Thursday, 19 January 2012
Donna Center

How to Have More Effective Staff Meetings

Written by  Donna Center

Communication is an important part of keeping a medical practice running smoothly, and staff meetings are a great way to keep those lines of communication going, whether you hold them daily, weekly, or monthly. Make sure the conversation is two-way. Employees want to know what’s going on with the practice, and they also want their voice to be heard. The goal is to work together to build your practice.

Schedule the meeting at a convenient time. Consult your employees to find out what times work best for them. If you’re asking them to come in after work hours, be sure to pay them for their time. If it’s lunch time, pay for their meal. By taking their needs and wants into consideration, you’ll find your staff looking forward to meetings rather than begrudging them.

Plan ahead. Be prepared with an agenda from the meeting. You can also request topics of conversation from your staff and even ask them to lead that part of the discussion. Let everyone know in advance what will be discussed, so they come ready to contribute.

Stick to the plan. The leader of the meeting should help keep things moving and on topic. He or she should also be in charge of keeping things on a positive note and keep any one person from monopolizing the discourse. Find a nice way to let people know that they are becoming negative or too long-winded. Don’t allow discussions to become arguments.

Brainstorm. This is a great time to tap into your staff’s collective intelligence. They all have expertise in their areas and, by getting everyone’s input, you can get a better solution to a problem than you would by just involving one or two people. If there’s no particular problem you need addressed, just have a period of time where people can offer their general suggestions for saving money, expanding the practice, and keeping things running smoothly.

Give praise. This is a great time to let your staff know that you appreciate the work that they do. A compliment can go a long way, and sharing your praise in the public forum will not only allow your staff members to feel proud but also encourage others to do their best.

Avoid interruptions. By focusing entirely on the meeting, you’ll be letting your staff know that communicating with them is a priority for you. You should ask the same from them – no cell phone calls, text messages, or emails. Everyone should be giving their full attention to whoever is talking.

Don’t use this time to discipline anyone. While praising publicly is a good idea, chastising should be a private matter. This saves your staff members from embarrassment and allows them to focus on the problem at hand rather than taking it personally or harboring any resentment. If you have overall problems, make it clear that these are process problems or group issues rather than focusing on any one or group of individuals.

Listen. It’s important to make your staff aware of how things are going at the practice, but it’s even more important to hear from them what’s going on. By gaining a better understanding of their perspective, you’ll be better able to manage the practice.



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