Many of you know us through our popular series of “Communication Cases” in Trends magazine published by the American Animal Hospital Association for veterinary clinic team members.
As co-authors, we focus on ways to help people enhance their interpersonal skills – especially in the workplace.
Through ICS Inc. we provide training, writing, and consulting to equip adults with the skills and tools to build effective organizations and healthy relationships.
You may ask, what does ICS stand for? Answer: Interpersonal Communication Services – our #1 focus. (We are an educational 501(c)3 organization with details listed on www.guidestar.org.) (Click here for the story of Carolyn’s pathway to offering communication training.)
Both of us bring a background in communication – academic and applied.
Carolyn was awarded her PhD by the State University of New York at Buffalo in interpersonal and organizational communication and has trained managers and team members in businesses as diverse as General Mills and Oracle’s Sun Microsystems. She is a certified Myers-Briggs assessor and trained with Gordon Training International.
John was awarded his master’s degree by the University of Wisconsin and his PhD by the University of Minnesota in communication studies. He has trained civilians and military from classrooms at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh to the air force bases in Dayton Ohio, Shreveport Louisiana, Omaha Nebraska, Peru Indiana, and Marquette, Michigan, and to name a few.
How did we get involved in veterinary communication?
That’s the question we are often asked. We’ve been trainers, teachers and consultants in the areas of interpersonal
and organizational communication for many years – serving religious, educational, corporate and governmental organizations – but are currently devoting most of our time to work with veterinary professionals. It’s a nice place to be, because we get to see and hear about a lot of wonderful companion animals!
It started back in the nineties when Carolyn was Associate Dean for Professional Development at the University of Denver’s Daniels School of Business. She hired a talented writer, Constance Hardesty, to augment her promotions staff, and that launched a long-term relationship that led to veterinary communication.
It happened when Constance became managing editor of Trends magazine published by the American Animal Hospital Association. She knew of Carolyn’s experience in workplace communication and invited her and John to write cases for a new series of communication cases she wanted to launch in veterinary communication.
How different is veterinary communication from that of other businesses? Those of us who study communication and work in different industries see the common issues. Whether working in manufacturing, service, healthcare, education or family, people need skills to enhance listening, confronting, presentation, and dialogue.
Different professions address these same themes with slightly different emphases. In veterinary practice, for example, compassion and empathy are highly valued. Compliance to healthcare directions is another important issue. Building relationships with clients and their animals is central to the health of the animal. And effective communication is central to building this relationship.
Veterinary practices also, not unlike many workplaces, must deal with stress on a regular basis. There is always more to do than there is time to do it. Clients come in with unscheduled emergencies. Vet see many clients who are distressed by the failing health of their pet. Both vet and owner become emotionally attached to these loving pets.
Vet professionals want to get to know their clients and pets, and that often takes more time than is scheduled. Effective communication skills are needed in the rush to get things done. Employees need the skills to prevent or deal with tensions as they arise.
Whether it’s in the veterinary practice or elsewhere, it’s a pleasure helping others unlock some of the simple (but oh-so-difficult) skills that make communication go more smoothly. Employees always appreciate being reminded of what they already know or learning how to replace an ineffective script they learned from childhood with patterns that a more successful.