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Building Your Network at the New Dentist Conference

New Dentist Conference Logo It’s finally here! The ADA 27th New Dentist Conference. Don’t forget to follow the conference at #NDC2013.

You may have heard that the conference is a great place to network and that’s true—it is!

If you aren’t a seasoned networker, you might want to check out these tips from Toastmasters International about how to work a room at a conference.

If you are comfortable networking, but you still feel like sometimes you get stuck in small talk and have difficulty connecting, consider this tip from Dave Kerpen on the LinkedIn Blog:

Everyone else is asking, “Where are you from?” and “Where do you work?” and other small talk at conferences. […] ask better questions, such as “What are you most passionate about?” and “What charity do you care most about?” and “Who at this conference would you most like to be connected with?” That way, you get people talking about something they really care about, and you can form a more meaningful relationship faster. Of course, the most important question you can ask of someone is, “How can I help you?”

 Not a bad question—how can we help you? Leave your answer in the comments.

How to Find a Mentor

mentoring

Interested in finding a mentor?

We’re getting ready for this Saturday’s 11th Annual New Dentist Committee Awards Luncheon taking place at the 27th New Dentist Conference. Several of the awards honor accomplishments in mentoring.

No matter where you are in the arc of your career, there is no substitute for a one-on-one mentoring relationship. If you are ready to find a mentor, here are some suggestions, originally published in ADA New Dentist News:

Get Clear on What you Want to Learn Saying, “I don’t know what to do with my career,” is a broad question, difficult for a mentor to help you solve. More helpful are the concrete, practical questions you may face. Are you looking for someone who can help you navigate the options for practicing in an FQHC? Hoping for help in charting a path to leadership in organized dentistry? Seeking a dentist with a knack for developing a practice from scratch? Defining the kind of information you’d like to receive will make it easier to begin your search.

Get Clear on What you Have to Offer A good mentor can help you grow past limitations and reach your full potential. Mentors want to feel needed, but that doesn’t mean you will need advice on everything! Do a self-inventory, and prepare a mental list that identifies your strengths as well as the areas in which you’d like to grow.

Meet In-Person, Maintain Online Email and social media are great ways to keep a relationship going, but to get one started, you’ll need face-to-face encounters. Attending state or local dental meetings is an ideal way to meet successful dentists in a low-stress environment. Some dental societies offer formal mentoring programs as well. Give your state or local dental society a call to see what’s available in your area. Find a directory of state and local dental societies at ADA.org/societydirectories.

 If you are currently being mentored, and it’s going well, congratulations! Where did you and your mentor meet? Let us know in the comments.

Meet us for a Drink in New Orleans!

New Dentist Reception

New Dentist Reception

The New Dentist Reception is a casual gathering at Annual Session where you can connect with colleagues and meet up with old friends.

The reception takes place Friday, November 1 (5:30-7 p.m.) at Generations Hall, 310 Andrew Higgins Drive. Originally built in the 1820s as a sugar refinery, Generations Hall is an easy walk from the convention center.

New dentists and dental students are invited to attend. Tickets are $15 each (limit two per person) and include light fare and drinks. Guests must be 21 years of age or older. You may purchase tickets when registering for Annual Session at ADA.org/session. The New Dentist Reception is code E001.

The New Dentist Reception is provided by the generous support of Wells Fargo.

Meditation — When Doing it Wrong Works out Just Right

Meditation

Exercising willpower

It seems like everywhere we turn we are being urged to meditate in order to reduce stress, improve concentration and otherwise enhance awesomeness (Here’s some bullet points from the Mayo Clinic on the potential benefits of meditation.)

Kelly McGonigal, Ph. D., author of The Willpower Instinct: How Self Control Works, Why it Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It recommends meditation as a way to train the brain and teach the mind how to handle both inner distractions and outer temptations. The book recommends a meditation practice of spending five minutes, eyes closed, observing your breath.

The challenge is that other thoughts sneak in. According to McGonigal, being “bad” at meditation is exactly what makes the practice effective.

The act of catching yourself being distracted and re-focusing your attention on breathing is the same impulse required by willpower. Teaching yourself to return to meditation uses the same “muscle” as teaching yourself to skip dessert or avoid making a snarky remark.

Have you tried meditation? Share your experience in the comments.

An Employee is Crying — Now What?

An employee crying

Tears in the workplace

Maybe it’s for personal reasons, maybe something happened on-the-job, whatever it was that triggered the emotional response, now there are tears. If you are the boss, what should you do when an employee cries?

Over at the Harvard Business Review blog, Amy Gallo has a comprehensive set of practical steps for managers when an employee cries at work.

If the problem is a personal one, Gallo recommends keeping your response simple:

If you’ve identified that the problem is a personal one, stick to simple and comforting responses — “I’m sorry” or “This is a horrible situation.” Don’t tell him that everything’s going to be OK or imply that he should buck up. And resist the temptation to tell a story of your own.

How about you — have you ever been in a situation where you needed to respond to an employee’s tears?

Failing a Dental Licensure Exam

Failing a dental licensure exam is NOT the end of the world

Failing a dental licensure exam is NOT the end of the world

Failing your licensing exam may seem like the end of the world, but it does happen, and dentists do go on to achieve licensure and practice dentistry.

You can read licensure stories from ADA member dentists, and if you want to appeal your results or apply to re-test, you can find more information in Understanding Licensure.

Getting ready for your clinical exam? Download a free checklist (PDF).

(Almost) Every Day Sunshine

Denver Skyline

Blue Skies over Denver

Which city gets the most annual days of sunshine?

  • San Diego
  • Miami
  • Denver

If you answered Denver, you’re correct!

We’ve been researching Denver in advance of the 2013 New Dentist Conference, taking place in the mile high city, and we’ve learned some interesting facts from the Official Travel and Visitor Bureau for Denver, Colorado. Turns out the city enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine every year, more than San Diego or Miami.

If you are attending the conference, taking place July 18-20 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver, you’ll want to be sure you pack your sunscreen. At 5,280 feet above sea level there’s 25 percent less protection from the sun.

One more bit of weather trivia – with less water vapor in the air at this altitude, the sky really is bluer in Denver.

Building a Healthy Habit — Floss a Single Tooth

floss

Just floss a single tooth?

Stanford professor BJ Fogg has been studying habit formation and how to influence it by taking tiny steps towards a goal. In an interview with public broadcaster KQED, Fogg discusses his approach:

The strength of a habit is defined, at least the way I see it, is how much of a decision was that behavior. So if you’re deciding ‘yeah, I’m going to go to the gym today’ it’s a pretty good indication it’s not a habit. Habits are things you do without deciding.

So how should you go about helping a patient develop a healthy habit, such as regular flossing? According to Fogg, the key is to start with flossing a single tooth.

Next, find a habit you already have and do your new habit immediately after. “For me and for most people, brushing your teeth is a solid habit. So that can serve as a trigger for the new behavior you want.”

Then, reward yourself. “You declare victory. Like I am so awesome, I just flossed one tooth. And I know it sounds ridiculous. But I believe that when you reinforce yourself like that, your brain will say yeah, awesome, let’s do that.”

Reading about BJ Fogg’s approach we can’t decide if it sounds like positive reinforcement or positively a terrible idea. Share your perspective in the comments.

How Valuable is a “Thank You” to the Dental Team?

 

Thanks

Is this valuable?

We all like to feel appreciated, and you probably thank the members of your team for doing good work.

It turns out that expressing your gratitude might be one of the best (and least expensive) investments you can make in your team!

Harvard associate professor Francesca Gino conducted numerous experiments in gratitude for her book, Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed and How We Can Stick to the Plan.

In one experiment, Gino studied a team of 41 call-center fundraisers working on fixed salaries. At the end of one week, the supervisor personally thanked about half of them.

The second week, the group that received thanks saw its call volume shoot up about 50 percent while the unacknowledged group kept its total number of calls about the same.

Why does expressing thanks have such impact?

As Gino explained to Chuck Eddy at Harvard Gazette, “Receiving expressions of gratitude makes us feel a heightened sense of self-worth, and that in turn triggers other helpful behaviors toward both the person we are helping and other people, too.”

 What about you? How do you let members of your team know that they are doing a good job? Leave your answer in the comments.

Do You Use Email to get Patient Feedback?

How do you collect feedback?Over at the blog Signal vs. Noise, Jason Fried has been writing about the feedback requests he has gotten from different businesses. He was not a fan of this survey he received after buying a car.

After buying some gourmet foods from an Ann Arbor mail-order deli, he got an email survey that consisted of a single question:

How Likely are you to Recommend (this mail order company) to a friend or colleague?

 0 = Not a Chance

10 = In a Heartbeat

Considering how challenging it can be to get feedback, it’s easy to see the appeal of such a simple survey, although it’s less clear how useful the results might be.

Looking to take your customer service to the next level? Check out Power of Customer Service: How to Create Happy Satisfied Patients from the ADA Catalog. Members always receive a significant discount when ordering catalog items.

How do you find out what your patients think about the job you and your team are doing? Leave your answer in the comments.