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The Perks of Communication Works

I currently work in a corporate-owned small animal practice. There are different perks to working in a practice that is part of a larger company. So far in the less than six months I have worked with VCA, I have attended free CE events twice, once in the first month of working at the clinic, and today, a workshop designed to improve the clinical skill of communication for veterinarians. Based on research that was performed by observing communication between the veterinarian and pet owners throughout VCA clinics, they established skills that improved the satisfaction of the veterinarian and client relationship, which then led to improved client compliance.

Dr. Jayne Takahashi was the invited facilitator for the course. Other than the workshop content, I took in how she delivered the information. First off, she has amazing posture. She holds herself confidently, her body language says that she’s confident. We all know that body language is a form of communication, but we need to be self-aware on how we come across to clients. I already know and use strategies to make the pets feel more comfortable, but I need to work on making the clients feel this way as well.

One little tidbit from the workshop is the diagram in the photo. I knew right away which personality category I fit into. I liked how Dr. Takahashi described that the clients who you struggle the most to relate with or communicate with are the ones that are diagonal, the complete opposite of you. I also thought about the conflicts my husband has been going through with communicating with his direct supervisor.

I am definitely an Owl - Analytical. I am task and detail oriented, and it doesn’t matter so much about the people or feelings involved as long as we stick to the plan. I’m also deliberate - contemplating decisions for a great amount of time and not quick to make decisions. There are a lot of analytical people as veterinarians. So then we need to put ourselves in others shoes, because pet owners come with all sorts of personality types. Some of them don’t want to know the details of a medical condition, some of them want to know how their pet will ‘feel’, and others want the whole story.

Everyone can work on their communication skills. Self-evaluation is hard! But everyone can sit back and see where they fit into the diagram. Then how do you put yourself in the shoes of others? It will take practice, but as I always say, life is a journey, not a destination. You’re not meant to get to your destination early, so enjoy the process!

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