Interacting with Veterinary Clientele: Body Language & Written Skills

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  • 0:01 Body Language
  • 0:33 Examples of Body Language
  • 2:21 Written Language
  • 3:53 Putting it all Together
  • 5:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson will go over the importance and examples of body language when interacting with clientele, as well as the importance of good written communication in a clinical setting.

Body Language

It's said that the majority of communication is non-verbal. Just imagine talking to someone who is talking back at you but checking their phone at the same time. To me, there's no way they can be paying full attention to both, even if they are nodding and pretending like they're listening to every word you've just said.

There's a lot more to body language than that. Body language is a method of nonverbal communication using physical behavior. This lesson will focus on the importance of body language in communication with clientele and some key things about written language skills as well.

Examples of Body Language

Let me start off by giving you a list of body language cues. You tell me which one is an example of good body language and which one is an example of bad body language:

  • Looking at your watch
  • Narrowing the eyes
  • Picking things off of your clothing (hair, lint, etc.)
  • Looking away
  • Crossing the arms
  • Using a fake smile

Which one of the choices was an example of a good body language skill when talking to a person? Well, none of the above: they're all examples of bad body language, body language that sends a signal to another person that you are not interested in hearing what they have to say, or worse, are hostile to them.

Now, try to think of some good body language examples on your own before moving on here. When you're ready, here are just a few:

  • Making eye contact
  • Nodding your head
  • A firm handshake
  • Keeping hands out of pockets
  • Smiling with your mouth and eyes

And of course, plenty more. Body language can be broken down into many different components, including:

  • The eyes: maintain the right amount of eye contact
  • Gesture and posture: is the body relaxed or really stiff?
  • Touch: is physical contact appropriate to the situation?

Let me give you an example of a client I had come in to the clinic and see if you can tell me what his body language indicated: he was standing in front of me, clenched jaw, frowning, arms firmly crossed in front of him, while swinging his hips side to side.

Without him having to say a word, what would you think his mood was? Well, he wasn't in a very good mood, because his cats were urinating all over the house as I found out after he started verbal communication with me. He was pretty agitated and angry.

Written Language

Beyond verbal communication, listening and body language, you'll sometimes have to use written communication in your day to day activities. Written communication is communication involving written, as opposed to spoken, word. As in the case of e-mails, letters, cards and notes.

Let's take a look at a bad case of written communication when it comes down to a professional clinical setting. In this case, we'll pretend we're sending a card to a client who just lost their beloved pet: 'Im very sry dat ur cat died 2day.'

Sure, most everyone will be able to unscramble that mess but it is utterly unprofessional, disrespectful and makes you and the entire clinic you work with look very bad. Even though written communication may mean well, poor spelling and grammar can really change the 'tone,' so to speak, of the words just as much as body language can change the meaning of spoken word.

In addition to all of that is handwriting. Many times you'll have to write things by hand. Yes, it's the 21st century and technology is everywhere, but good handwriting is important not only for professional reasons, but also legal reasons. What I mean is if there is some sort of legal problem, and your notes are unintelligible, that may really hurt the clinic in a legal battle. Always write clearly, use ink (not pencils) and don't use cursive.

And remember one final important point: keep things professional! Keep written communication short and to the point. Emotions cannot be read very well in written form and thus, just stick to the important stuff.

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