Do YOU have a morning huddle?

James Goolnik’s opening presentation at the BSDHT Conference made us all take time to take note

Sometimes it’s the simple things that we forget and when the UK’s most influential dentist addressed an auditorium on the topic of communication and dental hygienists and therapists as a brand, there was much scribbling in notepads and many vowed they’d be implementing them in practice once home.

For those of you who were unable to be in Liverpool this month, her are some golden nuggets we took away…


* Be careful how you ‘pass the baton’ ie. do not end up like Team GB! Think about how you pass on information about patients’ oral health to the rest of the team and when they are returning to reception. look a how you communicate within the team as well as from the patient’s point of view. Remember, that baton is easily dropped.

* Find out what your patients think. To encourage feedback, invite patients to fill out an online survey but give them a reason to do so. James’s practice – Bow Lane – makes a donation to charity for every form completed.

* Send a patient a handwritten thank-you note. James ensures every customer who spends £1,000-plus on treatments receives a handwritten letter and a personalised iPod Shuffle delivered by courier. It makes them feel special… And you look pretty special, too!

* Get into the habit of a morning huddle. Get everyone together for just five minutes to quickly discuss key issues eg: outstanding treatments, if  there are any service beginners due to visit, etc… keep it quick and short. Some members of the team may take longer to buy into the concept but be persistent.

* Once a month have a breakfast meeting for 45 minutes and have an agenda open to all. Use this time to discuss things such as new whitening laws for example.

*Ensure quarterly one-to-one meetings to discuss training needs (both internally and externally) and map out a series of objectives to be discussed in the next quarter.

* Hold quarterly clinical meetings to discuss cases and ways of making improvements in the delivery of care

* Once a year James takes his team on an annual retreat to a spa to reflect on ‘when we can improve and where we’ve gone wrong’.

9 steps to build your own brand

1. Lead

2. Be remarkable

3. Involve everyone

4. Innovate

5. Empower. Find ambassadors among your patients and get them to spread the message about what you do. Your patients are your best marketing

6. Personalise, it’s not ‘sheep dip’ dentistry

7. Why do your patients come to see you?

8. Measure

9. Evolve

Last tip

Buy a white board and include all aspects of her life and have a theme for the year such as simply and update it every week with new ideas etc…

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