcoming 28th ADA New Dentist Conference. The conference offers a full day of leadership programming, and that’s why this post by Kaan Turnali over at Forbes caught our attention. He recaps several famous leaders and their personal qualities — they inspire, they motivate, they instill confidence:

But it’s easy to forget, or fail to note at all, that these leaders have one other thing in common: They all had to lead themselves before leading others.

Leading oneself to inspiring one’s own heart and discipline one’s own ego is the first step any great leader takes before embarking on a great leadership role. The backgrounds of all great leaders reveal struggles that molded their character, helping them conquer fears and doubts, and making them more passionate and resilient.

Turnali goes on to say that leadership isn’t something that only happens when we are in the driver’s seat, but that it is an attitude that we practice repeatedly so that when we are asked to drive, we can take the wheel with confidence.

If you’d like to increase your capacity to lead, please join us at the 28th ADA New Dentist Conference taking place in Kansas City, Missouri July 17-19, 2014 at Sheraton Kansas City, Crown Center (mark your calendar). In addition to a full day of leadership development, the Conference includes:

  • hands-on endodontic and implant CE courses at UMKC School of Dentistry
  • Friday night social event at KC Live! In the Power & Light District
  • breakfast-and-learn sessions; all-inclusive lunches

See you in Kansas City!

Let’s Talk about Barbecue

BarbequeThe Kansas City Barbeque Society reports that Kansas City has more barbecue restaurants per capita than any other American city.

Apart from the delightful fact that there is such a thing as a barbecue society, this information is important to you for two reasons:

  •  A person who has enjoyed some barbecue is a person who will soon be wishing he or she had some dental floss.
  • The 28th ADA New Dentist Conference is taking place in Kansas City, Missouri July 17-19, 2014 at Sheraton Kansas City, Crown Center (mark your calendar).

The Conference includes:

  • hands-on endodontic and implant CE courses at UMKC School of Dentistry
  • a full day of leadership development
  • Friday night social event at KC Live! In the Power & Light District
  • breakfast-and-learn sessions; all-inclusive lunches

Barbecue consumption by attendees is entirely optional, but highly recommended. If you have a suggestion for Kansas City barbecue, be sure to leave it in the comments!

Developing a Written Employee Agreement

The ADA Center for Professional SuccessIf you are the owner of a dental practice, you might already have an employee agreement for use in clarifying expectations between the practice and the dental team. If you don’t have an agreement in place, consider Preparing Written Employee Agreements. As the title suggests this brief document is not a substitute for legal advice, but it is a helpful list of topics that are customarily included in an employee agreement. For instance:

  • What are the expectations around uniforms?
  • What is the arrangement for professional liability insurance?
  • What are the policies for continuing education?

…and more. ADA members can get the complete story at the ADA Center for Professional Success. And while you are there check out the other resources including Be a Great Boss, Checklist for Terminating an Employee and Using Flexible Benefit Plans in your Practice.

Nail that Phone Interview

Man on cell phone

Is this the best way to conduct a phone interview?

We’re putting the final touches on the upcoming issue of ADA New Dentist News, and one of the stories is about dentists finding opportunities in a group practice setting. Many of the dentists we spoke with mentioned that their initial interviews for these positions took place over the phone rather than in-person.

Judith A. Stock, writing for the Fast Company blog, has a list of suggestions for increasing your effectiveness in a phone interview. Some of the suggestions seem common sense (choose a quiet location, use a land line if possible) and some of the tips were new to us (try to find a pic of the person you are speaking with and address your answers to that image while talking) and we especially liked the three Cs of phone interviews—Concision, Concentration and Courtesy.

Concision: Phone interviews are shorter than in-person interviews, meaning less time to make a good impression. Avoid long-winded answers that could lose your audience. Keep your responses to no more than three sentences.

Concentration: Stay focused and take notes during the call. It’s not the time to organize your mail or reply to emails.

Courtesy: Be professional and be polite. At the end of the call, ask, “Do my qualifications meet the company’s needs?” Then ask when you can meet with them in person.

If you have experience being interviewed over the phone, what has been effective for you? And if you’ve ever worn the interviewer hat, anything that interviewees have done that is helpful (or confusing)? Leave your answers in the comments.

Ready to Take your New Dentist Committee to the Next Level?

New dentist workshop at the Greater St. Louis Dental Society

New dentist workshop at the Greater St. Louis Dental Society

Whether you are looking for a basic workshop to get off to a good start, or an advanced workshop, customized to meet your group’s needs, an ADA New Dentist Committee Workshop can help you elevate your connection to new dentists to the next level!

Both the basic and advanced workshops are designed for current and prospective members of your New Dentist Committee, as well as society leaders who work with or have an interest in the activities of the committee. The workshops are conducted by ADA staff in conjunction with the district representatives from the ADA New Dentist Committee.

There is no charge for workshops. The ADA pays for all of the speakers’ expenses, and the society hosting the meeting is requested to provide continental breakfast and lunch for the attendees as well as a location for the program.

To Schedule a Workshop or For More Information Please contact the ADA New Dentist Committee office at newdentist@ada.org.