Recent reports to the VCMS have shown an increased tension and hostility towards vets from members of the public. Following on from the coronavirus pandemic, one of the major issues our resolution team deals with is how to improve communication and raised emotions.
In today’s article, we look at how to manage emotions when communicating both as a member of the public and as a veterinary professional.
No matter what your role may be in a veterinary office, one often needs to interact and communicate with colleagues and clients when emotions are running high. Communicating successfully, despite extreme emotions, is key to relationship building and conflict resolution.
It goes without saying that emotions and emotional exchanges are unavoidable. The key is to learn how we can effectively navigate a conversation when emotions are high.
Frustrations are a daily part of our lives and none more so when facing members of the public whose expectations and emotions are high. As a professional one wants to provide and deliver the very best service and client care within the treatment that one provides. Of course, despite all of our best efforts, things may not turn out how we want or how a client wishes.
Frustration, naturally, can arise when expectations and reality do not align. When frustrations do arise it is important that, if faced with hostility and rising emotions, we can successfully navigate the scenario through understanding, de-escalation and a move towards a solution.
Understanding, whilst not fully agreeing, can be a difficult concept to grasp. As a professional, true listening and true understanding of a client’s concerns about a complaint is extremely important in building a bridge to a solution. In scenarios when faced with an emotional client, it becomes even more important to understand their point of view, stay within the concern through acknowledgement and moving towards a resolution. As a client, likewise it is vital to remember that your vet has your animal’s best interests at heart and through fair and clear communication one can get to the heart of the matter much more quickly than through an emotional interaction.
Straightforward verbal communication usually focuses on facts and data, while nonverbal communication adds your emotions to the message being delivered. A mixture of both verbal and non-verbal communication is important to ensure that your message and feelings are successfully communicated and give the other party the best chance of understanding what it is you are trying to say.
If, as a professional, you find yourself in an emotional situation it is important to recognise how your body and mind is reacting in order to maintain calm and composure. Trying to relax and focus on delivering positive emotion can help and statements that acknowledge the situation, how the person is feeling and what they are looking to achieve can help to diffuse the situation and move towards a more acceptable form of communication.
Staying calm in heated situations is never easy. We have put together a list of useful techniques that can assist you in staying on message and not allowing your emotions to control the way you communicate.
Letting our emotions get the best of us in the form of raised voices, abusive language and anger certainly does not help the situation. By managing our emotions, keeping calm and not arguing we can be more patient and understanding.
Naturally, complaints and issues can occur and by being more patient we may be able to mitigate this. However, when a complaint or issue is raised the VCMS is on hand to assist through our neutral and impartial mediation.
Contact our team via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0345 040 5834 for more information and to speak to a dedicated member of our team.