The best laid plans…

Excited to practice my new communication skills (see my recent post about the FRANK Communication Workshop I attended), I picked up the phone to dial my 4:30 consultation about some rabbits. The client lived far away and had questions regarding her “herd” of about 100 rabbits (started as a 4-H project). The staff had warned me this would be a challenging conversation.

An hour later, I sighed as I hung up the phone, having barely used ANY of my newly honed skills. In fact, I barely got a word in edgewise.

Luckily, we pre-arranged payment by credit card at a rate of $25 per 15 minutes, because apparently it was not possible to spend less than 20 minutes on the phone with her. And she had a LOT of questions.

Wisely, I opened a blank Word document to take notes during our call. Trying to keep up with what could most aptly be described as “verbal diarrhea” was nearly impossible. I thought my notes would be helpful for practicing my reflective listening–ha! I could have set the phone down, walked away for 5-10 minutes, come back, and she still would have been talking. I literally had to interrupt numerous times to clarify important details or make what I hoped was a useful contribution to the discussion. I’m pretty sure I never asked an open-ended question and lord knows I never had a chance to pause!!

To my pleasant surprise, I could hear her trying to wrap things up as the clock ticked closer to 60 minutes. I asked if the conversation had been helpful for her, and she said yes.

In fact, she will try to bring a couple of her rabbits to come see me some time. I wonder what that will be like?

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5 Comments

Filed under Communication

5 responses to “The best laid plans…

  1. Kelly H.

    What a strange feeling. With clients like that, I always wonder how they could truly feel like I helped them when I barely got to say a complete thought. Odd.

  2. Jon Klingborg

    I hope you found the book Exam Room Communication for Veterinarians to be worthwhile. . . trying to put into words both the ‘science’ and ‘art’ part of what we do is tricky! I’m delighted that UC Davis Veterinary School has made it part of their required reading for the communication course taught to veterinary students, and will hope that other schools also look at this for their fledgling veterinarians as well! I’d also be interested to know your thoughts on the FRANK Communication Workshop!

  3. Cee

    The woman has symptoms of ADD or ADHD. Perhaps look up more info on communicating with such people. She may have a lot of good info. My experience and those of open-minded vets is that there is quite a bit they don’t teach in vet school. http://www.Catinfo.org – a noncommercial site by a veterinarian.

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