Six Tips for Communicating With Clients With HIV
As an ASO Professional, effectively communicating with clients with HIV is one of the most important parts of your job. It’s what you do all the time, with lots of people—colleagues, clients, doctors, and beyond.1 Talking is the lifeblood of your job and essential to keeping things running smoothly. But from time to time, communication roadblocks can pop up.2 Here’s a quick communication rundown to help get you through some of those tough talking times.
6 TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING
THINK ABOUT YOUR INTENT
Before communicating with clients with HIV, take a moment to review (with yourself) what the intention of your message is. Consider whom you’re going to be talking with and imagine any potential barriers, such as cultural differences or things like gender, age, religion, or socioeconomic situation.2
CONSIDER YOUR DELIVERY2
What you’re communicating with clients with HIV is only half the equation. How you’re communicating is what really matters. Remember that making eye contact can set a person at ease and inspire trust and confidence in you.3 In addition, body language can often speak louder than words.2 Good posture and an open stance can be inviting and help create a smoother dialogue.
PRACTICE ACTIVE LISTENING2
As you know, listening is also a huge part of your job.1 But don’t forget that communication goes both ways. It’s easy to get distracted or multitask while someone is talking. But being a more attentive, active listener can make the speaker feel more appreciated, interesting, and respected.2
You may not always be in total agreement with whomever you’re communicating. However, try to do your best to understand each other and remain polite and respectful. If you are both open to compromise and working together, hopefully you can find a solution that works for everyone.3
TAKE A “COOL OFF” MOMENT
The work you do can often be emotionally charged, and that can affect good communication with clients with HIV. When you or the other party are in an emotional state, it can compromise your objectivity and you might say something you regret—it happens! Take a quick break or even just a pause and a deep breath to help you feel collected and ready to resume.3
PICK THE BEST METHOD2
In this day and age of texting, emailing, and emojis, we can communicate easily at light speed. But ask is that always the best way? Be sure to consider whether a conversation should be verbal, written, face‑to-face, one-on-one, or in a group.2 The way you choose to communicate can make a huge difference in the way your message is received.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. US Department of Labor. Social and Human Service Assistants. Occupational Outlook Handbook. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-and-human-service-assistants.htm#tab-4. Published June 18, 2019. Accessed July 17, 2019.
2. Hills L. Overcoming the ten most common barriers to effective team communication. Podiatry Management. 2014;141-148.
3. Vertino KA. Effective interpersonal communication: a practical guide to improve your life. The Online J Issues Nurs. 2014;19(3):1. doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol19No03Man01.
HVUWCNT190046 August 2019