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Be interesting: Part 3

Oct. 1, 2011
It’s Jimmy BuffetT Day at Dr. Larry Winans’ dental office in the button-down community of Lewisburg, Pa. Larry and his team are in their parrot-head attire.

Nate Booth, DDS

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: Be interesting, who you are, what you do, humor, sense of fun, Nate Booth, DDS.

It’s Jimmy BuffetT Day at Dr. Larry Winans’ dental office in the button-down community of Lewisburg, Pa. Larry and his team are in their parrot-head attire. Jimmy’s island tunes are wafting through the air. It’s easy to imagine the faint whirring of a blender in the lab as it mixes drink concoctions with little umbrellas in them.

Dr. Larry Winans decked out for Jimmy Buffett Day.

I’ve known Larry for 10 years. He is a fantastic dentist and a great guy, and the perfect example of the third way any dental office can be interesting — How you do it.

If you want people to be interested in your dental office, you need to be interesting. In previous columns, you have learned to be interesting by 1) who you are, and 2) what you do.

How you do it is the style in which you deliver dental care. Many dental offices provide care in blah, ordinary, and uninteresting ways. Their patients pick up on the vibe and act accordingly.

Larry and some other dentists know the benefits of delivering high-quality care and having well-measured doses of fun on a regular basis. They know that a fun-loving office atmosphere has four benefits:

  1. Your office will be more productive. Southwest Airlines has figured this one out. In addition to having more fun per mile, they have the smallest number of employees per aircraft and serve the most flyers per employee.
  2. Your practice will have lower team absenteeism and turnover. In a fun-loving practice, people enjoy coming to the office and will stay with you even if they can make a few more bucks down the street.
  3. Your team will be more creative and innovative. People having fun look at life and challenges through different lenses. They see opportunities often missed by people who are just putting in their time.
  4. Your patients will notice. Going to a dental office is stressful enough without being around a bunch of stressed-out team members. Fun reduces stress for everyone. Patients enjoy coming to fun loving offices, they accept more comprehensive dentistry, and they refer family and friends.

Not a Jimmy Buffett fan? No problem. Be interesting by celebrating these days:

  • Elvis Presley’s birthday on January 8 — Serve bacon and peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch. Have the king’s music on your sound system.
  • National Popcorn Day on January 27 — Maybe you can drum up some business by serving sticky popcorn balls.
  • National Goof Off Day on March 22
  • National Bad Socks Day on May 9 — Include your patients on any days they can join the fun.
  • National Hug Day on June 12
  • Moment of Frustration Scream Day on Oct. 12
  • ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s Day — With matching clothes and music
  • Postpone traditional December holiday celebrations until late January or February. This reduces holiday stress and gives your team something to look forward to during the winter months.

“Humor is counterbalance. Laughter need not be cut out of anything, since it improves everything.” — James Thurber

Some people think you have to be born with a sense of fun. Not true. There are four steps to a great sense of humor: 1) Think funny — Even when things get tense, think, “What could be funny about this situation?” 2) Add play to all the serious things you do — Think, “How can we have fun and do this activity well?” 3) Laugh with, not at — When you laugh with others about their idiosyncrasies, remember your own. 4) Laugh at yourself — Set a fun and contagious example for your team.

Remember the wonderful 1998 movie, “Patch Adams”? The real Patch Adams was a physician who worked in life-and-death situations every day. Through it all, he is quoted as saying, “The most revolutionary act one can commit in our world is to be happy.” I know Dr. Larry Winans and his team agree with Patch . . . and their patients love them for it. How about you?

To receive information on the following, e-mail Dr. Booth at [email protected] or call (702) 444-1362.

• A complimentary report on The Five Biggest Comprehensive Case Acceptance Mistakes Dentists Routinely Make

• Dr. Booth’s 75-minute, interactive “Yes” System training webinar that you can attend from the comfort of your home

• Dr. Booth’s live and lively presentations to dental groups

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