Simple steps to improve your dental practice's morning meeting

June 4, 2015

People love to complain about meetings - that there are too many of them, they’re too long, nothing’s accomplished, and so on. But they serve a vital purpose in any organization, including your practice. And if you and your team follow certain ground rules, your staff meetings will be highly productive and efficient. To make the most of meetings in your office, start with the ones that should be happening every day, first thing in the morning.

People love to complain about meetings - that there are too many of them, they’re too long, nothing’s accomplished, and so on. But they serve a vital purpose in any organization, including your practice. And if you and your team follow certain ground rules, your staff meetings will be highly productive and efficient. To make the most of meetings in your office, start with the ones that should be happening every day, first thing in the morning.

The Daily Business Review™

Known in some offices as the “morning huddle,” this meeting should prepare the team for the day ahead - patients coming in, case presentations planned, tight spots or slack in the schedule, possible challenges, etc. Ideally, it results in greater efficiency, more production, less stress, and no surprises. Levin Group instructs our management consulting clients to follow these guidelines:

Start on time. To establish the meeting habit, be strict about when you begin. No delays are allowed because this will result in skipping over important agenda items or keeping the first patients waiting.

What are the 7 most annoying things about your practice's waiting room? Find out here.

Limit it to 10-15 minutes. Leave no room for chatting or sidetracks in this meeting. Keep it tight and productive.

Check for messages only before or after the meeting. Quickly scan phone, text, and e-mail messages before you start. Allow no cell phone use during the meeting. If the practice phone rings (before office hours), let it take a message. The recording should inform the caller that messages will be checked as soon as the office opens.

Meet away from the front desk or other distractions. Meet somewhere in the back, where a ringing phone or patient at the door will not interfere with the business at hand. If you leave your entry door unlocked while meeting to allow early arrivals to come in and get comfortable, put a simple explanatory sign on the front desk.

Use a written agenda. Make sure you cover all important subjects by following a set agenda ... and following it strictly. Pair each agenda item with the name of the team member who will address it.

Designate a meeting leader. Someone (preferably not you) should run the meeting, keeping everyone on track and moving quickly through the agenda.

Reserve bigger subjects for monthly or special meetings. When issues come up that require fuller discussion, brainstorming or detailed presentations, you can’t do them justice during your Daily Business Reviews. Subjects such as systems evaluation, progress toward the practice vision, new marketing initiatives, and other aspects of practice operation deserve careful attention. These agenda items, as well as training sessions and other time-consuming team activities, belong on the agendas for longer meetings.

More from Dr. Levin: How to energize your dental practice

As the practice leader, you need to ensure that the members of your team start every day with the information and motivation to help them handle their responsibilities efficiently. By establishing these sensible, proven ground rules for your Daily Business Review, you’ll be giving staff members something to strive for rather than something to complain about. In other words, a good morning meeting makes for a good day.

For expert advice about other operational improvements that will lead to greater practice success, consider a No-Cost Practice Diagnosis… a free consultation with a Certified Practice Analyst… to assess and increase practice production, only from Levin Group.

Editor's Note: Photo is "Sonnenaufgang" by André Karwath aka Aka - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons