Pets aren't the only ones barking and howling for attention at your veterinary practice. If you think about it, you and your
team members' conversation tactics often mimic the behaviors of the patients you care for—although you're decidedly more wordy.
Here are four animalistic communication styles. Take a look to see which best describes you. (Better yet, test yourself on
dvm360.com by searching for "communication quiz.") Then get to work learning when to howl and when to purr.
Growl to get your way
Why you deserve a treat: If you classify yourself as this type of communicator—and according to a recent dvm360.com survey, 24 percent of you do—you're
not afraid to strongly voice your opinion. This serves you well in large-group settings. For instance, when the practice owner
asks a question of the team in a staff meeting, you're willing to answer and get the discussion started. As a result, your
co-workers might come to view you as a leader. This could end up netting you additional responsibilities and even promotions.
Why you need obedience school: Some people might think you present your ideas too forcefully. "Growlers are dominant personalities," says Dr. W. Andrew
Rollo, an associate at Madison Veterinary Hospital in Madison Heights, Mich., and a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member. "As a result, they can ruin the team's harmony." But don't ditch your assertiveness, just
be cognizant of your tone. Soften your approach if team members grimace. And be sure you listen as often as you speak.
Also be careful that your interactions with team members don't turn into dogfights. Consider this scenario: A new employee
is struggling with how to encourage clients to schedule follow-up visits. Jackie, the head receptionist, barks the script
the employee is supposed to follow, getting louder every time the employee asks a question.
No translators necessary
Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR, owner of interFace Veterinary HR Systems LLC in Appleton, Wis., says Jackie needs to remember
what it's like to be the newbie at a practice. Instead of yelling, Jackie should calmly explain the rationale behind the script
the practice has adopted. She'll help the new employee grasp the concept by saying something along the lines of, "I realize
there's a lot to learn. However, we need everyone to offer consistent client messages. Let's review the script together so
I can explain anything you don't understand."