Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 05 Letterman Top 10 1

Top 10 List of lessons from David Letterman’s finale on how to succeed in dental practice

May 27, 2015
David Letterman's finale can teach dentists a thing or two about how to run a successful practice. Here is a Top 10 List to prove it.

In order to run a successful dental practice, I suggest you take this Top 10 List to heart. These classic characteristics modeled by David Letterman during his final night as host will endear you to your patients and team. And who doesn’t want a great 33-year run?

1. Sit at your desk (or your dental chair) and communicate — Letterman’s career culminated in his finale with clips and memories but was distinguished, ultimately, by what Letterman does best – sit at his desk and communicate.
2. Use self-deprecating humor
— On his final show, Letterman assured the audience that of his more than 6,000 shows, most of them stank.
3. Acknowledge others
— The real moments to savor on the show came from Letterman’s long list of acknowledgements, graciously wishing the best to incoming host Stephen Colbert, thanking his staff, and lauding CBS CEO Leslie Moonves for his patience dealing with him.
4. Smile
— Letterman has never been the most warm and fuzzy of personalities, but, that elastic face can really smile. He spent so much of that last show smiling. His dentist is proud, I’m sure.
5. Be confident
— Letterman was confident enough to spend six or seven of his last 80 minutes on a walk through a typical day of show prep, which was as mundane as the show itself can be lively.
6. Be humble
— “The people who watch this show, I can never repay you,” a humble Letterman said before ending the program.
7. Be gracious
— In his closing remarks, Letterman acknowledged the praise heaped upon him and asked people to “save a little for my funeral.”
8. Show emotion
— This was one of those rare moments where the curmudgeonly late-night host wore his heart on his sleeve.
9. Praise your team
— “We loved every second of it,” musical director and sidekick Paul Shaffer said as Letterman credited those who had worked on the show. Their pictures flashed across the screen during the closing credits.
10. Stay upbeat
— “The show was so uplifting,” said a person in the audience. “When David Letterman was speaking, he was thanking everyone. It was so upbeat. It made me leave feeling upbeat.”

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Karen Cortell Reisman, author of three books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with organizations, dentists, and dental associations on how to make more money. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Read more short articles at

Sources: Variety, Brian Lowry; New York Daily News, Don Kaplan, Gianluca Cuestas, Bill Hutchinson; Daily News, David Hinckley