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Getting the Most out of Mentoring

mentoring

Get the most out of mentoring

Yesterday we congratulated winners of the 11th Annual New Dentist Committee Awards Luncheon taking place at the 27th New Dentist Conference. The subject of mentors and mentoring came up a lot.

A few days ago we posted about how to find a mentor. If you have found a new mentor and are ready to start that conversation, here are some suggestions, originally published in ADA New Dentist News:

Start Small Just as you would be wary of someone who proposed marriage on the first date, a potential mentor may shy away from a formal request for mentorship. Instead, start out by asking for advice on a single, well-defined challenge. For instance, “How do you approach case acceptance when the patient’s objection is that it will take too much time?”

Show that you are Serious If you received good advice, implement it and report back to your potential mentor. You’ll demonstrate that you are a good investment for the mentor’s time and effort. This might be a time to suggest a casual meeting over coffee.

Be Quick to Listen, Slow to Defend A key component of your mentor’s value is a willingness to share frank observations with you. While there is no expectation that you agree with all the feedback you receive, resist the urge to contradict your mentor. A useful phrase for you is, “Wow, you and I are looking at the same information and coming to two different conclusions. Will you share more of your thinking so I can see this from your point of view?”

Remember to Have Fun A mentorship should be an energy boost for both of you, not another in a list of “ought to do” obligations. Remember to reach out to your mentor to share good news, to make purely social invitations, and connect in other ways that aren’t primarily about you asking for guidance.

A Cool Story about Mentoring

Kevin Goles

Kevin Goles

Kevin Goles is attending the 27th New Dentist Conference — he’s a member of the Class of 2015 at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

Kevin accepted the New Dentist Leadership award on behalf of Dr. David White who wasn’t able to attend the awards luncheon. Dr. White mentored Kevin back when Kevin was a pre-dental student in Nevada.

And Kevin stuck around to help present the award for Outstanding Leadership in Mentoring to Dr. Dan Edwards, who is a current mentor to Kevin in Michigan, and a former mentor of Dr. Dan White!

“Dr. White really expanded my knowledge and grew my interest in dentistry and my passion for helping people. He helped me make decisions about my dental education and prepare me for taking on leadership roles. And now that I have these student leadership positions, Dr. Edwards is helping me make sure that I can manage all these priorities and stay effective.”

Of course mentoring is not just for dental students. Both ADA President Dr. Robert Faiella and Immediate Past President Dr. William Calnon gave interviews to ADA News citing the value of mentoring they received after school.

If you already have a mentor, congratulations! And if you’d like to get started with a mentoring relationship we have ideas.

Attending state or local dental meetings is an ideal way to meet successful dentists in a low-stress environment. Find a directory of state and local dental societies at ADA.org/societydirectories.

The ADA New Dentist Conference 2013–Some Pictures!

Having a great time at the 2013 New Dentist Conference

Having a great time at the 2013 New Dentist Conference

Learning more at the 2013 New Dentist Conference

Learning more at the 2013 New Dentist Conference

Chatting with vendors at the 2013 New Dentist Conference

Chatting with vendors at the 2013 New Dentist Conference

Serious discussion at the 2013 New Dentist Conference

A serious discussion at the 2013 New Dentist Conference

Earning CE credits at the 2013 New Dentist Conference

Earning CE credits at the 2013 New Dentist Conference

Lunch

Lunch!

Dr Brandon Seto at the 2013 New Dentist Conference

Dr Brandon Seto at the 2013 New Dentist Conference

Another Round of Applause, This Time for Dr. Dan Edwards

Dr. Dan Edwards

Dr. Dan Edwards

Here at the New Dentist Conference, we’re proud to honor the ADA Golden Apple Award Winners. Dr. Dan Edwards won the award for Outstanding Leadership in Mentoring.

In 2012 ADA New Dentist News spoke with Dr. Dan Edwards about his approach to mentoring dental students:

 “I want to give a mentee enough information to make an informed decision, which isn’t the same as getting someone to copy my decisions,” explains Dr. Edwards. “It’s similar to the way I present a treatment plan to a patient. I lay out all the options, and I share my opinion about what I recommend as the best course of action. When it comes to mentoring, my passion is right there on the surface, because these have been good choices for me. But each individual has to make his or her own decision.”

Congratulations to Dr. Dan Edwards and all the other 2013 winners!

What about you? Who is a mentor who has made (or is still making) a difference in your life? Leave your answer in the comments.

A Round of Applause for Dr. David White

Dr. David White

Dr. David White

Here at the New Dentist Conference, we’re proud to honor the ADA Golden Apple Award Winners. Dr. David White received the award for New Dentist Leadership.

In 2012, ADA New Dentist News spoke with Dr. David White about how mentoring the next generation of dentists helps to protect the future of the profession:

(Dr. White coordinates) a range of programs that connect pre-dental students to elementary school enrichment programs. For Dr. White, these activities represent an investment. “There are problems in any community that can’t be solved with money — they take time.”

One way that investment of time pays off for Dr. White is with his work as chair of the Nevada Dental Association’s Political Action Committee. “One reason I feel so comfortable doing advocacy work, is that lawmakers see these young leaders who are dentists or are on the track to becoming dentists, making a quantifiable difference in the community. It means we are able to approach those legislators and say, ‘This is what we, as a profession, think is in the best interest of our citizens,’ and we have credibility.”

Congratulations to Dr. David White and to all the other 2013 winners!

Don’t forget to follow the conference at #NDC2013.

Using Conversation to Guide Patients

Conversation with a patientToday is another full day of CE at the 27th New Dentist Conference and one of the speakers is Dr. Paul Homoly who is presenting a course on guiding patients towards good dental health decisions.

Earlier this year ADA New Dentist News spoke with Dr. Homoly about his approach for using conversation to gain case acceptance. Here are his suggestions for getting the conversation started as they appeared in ADA New Dentist News:

“When you first meet with a new patient, you want to have a conversation that is as comfortable as possible,” explains Dr. Homoly, “and for the patient, reclining back under a bright light isn’t very comfortable.”

If you have a conference space or a private office, that may be a more relaxed conversational setting. If you are pressed for space, go ahead and have the conversation in the operatory, but hold off on the bib and bright light and adjust the chair so the patient can see you eye-to-eye without being distracted by a jumble of handpiece hoses.

Instead of jumping in with your philosophy of care or a run-down of the appointment’s activities (“First we’re going to take some radiographs”), start with a focus on the patient’s needs. Dr. Homoly suggests, “Welcome to XYZ Dental, I’m Dr. Paul. How can I help you today?”

What have you learned about presenting treatment plans to patients—is this something you learned while in dental school, or that you learned in practice? Leave your answers in the comments.

Strong Advocates for Dentists and the Patients They Serve

ADPAC logoIt’s the start of the weekend and it’s time for the Friday Night Event at Coors Field where the Colorado Rockies take on the Chicago Cubs.

The Friday Night Event at the 27th New Dentist Conference is sponsored by the American Dental Political Action Committee, better known by its acronym ADPAC.

Through the financial contributions of member dentists, ADPAC works to elect congressional candidates who understand the importance of dentistry and the link between oral health and overall health. Regardless of party affiliation, ADPAC supports candidates who will be strong advocates for dentists and the patients they serve. You can check out a list of ADPAC accomplishments here.

If you’d like to get involved in advocacy, here’s information on signing up for alerts, contacting your legislator and joining ADPAC.

And, on behalf of the ADA staff and member dentists from Chicago, go cubbies!

Getting Noticed in a Crowded Marketplace

row of mailboxes

Sometimes low-tech works best

A full day of continuing education is underway at the 27th New Dentist Conference. The Conference offers fresh perspectives from emerging speakers. This morning Dr. Tanner McKenna will present a course on coaching the dental team, and this afternoon Dr. Joshua Austin presents a course on social media and the dental practice.

Earlier this year ADA New Dentist News spoke with Dr. Austin about his experiences opening his solo practice during the recession. Even more challenging, he built his practice in San Antonio, a community that already had many dental offices.

One big surprise? Sometimes low-tech works best. Here’s how it appeared in ADA New Dentist News:

Dr. Austin targets younger patients and he doesn’t advertise in the Yellow Pages, assuming that his patients won’t search the phone book when looking for a dentist. But some older approaches have been effective — for instance, using direct mail to attract new patients. “I’m a technology guy, so I was skeptical that a mail campaign was for me,” he explains. “It’s not cheap when you consider the cost of a high quality mailing list and top-notch printed materials. But the investment paid off — I have a lot of families, a lot of good patients who found me as a result of that tactic.”

 What about you? How have you helped new patients find you? Leave your answer in the comments. Don’t forget to follow the conference at #NDC2013.

Social Media, Leadership & You

The ADA Practical Guide to Social Media PlanningRita Zamora just concluded the CE course Social Media, Leadership & You at the 27th New Dentist Conference. Earlier this year ADA New Dentist News spoke with Zamora about using social media in your dental practice. Here are three tips she gave ADA New Dentist News for upgrading your professional presence online:

Show, Don’t Say your Practice Values If marketing is an opportunity for you to say what your values are, then social media is the place to show those values. If one of your values is family-friendliness, then your social media presence should demonstrate your comfort with kids and awareness of the challenges parents face.

Social Media is Social Don’t be the bore at the party who talks about work the whole time. If you are fortunate enough to have a dog, a cat or a baby, you have some of the most popular ingredients for popular social media. If sharing those topics doesn’t work for you, you can post about training for a marathon, hand-tying your own flies for an upcoming fishing trip, or volunteering at a food bank. Like any conversation, it’s worth making the effort to navigate the space between “too impersonal” and “too much information.”

Not Dry, Not Drowning, Just Drip If you never update your social media, your online presence can grow dry and uninteresting. But posting too frequently can drown users in a sea of low-quality content. It’s best to drip out high-quality posts over time and reinforce a message of quality, not quantity.

Interested in learning more about using social media in a way that makes sense for your practice? Pick up The ADA Practical Guide to Social Media Planning. Learn how to use social media in a way that will engage potential and existing patients; make your practice more visible in a growing sea of online information and protect and further your professional reputation online.

How about you—do you have a plan for using social media to support your professional goals? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget to follow the conference at #NDC2013.