Everyone hates unproductive meetings. They waste time. They frustrate the orthodontist and staff alike. Conversely, effective staff meetings can prevent chaos and stress in the office. Held every 4 to 6 weeks, staff meetings improve communication, inspire cooperation, and help build a stronger team.

Levin Group recommends the following steps to ensure that staff meetings are positive and results-oriented:

• Schedule 12 months in advance: Set aside 60 to 90 minutes for staff meetings. Avoid scheduling them on or near peak times if you are seeing patients that day.

• Consider meeting off-site: Getting out of the office to a "neutral" location can make everyone more relaxed and open to discussion.

• Focus on large issues: Less important topics can usually be covered in morning meetings.

• Designate a meeting leader: Without question, the orthodontist is the best choice. These are high-level meetings, and the orthodontist as leader should control their direction.

• Create a written agenda: Distribute it to everyone before the meeting.

• Assign a note-taker: A written record of each meeting provides documentation for future reference and serves as a checklist to track progress of items between meetings.

Items for discussion during staff meetings include the following:

• Review any outstanding issues from the last meeting. What gets addressed, gets done. Unfinished business has a tendency to stay unfinished. Settle unresolved items whenever possible.

• Production/collections: Know if these areas are under control. If the numbers aren’t where they should be, brainstorm solutions and design an action plan.

• Technology updates: Is everyone up-to-date on the latest orthodontic technologies in use? This is an excellent opportunity to gauge future training needs for team members.

Productive staff meetings re-energize the staff, promote teamwork, and instill confidence in the orthodontist’s leadership. Effective staff meetings also give the orthodontist peace of mind, knowing that the practice is running smoothly and efficiently.

Roger P. Levin, DDS