The ability to communicate effectively with any work arrangement is essential, no matter what industry you work in. In the digital age, Pet Sitters should know how to effectively convey and receive messages in person as well as via phone, email, and video calls.
Here are the top 10 communication skills that will help you be a stand-out Pet Sitter.
1. Picking the Right Medium to communicate through
An important communication skill is to simply know what form of communication to use.
For example, urgent / emergency conversations are always best done via a phone call rather than texting or messaging. This may not be possibly if your client is overseas. Sometimes hotels where clients re staying will have wifi and they may have their tablet or smart phone with them and they can use skype or facetime if you pre arrange it with them. But if they are not fond of technology, then make sure you establish that.
But if your client is a very busy person, you might want to convey your message through email. If you are unsure what channel of communication they prefer, just ask them. People will appreciate your thoughtful means of communication, and will be more likely to respond positively to you.
2. Daily photos & Status updates during the Stay
Being able to appropriately give daily updates is an important communication skill. Pet Sitters should daily look for ways to provide Pet Owners with feedback, with a short message and a photo about how their pet is going will help to relieve their anxiety they are feeling for leaving their pet with a stranger.
This is an example of a photo update of a real pet stay through the PetCloud website
This is another example of a photo update of a real pet stay through the PetCloud website
Your smart phone will also be your best friend to record any concerning pet behaviour to play back to the pet owner upon their return to show them how their pet is without them. Some Owners won't believe their pet is like that unless they are shown.
3. Before the Stay, During the Meet & Greet - Active Listening
Being a good listener is one of the best ways to be a good communicator. No one likes communicating with someone who only cares about putting in their two cents, and does not take the time to listen to the other person. If you're not a good listener, it's going to be hard to comprehend what you're being asked to do.
Take the time to practice active listening. Active listening involves paying close attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the person says to ensure understanding "So, what you're saying is…". Through active listening, Pet Professionals can better understand what the Pet Owner is trying to say, and can respond appropriately.
Types of Listening Skills With Examples
4. Nonverbal Communication
Your body language, eye contact, hand gestures, and tone all color the message you are trying to convey. A relaxed, open stance (arms open, legs relaxed), and a friendly tone will make you appear approachable, and will encourage Pet Owners to speak openly with you.
Eye contact is also important; you want to look the Pet Owner in the eye to demonstrate that you are focused on them and the conversation (however, be sure not to stare at the person, which can make him or her uncomfortable).
Also pay attention to other people's nonverbal signals while you are talking. Often, nonverbal signals convey how a person is really feeling. For example, if the person is not looking you in the eye, he or she might be uncomfortable or hiding the truth.
Nonverbal Communication Skills
How to Use Nonverbal Communication During a Meet & Greet
5. Clarity and Concision
Good communication means saying just enough - don't say too little or talk too much. Try to convey your message in as few words as possible. Say what you want clearly and directly, whether you're speaking to someone in person, on the phone, or via email. If you ramble on, your listener will either tune you out or will be unsure of exactly what you want. Think about what you want to say before you say it; this will help you to avoid talking excessively and/or confusing your audience.
Verbal Communication Skills
Through a friendly tone, a personal question, or simply a smile, you will encourage a Pet Owner to engage in open and honest communication with you. It's important to be nice and polite in all your job communications. This is important in both face-to-face and written communication.
It is important to be confident in all of your interactions with others. Displaying confidence shows Pet Owners that you believe in and will follow through with what you are saying. Exuding confidence can be as simple as making eye contact or using a firm but friendly tone. Of course, be careful not to sound arrogant or aggressive. Be sure you are always listening to and empathizing with the other person.
How to Show Your Personality at a Meet & Greet
Even when you disagree with a Client, it is important for you to understand and respect their point of view. Using phrases as simple as "I understand where you are coming from" demonstrate that you have been listening to the other person and respect their opinions.
A good communicator should enter any conversation with a flexible, open mind. Be open to listening to and understanding the other person's point of view, rather than simply getting your message across. By being willing to enter into a dialogue, even with people with whom you disagree, you will be able to have more honest, productive conversations.
People will be more open to communicating with you if you convey respect for them and their ideas. Simple actions like using a person's name, making eye contact, and actively listening when a person speaks will make the person feel appreciated. On the phone, avoid distractions and stay focused on the conversation. Convey respect through messages on PetCloud by taking the time to edit your message. If you send a sloppily written, confusing email, the recipient may think you do not respect them enough to think through your communication with them.