We live in a really fast paced society, and with that comes the need to have information fed to us at increasingly quick levels. The e-article "Is Google Making us Stupid?" provides a great synapsis of our current situation as a human race. We want information, answers, stuff, food, gratification, results, and by golly, we want it now! With this mentality and current state however, we tend to gloss over details to speed things up.
This same expectation and human behavior has spilled over into the veterinary exam room. This human need "to speed things up" has also seemingly decreased people's ability to listen to what we're saying. And if they do listen to some of what we're trying to tell them, within minutes, this concentrated focus is interrupted by the beep of an incoming text message. Maybe it's a blank stare that clues us in, or even a question that we've already provided the answer to... but when people don't hear what we say, it's super frustrating.
When someone pays for services, they are paying for time. In many cases, they are also paying for an opinion. What good does it serve to enter into this service situation without listening? And who is really losing out? In the end, it's the pet, who could've benefited from an open and attentive mind, and professional services. Here are a few examples of how the lack of listening plays out in the animal service world:
1. I'm going to tell you everything I know because I need to make myself look good. And, then I'm going to tell you how to do your job.
2. I'm going to ask your opinion, not once, but twice. And then, I'm going to do what I want to do anyway.
3. I'm going to play "Devil's Advocate", which tells me, the service provider, that you've not heard a thing I've just said. You're holding onto your own opinion and not entertaining mine.
1. I'm going to listen to you briefly, look at my watch, and then move on to tell you what I think is wrong with your pet. I haven't addressed (heard) what your important concerns are and I'm on a schedule.
2. I provide a one-size fits all treatment plan. It doesn't matter what you're telling me, because in my mind, I fit most situations into three or so common treatment options.
3. I offer up treatment options that are pie in the sky. Good, but I never listened to the fact that you're on a budget. Then, I'm going to make you feel badly for declining my A-Game treatment option.
Listening and the art of effective communication is a two way street. It's quickly becoming a lost art however, where people are losing the value of showing respect via the of hearing what's being shared. Without effective communication, any situation, especially that of service provider and client can get really frustrating. How can we improve this?
Jen Ortman, owner of Holistipet (LLC) is a Professional Animal Communicator, Animal Reiki Master Teacher, author, and speaker.