5 Communication Skills to Improve Employee Retention

As a practice owner, you know the key to an excellent patient experience is first establishing excellent communication with your team: making your intentions and expectations clear in person, in a group, and in writing. It is one of the best ways to retain your best team members, and it naturally flows into how patients are treated. 

Is it simple? Not always. Communication in the workplace is always a delicate matter. It needs to be deliberate and appropriate to the medium and the situation. As a dental educator and a business owner, I have learned that the intended message doesn’t always come through, so mastering all communication styles and mediums is to any leader’s advantage. Here are five tips for clear and effective communication.   

Communicate to be understood. Always strive to make your intention clear through your choice of words, volume, tone, and cadence.     

Master clear text communication. Email is the most used business communication medium: it’s quick and unobtrusive. It can also be misunderstood. When you’re juggling three other tasks and a team member fires off a question, it’s easy to resort to a terse reply that answers the question but might feel harsh or dismissive to the employee. If the issue can’t wait, take an extra moment and answer with care. 

Avoid one-word answers; add a promise to deliver a more detailed explanation later, and close with a thank you. Adding a few extra words can make a world of difference in the employee’s day. Finally, do not use all caps, exclamation marks, and emojis. They can be easily misconstrued and are just not businesslike.

Schedule regular face-to-face time. Huddles and team meetings are an essential part of team life, but they are no substitute for one-on-one interaction. Schedule check-ins with each team member regularly. That is your chance to listen with intention to concerns and to answer questions more thoughtfully. Face time is the best way to check for understanding and gain valuable feedback. It’s also important to listen more than you speak. Nonverbal cues are as important as what is said, and sometimes more.

Master your emotions. The leader in you knows how important it is to keep negative emotions in check, even as the human being in you is eager to let off steam. Always be mindful of how your message will be received. If you’re angry or frustrated, reschedule that team meeting or wait before hitting “send” on that email. Take deep breaths, take a short walk, or tackle another task until you feel in control. 

Never stop learning. Most of us think we are better communicators than we are in practice. Of course, for some people, effective speaking and writing do come naturally, but the other 99 percent of us have room to improve. 

With dedication and practice, you can be the communicator — and leader — your employees want to work with for the long term. 
For inspiration, watch effective speakers around you and on YouTube. Look for business writing resources on the Internet, and join our free private Facebook group, Dentistry’s Growing with Grace, to enrich your overall marketing and communication skills. For assistance with marketing your dental practice or to engage me as a motivational speaker, email grace@identitydental.com or fill out our contact form.

Why EQ is More Important than Ever in a Leader

You have probably heard about EQ, also known as emotional quotient or emotional intelligence, but might wonder how it stacks up to IQ (intelligence quotient) in business and, more importantly, how important it is to effective leadership. 

EQ is More Than a Buzzword

Emotional intelligence encompasses our awareness of our emotions, how well we control them, and how we express them. It is also our capacity to exercise empathy and good judgment in our interpersonal relationships. It impacts everything we do and everything we communicate to others.

We all know people like this. They are the ones who are always calm in chaos, who make people feel valued, who genuinely listen, who deescalate conflict with ease, and who deliver leadership with a calm assuredness.   

While it can’t be as easily quantified as IQ, emotional intelligence is clearly recognized as an asset in conducting business. This is how important EQ is: The World Economic Forum ranked it as one of the top ten most critical skill workers need for success. That is true regardless of IQ, profession, gender, or culture.

 Research by EQ experts published in Inc.com shows:

  • Emotional intelligence is responsible for 58 percent of work performance
  • Ninety percent of top performers are also high in EQ
  • People with higher EQ make an average of $29,000 more each year than those with low EQ
  • Those with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time

The Good News About EQ

Our IQ is predetermined; it stays pretty much the same throughout our lives. EQ can be developed. While some people have innate “people skills,” almost everyone can boost their EQ through self-reflection and practice. It is a matter of training your brain to adopt new habits. Here are five ways to start:

1. Observe how you react to other people and keep a journal.

2. Look at how you react to stress or chaos.

3. Before you act, examine how your actions will affect others.

4. Take responsibility for your own actions; resist the blame game.

In today’s competitive culture, cultivating emotional intelligence in the workplace is critical. For a dental office, that means handling frightened or difficult patients with equanimity. It means valuing each team member’s contributions. It means being kind to yourself and others.

Good Resources for Developing EQ

It is not difficult to develop your emotional smarts if you stay dedicated to it. The most widely read authorities of the subject include Travis Bradberry, Daniel Goleman, Jeanne Segal, and Justin Bariso. If you are a fan of daily affirmations, look for emotional intelligence aphorisms to put into your rotation. Consider professional EQ training as part of employee education and onboarding, and work to develop it within yourself. You and your team members will be better for it, and so will your bottom line.For help with marketing the qualities that set you apart, or to engage me as a motivational speaker, email grace@identitydental.com or fill out our contact form. For the latest dental marketing tips and inspiration, join our Facebook group, Dentistry’s Growing with Grace.

Best Dental Speaker | What’s More Important Than Money?

Video Link

Today I’d like to share a story that happened to a doctor I’ve known for a very long time and who I have a great deal of respect for.

Having been in practice for many years, this doctor was in the process of training an associate to take over the practice after their eventual retirement. The two had formed a strong connection and all seemed to be well for a long time. What my friend didn’t know was that their associate was secretly opening up their own practice down the street, catering to the same market, the same patients, and even bringing some team members with them. The rest of the team knew about the betrayal and even supported the other doctor by liking posts on Facebook and other seemingly minor actions.

Upon hearing this story, I simply couldn’t believe that it was true. The fact that someone could be that blatantly unethical was astonishing to me.

I know that some of you will shout from the rooftops, “That’s why we have non-compete contracts”, but shouldn’t we live in a world where people want to do the right thing, not because they have a contract telling them they have to, but simply because it’s right?

As I continued to think about this story, I realized that at its core, it is a situation that all of us will face at some point in our careers. As a business starts to gain traction, and everything seems to be going amazing, you’re going to face decisions that will determine who you are.

In those moments, you’re going to have to choose between making more money or doing the right thing.

For example:

Let’s say you consider making a recommendation to a patient who really doesn’t need the treatment, but you want to hit your numbers.

What do you think you’d do?

Let’s say your team has botched a service, resulting in more costly visits for the patient that should have been unnecessary.

Do you own up to the mistake?

Sometimes doing the right thing in situations such as these will cost you money. Sometimes it will cost you time. However, if instead, you choose to make money the deciding factor, the cost will be much more significant in my opinion.

That cost is going to be your ability to look yourself in the mirror at the end of your life and be happy with the person you’ve become. Choosing the money over what’s right once or twice, may not cost you your soul. You may even think you’ve “gotten away with it”. But gradually, the little decisions will pile up.

So, every time you face that decision – make a good choice. Not “good” in the sense that you think it’s best for your business, but “good” in the sense that it’s best for your soul. Surround yourself with people that have a high sense of integrity and know that when you do reflect back on the life you’ve lived, you’ll be proud of what you’ve accomplished and how you did so.

Ethicality has a pivotal role in my own business and life. If you want to talk about the choices you’re facing in your business, and whether or not they are the right ones, reach out. I may not be able to solve the problems you face, but I’ll offer guidance and support to help you conquer them.

Contact me at https://gracerizza.com/contact/.

Dental Marketing Speaker | How Are You Celebrating Your Wins?

Whether you’re running a single dental office or the entirety of a global enterprise like Amazon, there’s a focus on how we can improve and grow our businesses. This is one of the best parts about owning a company and I would never suggest you do otherwise. At my speaking events, in my business, and even in conversations with friends, I talk openly about the importance of embracing the need to improve. Considering how we can be better is a great way to induce change and create a stronger business.

However, the “too-much-of-a-good-thing” rule applies here. When we focus solely on “fixing” our business, there is no time left for celebrating our wins.

It can be challenging to focus on the good when you’re overwhelmed by your business, worried about your patients or your schedule. But taking the time to stop and celebrate is critical.

When your team only hears from you when things are stressful or wrong, they never see the other side. Ignoring the wins can be not only demoralizing for your team, but can also sabotage your long term success. If you’re not consistently celebrating the good, you may be creating an atmosphere that people neither want to work for or with.

Today, make the conscious effort to celebrate a win. Ask yourself, “what is worth celebrating in my business and how are we going to do so?”

  • Did you recently have a larger number of five-star reviews than usual?
  • Have you received a large number of patient referrals?
  • Did you go for a week with no missed or canceled appointments?
  • Did a particular department meet a set of goals you had created?
  • Have you met or beaten certain benchmarks of the industry?

Know that these celebrations aren’t just “nice”. If you want to improve your team, your practice, and yourself it is absolutely necessary.

With this knowledge, I challenge you to celebrate at least one win in your practice today. Think about what your team has been doing well and celebrate. For this first time, the how and the why aren’t nearly as important as simply making the effort. See how your team reacts and let us know if it helps create a happier and more productive work atmosphere.

In the meantime, if you want to more useful business management tips, or want to get started on a marketing plan for your practice, contact me to learn how you can book me for your next speaking event. https://gracerizza.com/contact/

Video Link:

https://www.facebook.com/gracerizza/videos/10102670433451954/

Dental Speaker | Let’s Talk About Why Most Business Owners Never Grow Beyond the $1 Million Mark

No one is born being a fantastic business leader. You either enjoy it and do your best to learn more, or you don’t. Despite this fact, I often hear dentists claim that they are “bad at business” when the reality is they are only holding themselves back.

So, what’s holding you back from finding success? What’s stopping you from not only reaching that $1 million mark but surging past it on your way to greater things? In all the time I’ve spent in the dental community I’ve noticed a commonality between those who realize their potential for growth and those who do not.

The doctors that do the best and continue to grow past the one million mark are the ones that are willing to take risks.

Different Kinds of Risk

When I talk to those who are hesitant to take risks on anything, I tell them that there is an inherent risk in every aspect of life, whether they realize it or not.

There’s risk in hiring and there’s risk in firing. Investing in your marketing, your advisors, or a dental CPA are all risks too. Even becoming a dentist was a risk.

While those financial risks are a major factor, there’s also the risk that comes with being known. Many don’t want to market their business and grow because they don’t want to be exposed to a larger world. They don’t want to risk that someone might not like them. To that, I say – are you really going to let the rest of the world determine your success?

What if You’re Happy With Where You’re At?

When I talk to a doctor or another practice leader for the first time there is always a great deal of pride surrounding the fact that they’ve only grown their business by word of mouth. While I can appreciate the sentiment, to me it’s an indicator that they just haven’t yet figured out how to leverage marketing effectively. It also shows that they may not be willing to take the necessary risks to grow beyond their natural growth rate.

This is not to say that leading a successful dental practice is as easy as saying yes to risk. In fact, I truly believe that building success in dentistry is an extremely difficult pursuit. Not only are you trying to grow a business, but you are responsible for leading your teams and treating patients. You truly are the “Chief Everything Officer”.

You’ve worked hard to build the success you have, and putting that success on the line is not an easy task. However, if you find yourself constantly avoiding risk in the interest of saving your practice ask yourself this:

What is all that saving costing you?

If, after reading this blog, you think it’s time to take a risk and do something different, you can contact our dental marketing team about setting up an event. My programs discuss marketing plans that will get you started on growing past that one million dollar mark and talk about you and your business as a whole.

https://gracerizza.com/

VIDEO LINK: https://www.facebook.com/gracerizza/videos/10102669342902424/

Top Dental Marketing Speaker | The First Three Steps You Can Take For Your Perfect Dental Marketing Plan for 2020

Top Dental Marketing Speaker

As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time for many of us to look towards the new year and begin planning for our growth in the new year. To help you get started, I’ve outlined the first 3 steps of my 13 step guide to creating a marketing plan that can take your practice to the next level. It will be easy to rush through these, but it’s worth taking the time to really consider what you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it. If, after reading this blog, you want to continue on with the next 10 steps, all you have to do is join our free Facebook group, Dental Marketing With Grace at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DentalMarketingWithGrace/ and watch the video where I explain each step in detail. For now though, let’s get started.

Step 1:

It’s hard to get to where you’re going without knowing where you’ve been, especially when it comes to marketing your practice. To help you better understand your current situation, you should first evaluate your current new patient flow.

How many new patients do you see, on average, per month? How have they changed throughout the year? Where are these patients coming from?

If your numbers aren’t as high as you’d like them to be, that’s ok. It’s better to know. Accordingly, you can target your marketing campaign to help you see improvements in the necessary areas. When you understand your needs, you can then begin to think about how many new patients you can honestly accommodate and build your marketing plan around those numbers.

Maybe for your practice, you have the numbers, but you’re not seeing as many big cases as you would like. Think about the cases you want to specifically target and how many of these cases you’d like to see. Painting this picture for yourself allows you to identify your goals in a concrete way, then structure your plan around them.

Step 2:

What’s special about you? Some may think there’s nothing special and others may have a hard time picking just one. If you’re struggling with the former, consider why your patients are loyal to you and why they refer their friends and family to you.

When generating ideas for your special quality, take a look at what dentists in your area are saying about themselves. If all the general dentists are referring to their care as “gentle”, you won’t want to do the same. You’ll need to find something that differentiates you while remaining true to who you are. This differentiator will be the underlying tone for all your marketing.

Once you figure out what that is, it’s important that your whole team knows and understands why it’s so important to your brand. They’ll be able to bring this quality to all their patient interactions until it becomes a part of the practice culture you develop over time.

Step 3:

Many dentists still feel uncomfortable about marketing their practices and themselves. What we can tell you is that your patients and your community want (and expect) you to market.

People want to be able to engage with you and hear from you. A better way to think of your marketing is to understand the purpose behind it.

If not you, then whose responsibility is it to educate the community about oral health? Take this mission upon yourself and create a reputation of care for your entire community. Embracing your marketing in this way is both a positive experience for both your community and your practice.

To accomplish the third step in creating your 2020 marketing plan, write down 5 things that you want your community to know about oral health. If you’re a pediatric dentist, you could discuss how you help infants receive proper nutrition. If you’re proud of your technology, you can educate your patients on the benefits of your favorite gadgets. Even the relationships you have with your patients can be shared with the wider community.

With these ideas in place, it’s easy to create custom educational pieces that get your face, your name, and your brand well known in the community.

If you need help with any of these first three steps, my team and I are here to assist you. Just schedule a complimentary marketing planning session at https://identitydental.com/cmps/ and talk to me about your practice and your goals. If you want to continue your plan on your own, join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DentalMarketingWithGrace/ and follow along with the rest of my video lesson.

(847) 629-4646

https://gracerizza.com/

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?

It’s morning! In those few moments before your alarm clock goes off, before the sun rises just above the horizon and you are nestled under the covers, snoring away in blissful ignorance, the whole world holds its breath in anticipation for the start of the day. Truly a picture perfect scene of peace.

Unfortunately, it’s all about to come to an end. There’s something waiting for you, lurking all around, ready to spring when you open your eyes. What is it?Decisions.

From the moment your alarm clock goes off to the moment your head hits the pillow again at night, you are bombarded with the daily decisions that dictate your life.

Should you hit the snooze button or roll up and out of bed? If you’re like me, you’ll also have to decide whether you want to hit that snooze button a second time. Maybe even a third. When you finally decide it’s time to wake up, do you immediately check your phone or wait until later? Do you check your text messages? Your email? Facebook? Which requests need immediate responses? How should you respond? When should you finally put the phone down and get started on the rest of the day?

Already, you’ve made more decisions than you can probably count and you haven’t even gotten out of bed yet.

As the leader of your practice, the CEO, or whichever title you prefer, decision-making is quite literally a part of your job description. It’s likely that as your day continues, the number of decisions you’ll have to make is only going to increase exponentially. When those decisions pile up, your brain gets tired of making them: a phenomenon known as decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue hinders your ability to make decisions that are really important to you and your business, like, should you have another child? How do you tell an employee that they’re not a fit for your business? Should you open a second location? The bigger the decision, the more you’ll struggle with it, because you’ll know that the consequences are going to be far reaching and life changing. Grappling with those consequences only increases the difficulty of making the final decision, paralyzing us from making them at all.

So how do you overcome the issue of decision fatigue and remove the fear from decision making?

The truth is, you probably won’t be able to. At least not completely. Making a decision without knowing what will happen will likely always be a stressful endeavor. However, there are a few ways you can mitigate the effects.

First, don’t be afraid to delegate and regulate. If you’ve built a strong team, chances are you trust at least a few of your employees to make the day to day decisions for the business. Not everything will need to get cleared by you before it happens. This action can keep you focused on only the most important decisions, helping you make better judgement calls when the time comes.

If you already take those steps, but still struggle to make those big decisions, you’re not alone. When that mental block of anxiety or uncertainty happens, I like to return to what’s important – my reasons for starting my business.

For you, this may be your desire to improve people’s lives, or your commitment to patient care.

If your focus is something like creating the best possible patient experience, don’t just write it on your website, or above the door. Prove it. The core values that you created when you first thought of owning a practice should be the same values you use to make your decisions.

If your debating about whether to add another doctor or location to your practice, think about how it will affect your patients. Will the quality of care suffer or will you be able to provide great dentistry to even more people? Those answers are unique to your circumstances and will be able to tell you if it’s worth the risk.

Sometimes however, the biggest decisions require a little help from an expert. When it comes to your marketing or strategies for growth, that’s something that we can help you with. If you’re looking for extra help with those important decisions, schedule a complimentary marketing planning session at https://identitydental.com/cmps/ and talk to me about what concerns you have. We can work through them together, and find a solution that fits your needs.

Dental Speaker | The Recipe For Successful Relationships: 1 Part Integrity, 1 Part Openness, 1 Part Trust

Have you ever met someone who is incapable of admitting when they made a mistake? Whether it is from fear of punishment, or a simple unwillingness to believe that they could be wrong, this inability to apologize is a serious hindrance on your business growth.

No one likes to mess up and admitting when you made a mistake can be difficult. However, doing so demonstrates an invaluable quality for any employee, or for that matter, any person to have: a strong commitment to integrity.

Integrity is the foundation of true growth and success. When someone possesses integrity, it allows you to depend upon them to get the job done, correctly and completely. That level of trust allows your business to do more and operate more efficiently.

Like any house, your relationships are built upon a foundation of integrity. When someone fails to honor a commitment, or doesn’t own up to their mistakes, it’s like taking a hammer and chipping away at the foundation you’ve established, bit by bit.

No, the house won’t fall immediately with a few chips in the foundation, but if these chips continue to occur over a long time, there will eventually, and inevitably, be a destructive failure.

Similes aside, the little promises we make to people throughout our day can add up. Whether this is in employee exchanges, a business partnership, or a marriage, all of your relationships are built upon your ability to trust that the little promises people make to you will be honored. If they are not, then you should also be able to trust that the person will be open and honest in their communication about their failures.

When looking at your own team, make a conscious effort to gauge the level of trust you have in each person. Who are the people you trust to see things through? Who are the people who could use some time to develop into a more dependable person?

Determining these answers is a big step to ensuring your team is a powerful and cohesive unit. When you count on your employees, you can delegate more responsibilities, freeing up your time to work on big picture business growth ideas. If any member of your team seems to be incapable of moving up on that meter, it may be a sign that they are not a fit. 

As a business owner herself, Grace brings her knowledge in management and team creation to speaking engagements across the country. Helping dentists build more successful practices is one of her greatest passions, and she is ready to help you find success of your own. Learn about her presentations for both single practice and multi-practice organizations at https://gracerizza.com/.

Dental Speaker Grace Rizza | My Philosophy on Photography of Slides

Dental Marketing Presenter

In recent weeks, on Facebook, the issue of whether or not you should allow your audience to photograph your slides has come up. I see no problem in it. Of course, there’s always going to be at least one troll in the audience who thinks he or she can deliver your exact content.

In my opinion, a great speaker is not made only with interesting content. Great speakers have mastered their confidence in body language, their own personal flair, as well as the content shared. A great speaker can think on her toes and move an audience to action through story, examples, hard facts and stats.

There’s much more to a person than the images on his or her slides. So to those wanting to remember what I said and want the visual aid to accompany the information, I say, “Snap away!”

My only request is that you publicly share the photos so that others can also learn from the information shared during my presentation. The more lives we can touch, the better.

Educate, empower, entertain your audience with Grace Rizza.

Grace Rizza Dental Speaker | Communicate with Confidence and Concern

Nearly a decade ago, I worked in a dental practice for almost 2 years. I recall the unique experience of teaching the team basic sales verbal skills. I was shocked at how the dental team was repulsed by the word “sell”. To navigate this roadblock, I came up with a presentation titled: “Communicating with Confidence and Concern”.

The entire 90-minute presentation involved examples of communication I had witnessed. I boldly quoted team members and doctors and explained how their words were likely interpreted by the general public (patients).

The 3 C’s approach (Communicating with Confidence and Concern) was implemented and things began to change. Not only were sales a focus, but the commitment to the patient’s needs and desires became the forefront. The team learned how to endorse and support each other, creating a very high level of trust with the patient, which was very much deserved.

In sales, we’re always dealing with a transfer of emotion. Whether you are “selling” the patient on the important of his oral health or he is “selling” you on the importance of his money, selling is taking place. Simply put, selling is the transfer of emotion. If your team does not communicate with confidence AND concern, they are missing out on an opportunity to enrich the lives of your patients.

For more information on Grace Rizza or her availability to speak to your group, contact us. 

What People Are Saying

John Chatham Testimonial

After attending Grace’s seminar I immediately thought, ‘finally somebody who understands marketing dental practices and how to effectively attract and retain new patients.'

John A. Chatham, III Henry Schein, Inc. VP Global Sales Leadership & Development June 15, 2016

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