Communication Tips

With Chris Tomkinson

BA Political Science UNSW/ Dip Performing Arts [Theatre] WAAPA

What influences a persons’ ability to communicate?

“The key quality is the ability to both ‘give and receive’ – communicating what you need to and being aware of how that message is affecting your ‘interlocutor’. It helps if you can be conscious of how your own emotional state is influencing your reaction to the conversation.”

What role does listening play into communication with clients?

“It can’t really be over emphasised. The trickiest part is probably when we have to ‘listen’ for the non-verbal cues in things like tone and body language.”

When do most people learn about communicating effectively?

“Our communications habits are developed over a lifetime, we never stop learning – or, at least, we have the capacity to keep learning. As kids we learn what works with our parents, family and friends and we (hopefully) grow from there. As we pass through ‘the seven ages of man’ (as Shakespeare called it) we change and what we bring to each conversation changes. It’s one of those areas in life that can be constantly evolving, refining and improving.”

What is the #1 thing most vets get wrong about communicating with clients?

“Like most people we get caught up in our own emotional state and let it cloud our ability to give and receive, so we either become too reticent in putting forward our case or overly emphatic in doing so. Either way we’ve stopped attending to the two-way flow of information required for effective communication.”

How do you recommend addressing sensitive or embarrassing topics?

“A useful first step is to acknowledge how the situation makes you feel and ask how the people you are talking to feel. It can be a challenge for the ego to do this, but can create a useful platform for developing a constructive conversation.”

If you would like Chris to do an in-clinic workshop contact us here