Colourful CPD’s model for veterinary communication training is called The Colourful Consultation®. Brian has delivered his Colourful Consultation® model in over 25 countries around the world at conferences as well as private training events.
Colourful Consultation® training is delivered either as a stand-alone talk or in combination with in-consultation observations and coaching.
Colourful Consultation Talk
The Colourful Consultation talk takes 2 hours
This talk is ideal as an ‘All-vets’ evening meeting as well as for conferences or keynote addresses.
The talk covers the 5 crucial steps of a successful veterinary consultation.
- The primary consultation
- The follow-up re-check
- The vaccination and health check (primary and annual)
- The long-term medic re-prescription check
The Colourful Consultation focuses mainly on the psychology behind our clinical reasoning AND our ability to communicate our reasoning to the client in a way that they perceive our preferred approach, and what we charge, as ‘right and fair’.
The session will briefly highlight some of the core challenges associated with the other consultations; for example, why the follow-up consultation can sometimes be ‘a fight about money waiting to happen’.
The 5 crucial steps primary consultation are discussed.
Understanding the relevance of both the clinical and the non-clinical histories as well as the art of active listening required to acquire this information effectively and efficiently.
The Clinical Exam
Instead of teaching you how to do an exam, which you already know, the talk will explain when and how to articulate both visible and non-visible clinical findings to the client.
The PDS Link
The PDS Link stage ‘links’ the information gathering stages of the consultation (history and exam) to the options stage of the consultation. P stands for the Problem List, D stands for ho to create and express our differentials diagnoses list and S stands for the 3 core clinical strategies available to us in order to resolve the patient’s symptoms; either treat the most likely suspected cause of the symptoms (the reactive strategy), pursue a definitive diagnosis (proactive strategy) or euthanasia.
The Consensus conversation
In order to acquire meaningful consent, we must achieve a consensus with the client about which strategy to pursue in the circumstances. We must strike a balance between giving enough information to achieve ‘informed consent’ versus ‘over-explaining’ that can confuse the client. We need to incorporate probabilities of success or complications, as well as costs and practical considerations when discussing options with clients. We also need to be able to express our preferred clinical approach but without coming across as if we are just ‘selling’ products and services to the client.
The Business End
The Business End of the consultation refers to billing up, getting paid and completing the consultation on time.
Managing the emotional impact of uncertainty and urgency when consulting
A key component of The Colourful Consultation talk relates to recognising and coping with stress resulting from the inherent uncertainty and urgency associated with veterinary medical practice. Brian’s stress equation is “Stress = Uncertainty x Urgency”.
This talk helps vets recognise, understand and manage the impact of uncertainty related to diagnosing the cause of symptoms with limited information acquirable by our physical senses. Furthermore, this potential for anxiety is magnified by time pressure as this creates further feelings of ‘urgency’ on top of the urgency we may already feel due to the mature of the clinical presentation.
Vet Consultation Observations
Brian has observed over 1,000 veterinary consultations as part of his Colourful Consultation coaching.
Each vet is observed consulting for 2 hours with alternate consultations blocked-out to make time for feedback. In other words, the session lasts for around 4-5 consultations.
Brian understands how potentially uncomfortable this can be for some vets and that some vets worry that they are being examined, judged or tested. Some vets worry that the client will thing they have done something wrong, or need to be supervised, when they see someone in the room making notes. In fact, Brian has found that clients say the opposite; if they assume he is an inspector and most are at pains to point out how good they believe the practice is and usually ‘this vet in particular’.
Every now and again someone thinks that Brian is a student seeing practice…which he likes as he’s often older than the client in the room 😊
Either way, Brian takes the view that if after the 2-hour session, that the vet does not feel that it was useful and constructive, Brian believes that he has not done his job well!
This should be a positive experience and 99% of the vets that have it, appreciate the help it gives.
In fact, Brian normally finds that 99% of the vets he observes clearly ‘know their stuff’. Many just need to be reassured that they do! Many also benefit from a little guidance on the psychology behind how they explain it. For example, clients believe that a vet sounds much more credible if they say, “The most common causes of this symptom are A, B and C”, compared to saying “These symptoms could be caused by A, B or C”. The exact same information said in a much more assertive manner.
Colourful CPD Day
Brian’s Colourful Consultation training can also be enjoyed as part of a Colourful CPD Day which incorporates 4 tutorials, each lasting 2 hours. Options include:
- The Colourful Consultation for the vet team
- The Colourful Nurse for veterinary nurse consultations
- The Colourful Receptionist
- Two-hour review of the practice’s performance with the practice owners and management
Some practices duplicate sessions in order to facilitate all members of staff being able to attend whilst others are ‘covering the shop’. Please email Brian on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss prices and logistics.