Art of communication
Outline skills to establish future success in veterinary careers
Nov 01, 2006
Years of study and knowledge amount to nothing if veterinary graduates fail in the communication department.
It's tough but true. Communication connects you with your patients, their owners and colleagues to share plans, brainstorm on problem solving and transfer information.
How we act, look, dress and smell plays an important role in our physical presentation. But failing to understand differences between people and their communication styles can skew your message. That's why delivery is equally important.My advice: Learn to communicate to people depending on the many attributes they present to you in practice.
Know your audience
Audience age demographics are typical communication features. Each group might require a different approach to the same message. This can relate not only to the message itself and your means of delivering it but to your body language and personal appearance. Speaker and management consultant Marilyn Moats Kennedy describes the age demographic groups as follows:
Pre-boomers: 57 and older
Know whom you are talking to, paying special detail to the education and position of your audience. Communication with a client who is a doctor, farmer, lawyer, laborer, housewife, student or child will require different methods.
Your training also has concentrated on communicating with other veterinarians, so be sure the person you are communicating with understands what you are trying to say.
Cultural and educational background should be considered. Be aware of your neighborhood, especially if people from different cultures make up your clientele.
Gender, generally speaking
Gender-related differences also are evident in psychological conditions, such as those exhibited by a distressed client.
How to build trust, rapport
Trust and rapport with clients must be established as well as earned. Show interest in your clients' personal lives, compliment them on how they care for their animals and encourage them to ask questions. Let clients know that you care for them and their animals and that your primary motive is not simply collecting your fee.
The same principles work with coworkers and others.
Every communication process is made of four basic elements: sender, message, receiver and interpretation.
The receiver determines the meaning of the message based on many factors, and the most important is trust and rapport that they have with the sender. Before you attempt to communicate, you must first build that trust and rapport with the person you are communicating with.
Most important: Think about what you want to say before you say it. This common advice rings true for all forms of communication.