Guidelines for good dialogue with your reception & clinical staff (not always easy!) are essential to running a harmonious practice… 

Maintain confidentiality
• Avoid inflammatory comments
• Avoid trying to convert others to your point of view before you have listened to their views
• Show respect by listening attentively and responding appropriately
• State your intent at the beginning
• Acknowledge contributions that people make
• Accept responsibility for your actions, be prepared to take blame or apologise where necessary
• If colleagues surprise you, express your surprise – then ask them to explain (without telling them they are wrong or trying to reason them round to your viewpoint)
• Make guesses based on your assumptions, then ask them to confirm
• Ask questions in a spirit of curiosity – not judgement
• Bracket interesting points of the conversation and return to them later
• Move gently, especially on personal/risky topics – watch out for signals that you need to back off
• Take care not to escalate resistance
• Stay excited about your idea, and stay connected with the other person
• Make your short-term goal to listen and explore – avoid knee-jerk reactions
• Once you have listened and explored, you can move on to the next objective, e.g. ‘seek mutual gain’, ‘cut losses’ or ‘rethink the idea

What next?
The art of listening is essential to all stages of your practice cycle whether you are just starting out or are well established, as communication is key to identify problems, staff perception, getting patients’ perspectives, finding solutions (overview of creativity) and gaining co-operation building trust, human barriers to change, addressing uncertainty to implement and sustain change.