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CVC report: Are you everyone's favorite team member?
Find out how you can be your veterinary practices MVP with these tips from Heather Prendergast, RVT, CVPM, in her CVC D.C. session, Becoming the Indispensable Team Member.
While hard skills are necessary for a job, soft skills can be equally, if not more, important. And part of becoming an indispensable team member is to hone these skills, says Heather Prendergast, RVT, CVPM, in her CVC D.C. session “Becoming the Indispensable Team Member.” Consider these tips to boost your status at your practice:
> Keep mission, vision and values in mind. You want to ensure your actions and demeanor are in line with and reflective of the mission, vision and values of the practice, as well as your own personal mission, vision and set of values.
> Improve your communication with clients. You want clients to come in and request you specifically.
> Record yourself in the exam room to watch your tone, facial expression and body language. These can quickly-and inadvertently-alter the atmosphere and your ability to reach your clients.
> Use good posture. While it's tempting to lean on the exam table or counters available, stand up straight, don't slouch and maintain eye contact. The exception to the eye contact rule: In certain Asian cultures extended eye contact is offensive.
> Avoid negative and dead-end statements. Replace “I don't know” with, “That's a great question. Let me find out.” And try to adjust your vocabulary to more professional terms, such as “vaccinations” instead of “shots” and “ovariohysterectomy” instead of “fixed.”
> Avoid barriers. Step out from around the table, don't cross your arms and move swiftly and with a purpose in the clinic. If clients see you walking or moving slowly, they may interpret it as apathy. Also attempt to be eye level or slightly below eye level when discussing options with clients. Approaching from above can come across as authoritative, and they may subconsciously shut you out.
> Evaluate your SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. What strengths do you have, not just technically but your soft skills? Work ethic and problem solving aren't skills easily taught.
Identifying your weaknesses will lead you towards area in which you can focus on improvement. And identifying opportunities for personal and professional growth may lead you to new responsibilities-and promotions or raises-at work.
What threats exist to your job and where is there room for a threat to grow? What can you do to mitigate this? While self-evaluation is invaluable, consider asking your supervisors. Conversations with supervisors and coworkers can help you identify problems or perceived problems and find solutions to correct both the issue and the perception.
Valerie Foos is a veterinary technician student in Loudoun, Virginia.