With editorial assistance from Sylvia Tan
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Nelson Mandela once said.
For previous generations, education simply consisted of going to school. People flocked to formal educational institutions for learning, as this was where hard-copy resources were collected. However, thanks to today’s technology, you can now get alternative forms of education pretty much anywhere—even in your car! And what better way to make efficient use of your commuting time than learning from experts?
Enter podcasts: audio education. Thanks to podcasts, we can get a crash course on a specific topic while working on another task or driving somewhere. For dental professionals, podcasts may just be the key to upgrading and expanding crucial skills amidst time constraints and busy lives. To kickstart your learning journey, here are some important topics to explore, a few strategies to help you retain what you hear, and examples of how podcasts apply to real-life dental situations.
What can you learn from podcasts?
There are podcasts for almost anything you want to learn about or improve upon. For dental professionals, the following categories not only serve to refine our professional skills, but can also improve the way we interact with our colleagues and clients.1
Career: Whether you’re a freshly minted dental graduate or an experienced professional, understanding how to navigate your dental career can help you get the most personal satisfaction and provide the best experience for your clients.
Science & Technology: In today’s technology-infused world, dental practices need to remain up to date. Learning the advantages and risks of various up-and-coming technologies, even those of other industries, helps us design better solutions for our clients.
Culture & Society: Everyone in the dental profession interacts with others. As such, it is crucial to understand how the human psyche works, how social norms drive phenomena, and how society affects the individual.
Self-Improvement: If you aren’t a perfect person (and who is?), there’s something for you here. From learning how to learn, to understanding what maximizes energy levels, this category helps you be the best you can be.
Money: It can be tricky juggling the mastery of dental skills and the financial side of your career. However, podcasts can help break through the overwhelm and teach you how to make the best business decisions for yourself.2
History: Dental teams are, in a way, like ancient civilizations. Although much smaller in scale, we are also groups of people trying our best to flourish. Learning from the history of the human race is a pain-free way to grasp success strategies and avoid devastating mistakes.3
How can you best retain what you hear?
Knowing how pivotal podcasts can be for professional development, harnessing every opportunity to reap the benefits of listening is a must. However, the constant availability of information can make retention a struggle. These strategies may help4:
Make notes: Instead of depending on a forgettable mental note to remember something important you just heard, write it down. Whether in a physical notebook or an iPhone note, jotting things down gives us a place to turn to whenever we need that piece of information again. If you’re driving, remember to wait till you’re safely parked to take your focus off the wheel.
Hit the pause button: In jam-packed podcasts, every sentence could be a mind-blowing, golden nugget of information. Pausing episodes at critical points allows you to fully digest what you just heard. Otherwise, that life-changing phrase could flit in and out of your mind without you even realizing.
Find opportunities for rebuttal: Most conclusions are valid due to the presence of certain conditions. By training your mind to think critically—whether silently, verbally, or through writing—you form your own conclusions, and this thorough processing promotes information retention.
Process information a second time through reading: Research shows that information is better retained when processed through multiple senses.5 After listening to a podcast episode, read through show notes, audio transcripts, or reference articles to firmly ground a topic/concept into your memory.
Practical applications for real-life situations in dentistry
One of the most significant benefits of podcasts is their immense practicality. The following takeaways from some of the best podcasts in the dental field are immediately applicable to our daily work:
Marketing to prospective dental patients: Many dental practices get a headache thinking about marketing channels (Facebook, direct mail, etc.). What will bring new clients? Instead of focusing on the platform, a marketing agency specializing in the dental field recommends “finding an authentic message about what makes your practice different” as the best first step.6
Achieving peak performance: Interviews with dental professionals support findings showing that health is the number one factor affecting work performance.7 One episode highlights how quality sleep, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and wholesome nutrition can help us work at top capacity.
Working with the millennial colleague: Compared to other generations, millennials seem to emphasize acceptance and appreciation.8 Their decisions are also more greatly influenced by social media. Knowing these priorities helps dental team leaders and other colleagues to create a better work environment for millennial coworkers.
Dealing with workplace negativity: Burnout and bullying are two issues that could result in workplace negativity. On one episode of my podcast, my co-host and I provide a first-hand, insider perspective into these situations in the dental field and how we’ve gotten through them.9
In the world of dentistry, there are plenty of podcasts that provide top-notch education. The sooner you start, the faster you’ll level up. So tomorrow, while driving to your dental practice, click “play” on your first episode, and get unlimited access to this power that can change your world.
- Frank T. Listen and learn: The 40 best educational podcasts in 2020. College Info Geek. Updated January 7, 2020. Accessed February 21, 2020. https://collegeinfogeek.com/best-podcasts/
- Elliott C. Invest or pay off debt? That is the question. Listen Money Matters. Accessed February 21, 2020. https://www.listenmoneymatters.com/invest-or-pay-off-debt/
- Duncan M. The History of Rome. The year of the six emperors. August 29, 2010. Accessed February 21, 2020. http://historyofrome.wm.wizzard.tv/107_the_year_of_the_six_empeors
- 5 ways to learn from every podcast you hear. Accidental Information. April 20, 2017. Accessed February 21, 2020. https://www.accidentalinformation.com/5-ways-to-learn-from-every-podcast-you-hear/
- Murray M. Using multiple senses to improve memory. Discover UNIL. Accessed February 21, 2020. https://wp.unil.ch/discoverunil/2016/11/using-multiple-senses-to-improve-memory/
- Isaac R. The Dentist Money Show. A simple marketing secret you need to know. Accessed February 21, 2020. https://dentistadvisors.com/education-library/podcast/wonderist-agency-interview/
- Takacs G. The Thriving Dentist with Gary Takacs. The high-performance dentist. January 22, 2020. Accessed February 21, 2020. https://www.thrivingdentist.com/the-high-performance-dentist/
- Dental Success Institute. 763: Becoming a millennial whisperer part one. December 4, 2019. Accessed February 21, 2020. https://www.truedentalsuccess.com/the-dentalpreneur-podcast/763-becoming-a-millennial-whisperer-part-one/
- A Tale of Two Hygienists. Bullying and burnout w/ Michelle and Andrew. January 6, 2020. Accessed February 21, 2020. https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/a-tale-of-two/bullying-and-burnout-oNzCe0AaOnj/
Michelle Strange, MSDH, RDH, brings 19 years of experience in dentistry to her roles as adjunct clinical faculty member at Trident Technical College, clinical educator for TePe Oral Health Care, director of education for O2 Nose Filters, and host of the A Tale of Two Hygienists podcast. In 2019, she started a company with Dr. Tony Stefanou called TriviaDent to test your dental knowledge, network, and win prizes. You can reach out to Michelle via her podcast ataleoftwohygienists.com.