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.

Grace Rizza Dental Speaker | Why You Shouldn’t Ask For Loyalty From Your Employees

Recently I made a post asking the dentists who make up the Facebook group “Dental Marketing with Grace” if they could list only one main core value. The post generated excellent engagement and many members listed values that I easily agreed with and understood. 

When someone mentioned “loyalty”, my thoughts quickly oscillated between “that’s a good one! It’d be amazing to know my team is loyal to the business!” To “wait, no. That really shouldn’t be the core value of any organization.” 

Let me dive into this concept in a way that will hopefully challenge thinking. 

According to Webster Merriam Dictionary, loyalty is defined as: ‘unswerving in allegiance’.

This is where I’m challenged. See, loyalty is a big word. It’s what you promise when getting married. There’s an infinite timeline on loyalty. Can a person truly give full loyalty to a business? Perhaps. Should they? No. One’s loyalty to a business shouldn’t come before their loyalty to their own personal needs and the needs of their family. 

Should a person stay with a company or employer even if the position no longer serves their family’s needs? Absolutely not. Employees can serve a business with the intention to be a long term part of the team, but should a person commit to a lifetime of loyalty to a business? Yes, but with the contingency that it continues to serve their needs. 

I’m not implying that when the going gets tough, people should leave without first attempting to overcome a challenging situation. I’m also not implying that people should job hop or be in a state of constantly seeking the next best thing. That won’t serve them well in the long term of their career. A career should serve you, as much as you serve it. Work should be fulfilling and should be something to look forward to. It should allow you to grow professionally and personally. It should allow you to be surrounded by caring and honest people. It should contribute to your life. If it stops serving you, take the next steps to a better future. 

You have one life. 

Instead of calling this core value ‘loyalty’, it should be referenced as ‘dedication’. You can be dedicated to your team without committing to loyalty, which is unwavering. If you see a practice or methodology that doesn’t seem ethical, you should question it. You should challenge the leadership in your life. You should openly and directly challenge things that don’t feel right. This is where growth occurs. 

I challenge you to create an environment that produces dedication. Support each employee individually while recruiting for ethics such as integrity, a strong work ethic, and a dedication to excellent communication. The result will be a dedicated team. 

In this life, it’s more important that we live with love and compassion, than it is that we demand loyalty. Instead, serve your team and loyalty will follow.

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/.

Grace Rizza of Identity Dental Marketing | 3 Reasons Why You Hate Marketing That Are Really The Reasons You Should Love It

Grace Rizza of Identity Dental Marketing

It has been a long held belief in the dental profession that there is no place for marketing in dentistry. Unfortunately, the marketing industry is not doing itself any favors when it comes to dispelling this myth in my opinion.

For some doctors, it is the concern that marketing may be simply too much of an added stressor or time drain. You are already responsible for excelling as a dentist and leader of your practice. The thought of adding marketing manager to that list of roles can be daunting for many. For others, they finally make the leap into the marketing waters only to be met with the icy embrace of an unethical and unfair marketing company.

For those that are suffering from the latter, I can understand why you may never want to try marketing again. But I can also assure you that one bad experience is not a reflection of the entirety of what marketing can offer. In fact, these bad experiences are often blessings in disguise.

Reason 1 Why You Don’t Like Marketing, But Really Should:

In my 10 years of experience, I have found that many have a negative view of marketing because they don’t fully commit. Doctors in high competition areas will invest $200 one time and if it doesn’t bring in a patient immediately, they’ll write off marketing as just another hoax. Imagine if your patients only brushed their teeth for 30 seconds one time and expected to maintain a healthy smile forever after. That low risk tolerance holds many people back and prevents them from seeing the full rewards that are possible with a little faith and patience.

However, this shouldn’t discourage you. You should love marketing because it almost always gives you what you put into it. When the same doctor who invested $200 once begins to invest more (both in terms of time and money), they’re going to begin to see results. A good company can help you use your resources more effectively, but at the end of the day, you’ll still need to give to get.

Reason 2:

It is also a common expectation for new practice owners to expect results quickly, without giving their campaign time to gain traction. What I tell those dentists, and what I will now tell you, is that most marketing initiatives only START to gain traction at the six month mark. Anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or is purposefully lying to you. Give your marketing the time it needs and you’ll be rewarded.

When you do so, marketing becomes more than just clicks and Google searches. Your marketing also increases your word of mouth referrals because you’re top of mind. It accelerates growth by educating the community on your services and the importance of proper oral health care. When you put all that together, it means you’ve become a positive force in your community. You become an entity that people know of, that they trust, and that they first think of when the need for dentistry arises. That’s a pretty powerful reason to love good marketing.

Reason 3:

It is often the case that many marketing companies (especially in the dental space) don’t have the proper education, experience, or certifications to be running successful campaigns. Unfortunately, there’s also a gross lack of ethics in the marketing profession (from what I’ve seen in dental marketing since 2008). As a result, campaigns run, but the dentist doesn’t know their ad spend, doesn’t have ownership of their websites and as a result, they don’t see the results they are looking for.

However,  ignoring marketing is not the solution. Instead, learn enough to protect yourself, create a plan, track your patient referral sources, and do it the right way. If you’re looking for all of these needs wrapped into one dental specific marketing company, then you’re looking for Identity Dental Marketing. Not only do we deliver marketing that works, but we do it in an ethical way that you can feel confident about.

Whether you’re trying out marketing for the first time or you’re looking for a better way of doing things, we are here for you. Schedule a complimentary marketing planning session and allow us to learn about you and your practice. Together, we can work to achieve many of the goals you have for your success. https://identitydental.com/cmps/

(847) 629-4646

https://gracerizza.com/

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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