Integrity, fairness, communication, service orientation and mutual respect.

Karen Ergus – Authour, “Scaling up: The business of dentistry”

Successful business is not just about having a good product or service. How you present yourself to potential clients and the image you put out into the world is just as important. Especially in the medical industry, like dentistry, being professional in appearance, demeanour and behaviour is of the utmost importance to be trusted and favoured in a saturated market.

This does not only apply to how you and your staff present yourself in-person–social media is now one of the main ways people find services they are interested in, so your online persona is just as important.

Your professionalism should extend to everyone you interact with – both your staff and clients. The main pillars to professionalism are integrity, fairness, communication, service orientation and mutual respect and they should always be a priority as you carry out your business ventures and everyday interactions. Below are just a few of the areas where professionalism is of utmost importance to create a good impression and build a positive and trusted brand image with the public.

Demeanour and attitude

We all have our ‘off’ days and stressful moments however, you must never let this out on your staff or clients. It is unprofessional and can often lead to hostile, negative feelings in the work environment. This is particularly problematic in dentistry environments where it is very important that everyone stays calm and relaxed to ensure the patients are comfortable. Maintain a smile and always be kind, considerate in your actions and have a welcoming attitude towards others.


The old saying goes “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but it is human nature to do exactly that. Looks matter. The way you present yourself on the outside should be a reflection of how you are and feel internally – smart, put together and clean. This applies to how you and your staff are dressed as well as the overall appearance and decor of your office. This is a medical setting so everyone and everything should be sleek and polished. The office should be cleaned regularly, well-lit and comfortable. Staff should be well-groomed and in proper uniform at all times.

Digital and phone etiquette

A client’s first impression of you and your practice will likely be over the phone or through your website or social media, so professionalism in these areas is extremely important. On the phone, always answer with a “Good morning!” or “Good afternoon!” followed your name and the name of your practice in a pleasant, inviting tone.  Additionally, as your parents taught you, also use “please” and “thank you” when asking for information from the client.

When it comes to online interactions, through email or direct messaging, it’s not all that different. Respond to enquiries as quickly as possible and write in the same friendly, inviting tone. Make sure your social media accounts and website are aesthetically pleasing and professionally designed with contact information that is easily accessible.

For a more comprehensive dive into building and maintaining your professional image, get DDG founder Karen Ergus’ new book “Scaling up: The business of dentistry” on sale next month.

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