Step back—so you can put your best foot forward

Aug 01, 2006

It's sometimes hard to transition from the adrenaline of an emergency to greeting a new client who's visiting for a routine appointment. Taking a mini-breather before you approach the reception desk or step into an exam room helps you slow down. "Look at a chart, review, breathe, and count to 10," says Christine Merle, DVM, MBA, CVPM, a consultant with Brakke Consulting in Dallas. "Realize that you need to focus on the moment at hand. The clients who are waiting need you to be present and to recognize that they're important, too."

If a breather doesn't do the trick, you may need to open up to the client. If you've just gone through a very emotional hit-by-car and the animal died, you might tell the client, "I'm sorry, it's going to take me a minute to focus on your pet. An animal was just hit by a car and it didn't make it. Do you mind if I take a moment?" "A lot of times it puts clients at ease to know that they didn't cause your abnormal vibes," Dr. Merle says.