Syncing the Dance

I’m a big fan of great theater and, in particular, musicals. Just ask my family. If I’m vacuuming, doing dishes, baking, or some other mindless task, my favorites are on speed dial with Alexa. I’m instantly transformed into the Karaoke Queen, belting out the tunes in an effort to make the work a little more enjoyable. Well, at least more enjoyable for me.

When The Greatest Showman was released a couple of years ago, it was only a matter of time before I knew all the words to the well-written, upbeat, and ever-so-singable songs. One favorite is The Other Side, a song that captures the deal-making conversation between Hugh Jackman and Zak Ephron in an otherwise empty bar. The song itself is wonderfully written, but it is the synchronized choreography that makes it so memorable for me. It’s one of the few songs that I would rather watch than listen to.

I’ve included a video of the song and movie scene below. When you watch it, notice the perfect synchronicity of the characters’ movements and dancing with the use of props which are expertly timed with the beat of the music. Everything is perfectly and thoughtfully calibrated to drive the dialogue and message of the lyrics home—right down to the whiskey-pouring, scarf-swirling, hat placement and eyebrow-raising. Every movement is perfectly synced to drive the message of the song deep within us, making it unforgettable. (Don’t miss the bartender who stays in sync as well behind the bar.)

The minute I saw this scene, I knew I would write about it because it reminds me of how syncing and calibrating our communication within a business or practice drives the message home for our clients and makes it unforgettable. When every team member flawlessly hands-off to the next team member in the chain of a client’s journey, they drive the message deep and make it memorable. When appointments are opened and closed with a communication checklist and system, the appointments feel complete and patients are drawn into the seamless continuity of their experience.

For example, here’s a checklist we recommend for dental practices to open and close appointments:

Opening:

  • Greet and build rapport and/or express empathy
  • Review appointment purpose (focusing on patient benefits) and time estimate
  • Review health changes or medications
  • Take vitals and a “before” picture
  • Prepare relevant clinical information for the doctor including x-rays, photos, etc.
  • Review patient comfort items

Closing:

  • Review completed procedure and compliment patient
  • Review home care instructions and give personal business card and referral cards
  • Take “after” picture and show to patient, comparing it to the “before” picture (print to take home)
  • Review next appointment and reinforce urgency and importance (decay, disease, prevention)
  • Handoff to administrator

Your checklist might look a bit different, but having an organized, intentional checklist eliminates inconsistencies and solidifies client service. And a big part of what makes this work is the choreographed handoffs from the assistant to the clinician prior to the appointment and back again from the clinician to the assistant when the appointment is concluded.

When the assistant delivers a quick appointment review upon the doctor’s arrival and the doctor compliments the assistant, the patient can’t help but be impressed with the professionalism and organization of the team. They will be reminded of this again when, upon the conclusion of the appointment, while the patient is still reclined, the doctor puts a hand on their shoulder and says, “Jane, I’m all done with my portion of today’s visit, but (my assistant) Sara has a few more very important details to finish. You did very well today, and I’m extremely pleased with the results. I’m going to say goodbye for now and leave you in Sara’s expert and capable hands. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon on your next visit.”

Every professional actor in a play knows their lines, position, and cue. They have studied and practiced these so that they seem natural and seamless. Their cast members count on them to execute their part so that they can execute theirs.

This week, think through the lines in your professional play. Be sure you know your part and you’ve studied and practiced them so your team members can count on their flawless execution. Choreograph your handoffs and compliments of fellow team members.

Your patients and clients will then be able to sit back and enjoy the synchronized dance you all do, right in time with the beat of the music.

The Other side - The Greatest Showman