This past Saturday we had the honor of being the featured speakers at a fantastic multi-day dental meeting in Canada. Last time we spoke there, it was a “standing room only” crowd in a packed room of around 800 super-cool North-of-the-border dental folks. So much fun!
So on Saturday they once again had us in the largest room in the house. After a great7:30 AM soundcheck, we took a break and came back to room at 8:25 AM, ready to rock the house for our 8:30 AM start time. One minor problem though… there were about 30 people in the room! We waited a few minutes and finally started at 8:40 with 65 attendees in a room set for 700!!
Turns out that Saturday is a notoriously slow day at this particular meeting; so slow that the entire exhibit hall was shut down. To add to the problem, it was an absolutely glorious day outside, and there was a major sporting event that afternoon right next to the convention hall, which many seminar attendees seemed to opt for. Also, there were major delays on the main public transport system that morning!!
It wasn’t just us, because in the room right next to ours was one of the most well-known and popular speakers in Canada, also playing to an empty hall. Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you had them planned!
So what to do? Should we go in there with a bad attitude and be upset at the poor turnout? Should we cut some material and just try to get the heck out of there as soon as possible? Round up some homeless people to fill the seats? Tell the planning committee they had a lot of nerve to put us on a Saturday and we are never coming back? Cop a bad attitude and be insulted since we usually pack the house at every meeting? None of the above. When you are a pro it doesn’t matter if there are 3000 people in the crowd or 30 – you always give it your best shot.
So yes, the crowd was small, but the meeting turned out to be fantastic! It was actually cool to present to an intimate crowd. Everyone seemed to love it, and we met some fantastic people!! Despite some challenges, the meeting was a major success!! We dooze what we dooze!!
So how about in your practice?
It’s easy to be at your best when you have a patient who can stay open for five hours straight, has no gag reflex, gets numb just by being in close proximity to anesthetic, wants to get “everything done in one visit,” and pays up front in cash!
It’s a breeze to be nice to a patient who always shows up on time in a great mood and is in the “referral of the week” club.
But how about the patient whose lip is so numb you could ram a serrated Cutco right through it yet they scream in pain when a bur is an inch away from their tooth?
How about that patient who asks a million questions yet doesn’t understand anything?
The one who doesn’t need an estimate because their insurance “covers everything?”
The one whose mouth produces so much saliva and mucous you could sell it on the open market?
The one whose keeps saying their crown is “too high” until you grind it into an ugly stump?
Yeah – they are all out there, and it’s not always so easy to be on your “A Game” around certain types of people. But remember, as a dentist or dental team member it is your responsibility to give everyone your best.
Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes you have to bite your tongue and suck it up. And sometimes you have to say to yourself, “If I murder this patient I could wind up in the big house for a long, long time!”
But if you work in a dental practice, you gotta be a pro – and not just sometimes – all the time! Every patient needs to be treated with respect and get your absolute best effort every time. And don’t forget, many times the crankiest people just need the most loving! So be a pro!! Each day, every day.