Earlier, I wrote about why morning meetings are an essential part of practice success. As I mentioned in that article, many dentists give up on these meetings because they feel they aren’t getting enough value from them (or, just as bad, they continue to do them despite not getting enough value from them).

dental staff team meeting

So what makes for a good, effective morning meeting?

Let’s start with what a morning meeting should not be. A morning meeting is not about the team showing up and listening to one person talk. A great morning meeting requires everyone to prepare in advance and share information with the rest of the team. This is about full participation – nobody has a backseat role here.

A morning meeting is also not about “verifying” today’s schedule and double-checking that people are going to do their job. That should all be a given. And it’s not about discussing every patient who is coming in that day. If you do that, your morning meeting will be an hour long.

Morning meetings should be short, to the point, and focused around two things: exceptions and opportunities.

Exceptions are things you and the team need to be aware of in advance so you can deal with them appropriately. It could be a lab case that has not been returned on time (you don’t want the patient showing up only to be rescheduled). It could be a patient with special needs, or a patient who hasn’t been in for hygiene in over two years but is coming in today because they’re in pain. This is a patient whose behaviors need to be influenced so they come in regularly and concerns can be diagnosed before they become urgencies. Identifying exceptions is about proactively dealing with potential roadblocks.

Opportunities are the other side of this coin. An opportunity might be, for instance, knowing that there is open time for the doctor in the afternoon, so the team should look for patients with unaccepted treatment needs to re-communicate and possibly schedule that treatment today. It could be talking to a patient about clinical esthetic dentistry because they expressed an interest in whitening when they scheduled their hygiene appointment.

Once you learn what to look for in terms of exceptions and opportunities, it’s actually quite easy to prepare for the morning meeting, have a great meeting of no longer than 15 minutes where all the necessary information is shared, and strategize as a team around specific items or patients where appropriate.

If you do it right, with this kind of focus, what happens in those 15 minutes can have a considerable impact on what happens, not only on any given day, but well into the future.

For more on this, I strongly suggest you watch my online video lesson Effective and Focused Morning Meetings, which includes a template document that outlines examples of exactly what to focus on. If you are a Spear Online member, this is one you really should watch with your team. And if you’re not a member, you can still see it by taking this opportunity to sign up for a free 7-day Guest Pass.

(Click this link for more dental practice management articles from Imtiaz Manji.)