Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 2019

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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Page 35 of 71

Communication 32 Today's Veterinary Business What if you had the power to turn hostile situations into constructive conversation? You already do. You're called upon to deliver bad news to clients, reprimand employees, and diffuse difficult people and situations. Issac Newton said, "Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy." Communication DIALOG As a leader, you want to do what's needed to get the job done. As a professional, you want to be a role model for how to turn hostility into harmony. Diplomacy is more than saying or doing the right things at the right time; it is avoiding saying or doing the wrong things at any time. Words can become weapons, so arm yourself instead with ad - vanced communication skills. Ready, Aim, Speak It's an indulgence to just react. How do you fast-forward through frustration? Sam Horn offers valu - able advice in "Tongue Fu! How to Deflect, Disarm and Defuse Any Verbal Conflict." Her goal is to teach us how to deal with difficult people without becoming one. Here, customized for you, is the essence of her recommendations, which she calls "martial arts for the mind and the mouth." Step 1: Ask yourself, "How would I feel if this were happening to me?" Consider the situation from the other person's point of view. You can shame him or you can shape him. Take the time to find out what's causing the bad be- havior so that you can work on solutions together. Tempering your temper accordingly turn exaspera- tion into empathy. Scenario: A veterinary nurse makes the same mistake again. You, reactive: "You say you want to improve, but you always act before you think." Or you, proactive: "I know you want to do well and it's important that this be done correctly. Let's break it down and see where the problem is so that next time you'll have mastered the procedure." Scenario: A pet owner is angry about the size of the bill. You, re- active: "Look, we took care of your pup's emergency surgery, but you don't seem to appreciate that. This is a business, not a charity." You, proactive: "You're upset and I un- derstand that. We're both pleased that Duke is going to be fine. Let's talk about how we can work with you on a payment plan." Try substituting "and" for "but" to change the tone without avoid- ing the situation. You become a coach instead of a critic. Avoid Hitting Hot Buttons Step 2: You know the trigger words that anger you: "You never …," "You always …," "You should have …," and "You have to …." Let the force be with you. Vow to re- move those incendiary words from your vocabulary toolkit. How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you. Flying off the handle when you are irritated or putting someone in their place when they've tried your patience reveals more about you than the offender. And it's just not helpful. Being kind takes strength, yet the loyalty earned is worth it. Scenario: Your practice manager admits she's allowed too many employees to take vacation at the same time. You, reactive: "You should have paid more attention! You never have been able to say 'no' when you should." You, proactive: "Let's develop an office policy that From critic to coach Turn hostility into harmony by responding proactively, rather than reactively, when conflict arises. By Judy Gray

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