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On Target: An Exclusive DentalBlogs Interview with Linda Miles of Speaking Consulting Network

January 9th, 2009 · No Comments

Linda Miles, CSP, CMC will join our panel of Great Minds for 2009, and we’re excited to introduce her to our readers through this insightful interview. Linda owned LLM&A, a respected dental consulting firm, for 30 years before turning over the reigns to Dr. Rhonda Savage (more on Dr. Savage, another Great Mind, to follow!). Linda also started Speaking Consulting Network in 1997, which she still maintains. SCN is a networking organization for speakers, consultants, and writers in the dental industry. Each year, the crowning event is the Sun Fun Seminar – a three-day seminar on land, followed by a four-day cruise.

DB: Tell us about LLM&A and how you got started.

LM: LLM&A is a practice management and team development company that has evolved over the past three decades into one of the most respected names in dentistry. While working as a practice administrator for a start up practice in Richmond, VA from 1976 to 1980, I realized practice and business team development are not taught in dental schools, thus leaving young dentists to seek this help after they graduate. I developed a collection, inventory, and pending appointment system to more effectively manage the practice for which I worked. Several friends of my doctor (also recent grads) asked me to come to their practices to teach these systems, along with telephone techniques, scheduling, A/R management, insurance follow-up, and marketing. One doctor suggested I sponsor a one-day seminar and invite many to attend and share the ideas that had helped his practice so much. My first consultations were in 1978 and my first lecture in 1979. After moving to Virginia Beach in 1980, I stopped working in a practice and devoted all of my time to consulting, writing, and speaking.          

DB: Now tell us about how SCN originated.

LM: After mentoring many consultants and speakers individually (for 18 hours one month), I decided to manage my time better. In 1996, I set aside three to four days per year for mentoring others who wish to enhance their own speaking, consulting, writing, and product development. The first year of SCN (1997), we had 11 attendees and two of our staff people in Orlando. From there, in 13 years, SCN has grown to between 100 and 150 people, including VIP meeting planners, editors from leading dental journals, and exhibitors from top dental companies.

DB: Who is the ideal member for SCN?

LM: We deliberately set tuition for year one that is rather steep to attract only serious minded speakers who wish to book more engagements and improve their materials/skills. Our members, staff, and I enjoy sharing consulting ideas and “tools” that will make all of us better by tweaking each other’s ideas to apply to our own firms. The best benefit is the tremendous networking with other dental professionals who offer products and services to help dental practices more effectively serve their patients and in the process become more profitable.  

DB: Tell us about the success of some of your SCN members.

LM: It truly makes my heart sing when I open a dental journal and see that anywhere from 4 to 8 authors in each issue belong to SCN. Oh, the thrill I have sitting in their seminar audiences at major meetings! And having them email me their year-end success stories makes me very proud! They and I know that through networking at SCN, they continue to thrive as speakers, consultants, and authors. Does this mean that everyone who has attended becomes an overnight success? Absolutely not! SCN, like anything else, is not going to do the work for the members. It is up to each one who attends to go back and work VERY hard individually, year after year. In this business, there is no magic pill or Fairy Godmother who is going to do it for them. Like anything else, you get out of SCN what you put into it… Those who thought speaking and consulting was fun and a little-work business came once or twice and realized this business is a lot harder than they ever imagined!    

DB: What events and networking opportunities does SCN offer?

LM: SCN has a major conference on uneven years (2009, 2011), with a Members Only Meeting (MOM) on even years (2010, 2012). The major conference allows new members to experience a full day with the Executive Board Members who act as personal coaches for that first day of the major conference every other year. MOM is a more intimate group with no new members, no exhibitors, no VIP meeting planners, nor editors. It is a roll-up-your-sleeves meeting to share ideas and materials while taking in more great ideas than you could possibly implement in a year’s time.

DB: What’s on the schedule for this year’s Sun Fun Seminar?

LM: We will have our “Newbie Day” exclusively for new members and the Executive Board all day on Tuesday, February 17th in Ft. Lauderdale at the Embassy suites Hotel. At 5:30 PM that day, we will host a Welcome Reception for new members to meet those returning for the land portion on the 18th and half-day the 19th. At noon on February 19th, we will take a bus to the Navigator of the Seas (Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines) for a 4- day Cruise with close to 500 dental participants. We’ll enjoy our two half-day SOS (Spotlight on Speaking) Seminars while at sea. Fourteen SCN members will each give a 20-minute talk on their best material, followed by a short Parade of Products with our exhibitors. Afternoons will be free to explore the ship or for the dentists to network with consultants who are available for complimentary 25-minute Mini-Consults. We will have a full day of Fun in the Sun in Cozumel, with excursions or an all-day beach party for those who choose to just relax.        

DB: How can someone become a member or attend the seminar and cruise?

LM: They can call Lee Tarvin at 800-922-0882 to register for either the cruise only (dental practices) or SCN (land, sea, or both) at the same number. They may also email inquiries to Lee at or to me personally, Cabin space is limited, and we need to have everyone registered ASAP so that we can order workbooks by early February.     

DB: Now that you’ve retired (partly) from LLM&A, what are you doing with your time?

LM: Rhonda Savage, DDS is doing a great job her first 18 months as new owner and CEO. She is very busy speaking and consulting and has just built a new office with a conference space to house LLM&A West Coast Two-Day workshops and practice retreats in the WA area. I call myself Rhonda’s East Coast Marketing Director. My favorite job is telling long-term, established clients about Rhonda and her other consultants/speakers. I still lecture about 30 dates each year – and love it. Traveling less is wonderful for more family time. I am owner, and Lee Tarvin is the director, of the Speaking Consulting Network. This takes about 10 to 15 hours per week of our time to coordinate the annual conference and create new projects that will keep our members growing.

DB: Do you have anything exciting in the works – books, videos, audios, speaking engagements – that our readers should consider?

LM: Our seminar schedule for 2009 is listed at under Seminars. I plan to start writing a new outlined book soon entitled Unhappy Employees (An International Epidemic). It’s about the lack of customer service and how frontline employees treat customers exactly the way upper management treats them! This is my first non-dental book, but it can certainly be used by dental practices or any business that has employees. For the most part, I feel dentists are good employers, yet in some practices that we consult, we realize leadership is often a weak part of the practice. Rhonda, while practicing clinical dentistry, was one of the strongest and fairest dental bosses I’ve ever met. She is an expert with helping dentists in that arena. Rhonda and I are both speaking at the Hawaii ADA meeting in early October 2009 with a new and exciting program called “Two Sides of the Management Coin.” We will discuss day-to-day issues that occur in a dental practice. Dr. Rhonda will give the dentist’s view, and I’ll chime in with “and here is how your dental team sees this.” We each have about 20 to 30 speaking engagements from CA to MI and in between this year. 

More About Linda Miles

You can review Linda’s biography on our contributors page where all of our Great Minds are featured. Linda will begin to share her expertise with us in conjunction with Dr. Rhonda Savage. Their new Dental Blogs column, “Two Sides of the Management Coin” will tackle some of the big issues in dental practice management from both the doctor’s and team’s perspective. Stay tuned for great things from Linda Miles this year!

Tags: Two Sides of the Management Coin by Linda Miles and Dr. Rhonda Savage