It is common for dental practices to experience challenges when conducting team meetings. They struggle with staff participation and the tendency to focus on problems. While the reputation of meetings, in general, might be that they are unpopular and unproductive, a new structure may improve participation and outcome. Dental teams can look to meetings as an environment for learning, training and practice growth.
Here are a few ways to improve your staff meetings:
1. Establish the meeting agenda in advance.
Post an agenda one week ahead of time so that team members can contribute current interests or issues to the discussion. The leader of the practice should choose up to three topics to address during the meeting. More topics can be included as time allows, but it is more productive and satisfying to completely resolve a topic before moving ahead to the next. While topics that don’t include the whole team can be delegated to specific department meetings, consider that some topics may be better resolved with the entire team’s input during the meeting and collaboration afterward. Setting the agenda ahead of time allows introverted employees the opportunity to prepare their thoughts in advance and contribute more readily during the meeting.
2. Create an environment for group discussion.
Engage the team as participants rather than spectators. Allowing team members to contribute topics to the agenda is one example of such participation. Another way to encourage participation is to have team members write their problem-solving ideas per topic on sticky notes. The meeting leader can then work through these possible solutions with the team. This also gives introverted team members the opportunity to contribute without speaking up in front of the entire team. Unresolved issues can be shelved until the next team or department meeting.
3. Assign note-taking to a new team member every meeting.
Establishing a note-taking role engages employees in a different way and keeps the meeting moving toward goal resolution. The note-taker should not only keep track of specific measurable goals, action items, responsible person(s) and due dates but also make sure all topics on the agenda are addressed.