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Giving Instructions Without Being Rude or Wimpy

mentoring

Giving instructions can be a challenge

Asking others to do something feels tricky sometimes. It can be easier when there is a clear line of authority, such as when you are the owner and you are addressing an employee, but what about a situation where you might work with a dental team member without being the boss? Or when you are asking someone who is a peer or a colleague to do something?

It can be easy to veer between the demanding I need you to do this (somewhat dictatorial) and the lame It would be great if you would do this (somewhat passive-aggressive).

In the book How to Wow, communications expert Frances Cole Jones suggests the phrase My request is…

For instance:

  • My request is that this project be completed before Monday
  • My request is for a location that offers free parking
  • My request is to mark all requests for vacation time on the shared calendar

The beauty of “My request is,” notes Jones is that it leaves people in no doubt that a request has been made of them by you, but because you haven’t used the “I/you” combination, you avoid their feeling overwhelmed or beleaguered.

What about you—are there any phrases that you’ve found useful when giving instructions? Share your answers in the comments.

Finding a Job — What Questions Should You Ask During the Interview?

open mouthWhen you are looking for an employment opportunity, remember that the job interview is a two-way street, with both parties assessing each other.

Dr. Ryan Dulde has put together a list of 30 Interview Questions for Finding the Right Fit. It’s worth checking out the entire list — Dr. Dulde not only suggests the questions, but often explains the underlying information you hope to learn by asking a particular question in the first place.

Here’s one that grabbed our attention:

To what extent do you expect an associate to be engaged in marketing in the community, volunteering, etc.? What is expected from an associate in terms of representing the practice? Be sure to ask yourself this too! How much time outside of the 8-5, if any, are you prepared to contribute to grow the practice …even as an employee?

Is there any question that you asked (or didn’t ask) that made a difference when assessing a job opportunity? Let us know in the comments.

Responding to Patient Comments Online

The ADA Practical Guide to Social Media PlanningSocial media provides a way for you to interact with patients, and it also provides patients with an outlet to comment on the services they receive.

The ADA Practical Guide to Social Media Planning recommends that you monitor any conversation online and aim to respond to comments when appropriate, remembering that not every comment requires a response. From the Guide:

To help determine if you should respond, ask yourself questions like:

  • Is there any value in responding?
  • Do I look uncaring if I don’t respond?
  • Is there anything positive I can say?
  • Can one response address several comments posted?
  • Who commented and do they have a large following online?
  • Does the comment or review show up prominently in search results?

The Guide also points out that Federal and state privacy laws, including HIPAA, apply to online conversations. Here’s the Guide again:

If you can only answer a question by disclosing health information, take the conversation off-line by posting something like, “I can help you with that. Is it okay if I look in your file and give you a call?” Or “Please call my office around 2 p.m. today, and I’d be happy to discuss that with you.” Then, after the call has been made, be sure to close the loop online with a post that reads something like, “Good to talk with you this afternoon. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.” This illustrates to the rest of your audience that you’ve responded.

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.

Have a comment about commenting? Be sure to share it in the comments!

Bounce Back after Time off

luggage

Am I forgetting anything?

Here’s hoping you had a great long weekend. While we never turn down a day off of work, sometimes extra time away can make it hard to get back into the swing of things.

If that sounds familiar, WikiHow has a list of suggestions for how to overcome the post-vacation blues. One tip involves incorporating some lessons from vacation into everyday life. Here’s one that stuck out for us:

Using the cellphone and the internet a lot less. When you’re traveling, cell phone and internet use soon turn into a case of using it only to keep people informed and to check that nothing untoward has happened. Apart from that, you’re usually not constantly talking or surfing for the sake of it; instead, you’re experiencing the rest of life.

If you are still in the mood for self-improvement, Lifehacker suggests that you use the time after a vacation to evaluate your packing list to reduce the likelihood of over-packing the next time.

Learn How to Spin a Toothbrush on Your Finger

It’s almost time for a three-day weekend and, to be honest, we are having difficulty focusing on anything too demanding.

The folks at Boing Boing have tracked down a video that does just what the title says — it teaches you how to spin a toothbrush on your finger. Be forewarned this video is not in English but that is unlikely to get in the way of your appreciation.

We would say more about this but the toothbrush keeps falling off while we type, so we are just going to leave this here.

Follow the New Dentist Track

Follow the New Dentist Track at Annual Session

Follow the New Dentist Track at Annual Session

Let’s face it—planning your CE courses at ADA Annual Session can be a little daunting with over 300 lectures and interactive learning events to choose from. Where do you start?

May we suggest the New Dentist Track? These 21 courses were selected in consultation with the ADA New Dentist Committee, and they cover both clinical and practice management topics.

One course in the track is Here’s How I Did It: Real Talk from New Dentists in Private Practice (Course Code: 5317), a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Chris Salierno. This open-forum course focuses on practice management for the new dentist. Audience members will submit questions from the floor. The course addresses practice management topics such as operations, financial management, marketing and human resources.

Important All courses – even free ones, like Here’s How I Did It – are ticketed and must be reserved through the registration system. Join the conversation; register today.

Leadership: What they don’t teach you in dental school (Part two)

Dr. Jonathan Ford

Dr. Jonathan Ford

By Dr. Jonathan Ford

I recently attended the ADA New Dentist Conference in Denver. The conference had a great mix of continuing education for the young dentist, including a special emphasis on leadership development. Here is part two of the leadership skills that I learned at the ADA New Dentist Conference—read part one here.

 1.     Have fun! One of my patients is my English high school teacher. During each of our visits, he always asks me if I have fun being a dentist. He always says, “If you have fun doing what you get paid to do, you will never work a day in your life.”

While dentistry isn’t always birthday cake and ice cream, it can be fun most of the time. This theme repeatedly showed itself at the conference. If you can foster a fun environment, you also create a “want-to” instead of a “have-to” environment. This will help you attract and maintain a great staff. If you can make someone laugh during a root canal on #15 or an extraction of #16, it will create a more accepting patient base and attract a dynamic group of patients. People want to be in a fun environment. As one of the speakers stated, “Ultimately, life is about having the most fun possible before you die.”

2.     Recharge your own batteries As a dentist, you are definitely responsible for the margins on the crown you just cemented and how tight the contact is on #14-DO. In addition, you are probably the chief operating officer when the dental chair breaks down in room one. You are the chief technology officer, when the computer in room two doesn’t turn on. You are the chief customer relations officer when a patient complains, believing their co-pay is incorrect.

You are ultimately responsible for everything in your dental office and that includes yourself; therefore, you need to set time aside for you. It can be exercise like running or yoga. It can be meditation or writing in a journal. Do whatever it is that helps you recharge yourself relax.

Additionally, take time off. My wife and I have an agreement that we must plan our next vacation before we take our current vacation. It gives us something to look forward to upon our return and it helps to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I hope this gives you some insight into the ADA New Dentist Conference, and also gives you some ideas on how to better yourself and lead a successful dental practice. Hopefully, I will see you next year at the ADA New Dentist Conference in Kansas City, Missouri July 17-19, 2014.

***

Dr. Jonathan Ford is a general dentist in Huntington Beach, California. He served as the New Dentist Co-Chair for the Orange County Dental Society in 2011 and 2012. He currently serves on the Council for Endorsed Programs for the California Dental Association. You can reach him by emailing him at drjonathan@fordentalgroup.com.

Use Visualization the Correct Way in order to Build a New Habit

meditate

Use visualization to build a new habit

Perhaps you’ve heard the advice that a good way to increase your likelihood of success is to visualize yourself succeeding. Sure it’s fun to fantasize about winning that award or fitting into those skinny jeans, but is that really increasing your effectiveness at meeting those goals?

Over at the 99u blog, Gregory Ciotti wrote about the role of visualization in building habits that stick. Turns out that fantasizing about results is not very helpful, but visualizing the steps necessary to get those results can make a difference:

Researchers found that those participants who engaged in visualizations that included the process of what needed to be done to achieve the goal (ex: fantasizing about learning another language, by visualizing themselves practicing every day after work) were more likely to stay consistent than their peers (that visualized themselves speaking French on a trip to Paris). The visualization process worked for two reasons:

  • Planning: visualizing the process helped focus attention on the steps needed to reach the goal.
  • Emotion: visualization of individual steps led to reduced anxiety.

 We think a lot about developing habits, especially those that can help patients improve their oral health. Have you had success with coaching patients to adopt healthy habits? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

Dentistry and (the Dentist’s) Discomfort—Ergonomics

back or neck pain?

Back or neck pain?

According to data collected at the ADA Health Screening Program at the 2012 Annual Session in San Francisco, 70 percent of dentists and dental team members examined reported neck or back pain. That’s not too surprising considering the positions many dentists adopt when working.

Ergonomics is the science of the physical relationship between you and your environment. It means that you adapt tools and procedures to fit you, rather than adapting yourself to fit the environment. The ADA has a number of tip sheets that suggest ergonomic adaptations to help you implement these approaches.

Looking for more ergonomics resources? Check out the Conference on Dentist Health and Well-Being taking place at the ADA Headquarters in Chicago September 19-20. Conference attendees can attend ergonomics workshops and meet one-on-one with physical therapists.

Make the Most out of Your New Orleans Experience

The New Dentist's Guide to the ADA Annual Session Make the most of your experience at the ADA Annual Session October 31-November 3, 2013 in New Orleans. Download this two page PDF that highlights everything you need to get the most from your Annual Session experience:

 Download The New Dentist’s Guide to the ADA Annual Session (PDF)

Haven’t registered yet? Advance registration deadline is Friday, September 20 at 5 p.m. CDT. Register Now.

Not attending this year? Visit ADA 365, the online extension of the Annual Session. Through ADA 365 the ADA will offer live streaming of a variety of Annual Session courses and give you a taste of what attendees experience on-site.