I had some personal communication issues which were not good for the practice. The problem was I didn’t like disciplining the staff. For example, I had one employee who was chronically tardy. I knew I had to speak to her but I kept putting it off because it caused me stress.
I also really disliked having to fire people. Knowing I would have to talk to a staff member about any of these things created a lot of anxiety in me.
When I began talking to Sterling about their program, the consultant strongly recommended I first do the Improving Business Through Communications course and the How to Get Things Done course. I wanted to eliminate this stress from my life so I agreed. I took both courses with my office manager.
The results of this training were immediate and dramatic. I felt empowered. I felt like, “I can do that, I can do everything I learned, no one is going to hurt me.” It made me a stronger person.
Now I have taken the emotional stress out of the equation. There was a staff member I had to talk to because she was not getting her work done. She had personal problems which were affecting her performance. I’m a pediatric dentist and my practice is high-energy but she was slow and gloomy. I was able to just talk to her and say what I had to say. It was all business, nothing personal. It’s not that I didn’t like her, I did, but I had given her time to improve yet nothing was changing. So, I took her from full-time to part-time status. Previously, this would have been very difficult for me.
My approach with my patients has definitely changed. Some patients are angry or antagonistic or just don’t want to hear what I have to tell them. Now I know how to deal with these people. Instead of being frustrated, I have the tools to make them hear me.
My office manager loved this training as much as I did. He’s a nice guy and this is his first time managing others. It was difficult for him to be a nice guy but still get things done. These courses showed him how to tell staff what to do without sounding aggressive yet still being effective. The training also opened him up; he is more comfortable talking to and in front of people.
One of the key things I learned was good communication makes the office flow efficiently. Before these courses, I thought we wouldn’t be able to squeeze in more patients but now we’re busier without being overwhelmed. The staff are now communicating to each other—they don’t have to guess what’s going on or make mistakes because someone has not given them the information they need.
Communication is such a big part of every relationship, it’s involved with just about everything. Learning to do it right is indispensable.
Hae Sook Kim, DDS