Guided Team Meeting: If you dont tell me who you are, Ill have to make it up!

This team meeting is designed to give you some direct experience with the ideas contained in the art of communication. It is very simple and can be completed in a single three-hour team meeting. If your group is larger than eight members, it may take additional time, so be sure to adjust for the size of your team.

Sandy Roth and

Terry Goss

This team meeting is designed to give you some direct experience with the ideas contained in the art of communication. It is very simple and can be completed in a single three-hour team meeting. If your group is larger than eight members, it may take additional time, so be sure to adjust for the size of your team.

A few days before the meeting, ask team members to do some homework in preparation. Encourage them to take a few minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time to put together some questions, as well as some thoughts. The assignment is to write three to five questions:

* You have always wanted to ask the dentist.

* You have always wondered about.

* You believe could help you understand the goals of the practice better.

* You believe would clear up some confusion for you.

There are just a few rules:

- No "blame" questions are allowed - that is, questions that are designed to accuse, punish, or embarrass. An example of a blame question is, "Why do you always run late?" This question is really an implied statement: "I hate it when you run late." Taking the blame out of the question turns it into, "As you know, I am really bothered when we run late, but it doesn`t seem to bother you as much. I`d like to understand how you think about time and running late."

- All questions must be sincerely asked and the dentist must agree to give a thoughtful, serious response.

n You may decline to answer any question.

- The questions must be limited to practice functions. No personal questions are allowed.

- Don`t ask a question unless you would be prepared to answer it yourself.

In addition to answering questions, the dentist has a bit of homework. Again, a few days before the meeting, prepare a list of three to five things you believe team members may not know or understand about you. Write out your comments completely and expand on your thoughts.

As the meeting begins, invite any team member to go first. Once a question is asked of you (the dentist), take as much time as you need to answer it thoroughly and thoughtfully. Ask others to withhold comments and additional questions until you are finished. Then, follow-up questions and clarifying remarks may be added. As much as possible, use this time to reveal yourself to the team. Be sure to tell them what is important to you, what you are about, what you believe, to what you aspire, and so on. Let this first question move to the next until all of the questions have been asked and your thoughts have been delivered. If none of the questions allows you to touch on the comments you wish to make, take the time to introduce these new ideas.

An expanded variation on this theme involves everyone. That is, each team member puts together three to five questions for each team member, as well as the dentist. In addition, each team member makes note of three to five things to tell the group.

An important aspect of this exercise is trust. People will not reveal themselves if they don`t feel their thoughts and ideas will be honored. In a later exercise, we will offer some help with creating a safe environment, but until then, simply agree to the few rules we have outlined above and enjoy learning about one another. Best wishes from Sandy and Terry and let us know you if need some help with this process.

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