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/.

Why Transparency Is So Important To Your Business

Recently, I had some unexpected time on my hands and thought I’d check out the corporate optometrist near me. I was curious what kind of shenanigans I’d get to witness. After seeing specials for $35 eye exam, I didn’t have much to lose. Of course the exam was next to nothing and the eyeglass section was abundant. Since they were 15 minutes late for my appointment (no biggie), I picked out my glasses before my exam.

The process was smooth, the doctor was very nice. All was well.

I picked out frames that were $190 and on sale 40% off. I went to pay it was just shy of $400. I paused, asked again the cost of the glasses and then again asked the cost of the exam. She said the glasses and exam were on sale. Now the basic exam was $50 (not the same as the sign outside) and the glasses were on sale from $190. I then asked to see an itemized breakdown. I’m no mathematician but $190 + $50 doesn’t equal $400. It equals something less than that. 😂

It was all digital and presented on an iPad. The descriptions of items were not things I recognized. I noticed the $300 coating on the lens and said “well we can definitely remove that”. The price didn’t change much. Everything else just adjusted its price to equal almost $400 again. Again, I’m not a mathematician but $400- $300 isn’t $400. I was then given a discount for having medical insurance (Weird! Especially since it didn’t include vision.)

Now my price was down to around $350. The math still wasn’t clear. I decided to take my now $59 exam and leave. I said, “this pricing just doesn’t make sense and I’ll have to take the prescription and move on.”

After I paid, in a last-ditch effort to sell me the glasses the woman said, “just so you know, the price of the frames is $190. The lens’ are not included in that price.” Now I know anti-glare coating and some other options cost money— but this was just crazy.

There was a lot of clever and somewhat sneaky things happening in that optometrist’s office that day and I know it’s very similar to how some dental offices operate. While I’m sure that some people may go along with the trick and get taken advantage of, I have to believe that most people would take the same course of action that I took. What could’ve been a higher sale and perhaps even a loyal customer, turned into much less because of their attempt to pull one over on me.

The same lesson goes for your dental practice. If you’re willing to lie and offer anything just to get patients in the door, you’ll lose something more valuable than business. You’ll lose your reputation and you’ll lose the trust of your patients.

Transparency, honesty, or even just being a decent human being are critical components of your business. Without them, there’s simply no way you’re going to experience continual growth and success. While it hopefully seems like common sense to most of you, I’ll reiterate for those who rely on false advertising – patients go to health professionals that they trust more readily and more frequently than they will ever go to someone who lies to them.

Later that same day, I took my prescription to a website called Zenni Optical and purchased SIX pairs of glasses for under $200. It wasn’t that I was unwilling to spend. It was that I was unwilling to spend with a company that wasn’t transparent. Your patients are going to be the same way.

If you want to work with a marketing company that places the same emphasis on integrity and transparency as you do, contact Identity Dental Marketing. We’ve been helping dentists create honest, ethical, and effective marketing for over 10 years and we can help you do the same. Schedule your complimentary marketing planning session with me online at https://identitydental.com/cmps/ and let’s have a conversation about you, your goals, and your transparency.

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. 

Dental Marketing Speaker Grace Rizza | Track New Patients to Track Success

Marketing Speaker

It is important that you have a system in place for keeping track of new patient referrals. Doing so not only makes it easier to report to your marketing consultant or practice management coach, but it also provides a way to measure your progress.

You can create a simple report that tracks the following:

  • New Patients from the Internet
  • New Patients from Patient Referrals
  • New Patients from Direct Mail
  • Number of New Patient Calls
  • Number of New Patients Seen

Train your front office team members to ask new patients how they heard about you each and every time. Recording this data can be a valuable tool to measure how your marketing efforts are progressing. If a direct mail campaign is successful, consider replicating elements of it in the future. If a direct mail campaign yields no new patients, invest your marketing budget in another way.

Having a database of new patient contacts can also be an excellent source for creating follow-up communications. If a particular patient is an excellent referral source, send a personalized thank you note and make them aware how appreciative you are for their help. You can create an email newsletter or direct mail flyer using only the names of interested new patients. You can tailor your message to these new patients in a way that will make them want to come back to your practice as a regular patient.

Keeping track of the sources of your new patients will make it easier to make marketing decisions in the future. It will also be an excellent source of information for your marketing consultant or practice management coach.

For any questions, comments, or concerns please contact us. 

Grace Rizza Dental Speaker | How Not to Upset Your Followers

Today, I am going to give you a couple of tips on how to not upset your followers on Facebook.

Tip 1: When broadcasting video, make sure you speak at an appropriate pace. When people talk too slowly, it loses the interest of their audience. Be sure to speak at an appropriate pace so that people want to keep watching to hear what you are going to say next.

Tip 2: Watch your use of “um.” It’s a very bad habit for a lot of people and it quickly turns off your audience.

Tip 3: Don’t private message a large group of people with your marketing agenda. No one likes to hear their phone ping for a conversation that they didn’t electively join.

Tip 4: Don’t tag people that you barely know just to leverage their exposure and get your message out. It’s a bit selfish and it can get annoying for them to be included in all the interaction on your post with people they probably don’t know.

When you’re thinking about your social media presence, simply treat people the way that you’d like to be treated. If you really want to gain a following, if you really want to make an impression then put out content that interests, engages, and helps people in some way.

Dental Speaker Grace Rizza | Learning to Let It Bounce Off

Today I’d like to talk about a concept that I call “Letting it Bounce Off.” This is one of the most important strategies that I’ve learned in business to keep me strong, on track, and focused on leading my team and my clients to success.

As your success continues to improve and people start to learn what you’re doing differently, you’ll see some people start to get “scrappy.” The truth is that you are your only competition. However, people who think they are your competition can sometimes do unethical things. We’ve all been victim to this at some point in our lives. Maybe you let an employee go and they wrote a bad review on Google while posing as a patient, or you had someone move in down the street and use a very similar business name to try and capitalize on your following and your brand. I hear these stories all the time, and I’ve got the solution for you: stay focused on you.

You need to stay focused on your brand and your mission, and you need to let these things bounce off. If someone is doing something illegal or actually lying to your clients or patients, you definitely should consider getting the advice of an attorney. However, don’t let it consume you, don’t let it drag you down, and don’t let ruin your day. Don’t even let it ruin a minute! Just let it bounce off. Once you embrace the fact that nothing in life is personal and everyone is just doing the best that they can, you can really harness this strategy. It will make you a stronger parent, friend, spouse, business leader, and a better person in general. So remember, what others say about you is none of your business, and when the competition starts to get “scrappy,” just take it as a compliment.

Dental Presenter Grace Rizza | 3 Ways to Buy Time

Dental Presenter

Dental Presenter

Time is your most precious resource. On certain days, managing your time is not just difficult, it is downright impossible. Ask yourself about the strategies you are currently using to organize your day. What other tools could you be leveraging to save your practice’s most precious commodity? Here are 3 methods you can implement to maximize your time.

  1. Re-evaluate Your Management Tactics

You can buy time without spending a dime. Employ a new way of keeping track of practice productivity. You can have your team record their tasks for the day in a quick email. Each staff member can quantitatively list their duties, allowing for simple reference later. This cuts down on micromanaging your staff by way of asking, “What did you do today?” Managerial work is difficult to implement after a full day of back-to-back appointments.

You can cut back on daily meetings because you will have a clear picture of what each team member is contributing. Having a list of completed tasks at the end of the day allows for everyone at your practice to be keenly aware of who is to be held accountable for each task.

  1. Utilize Apps to Maximize Efficiency

“Lost time is never found again.” Ben Franklin knew this more than 200 years ago, so how can you apply this knowledge to running your practice? There are numerous tools available for your phone that can be a valuable resource for keeping track of your practice. You can benefit from the use of efficiency apps. In today’s world, there is no need to manage all aspects of your business manually.

Take advantage of scheduling apps and software. You can schedule emails to remind patients to book their next visit to your office without having to send it in real time. This can be an indispensable tool for patient retention, by keeping you in consistent contact with your patients. Apps such as these will help you save time, and keep track of your practice’s performance.

  1. Consider Express Check-In

It is not always your team that is responsible for lost time slipping through your fingers. One late patient can set the whole day off-schedule. Make it easy for your patients to register. Provide compliant forms online for patients to fill out before coming into the office. Saving time at the front desk will help your entire practice run on schedule. Never allow for your practice to earn a reputation of running behind schedule, instead work with your patients to create a smoother, faster registration. Your patients will not want to fill out redundant forms. Rework any documents or forms where possible to prevent your patients from filling out information such as their name and address multiple times.

Successful business leaders are experts at time management. Put methods in place that allow for concrete, quantitative results to measure productivity. Utilize technology to make your life easier and allow your patients to work with you to save time. Don’t get caught watching the sand fall through the timer, take action and rethink your time management strategies.

For more information, contact us today.

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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