Going for the jugular

by Shweta Ramkumar

Whenever I book ultrasounds scans for my patients in my radiology 🩻job, I often get requests to book for the ones focusing on the neck soft tissue or blood vessels. One such blood vessel is the jugular vein as pictured below.

This is a vital part of the human body as this vein supplies deoxygenated blood from the brain to the heart🫀 and distributes it to all the organs and tissues in the cranial🧠 and spinal areas of the body. Significant damage to this part of the body can be fatal, no questions asked.

The jugular vein is also used in a very popular English idiom that is closely related to the healthcare industry.

“Going for the jugular”, or in the past tense “went for the jugular”

While its meaning is obvious in cases of physical attacks and assaults, it has deeper implications in everyday life.

It signifies putting someone in an awkward, dangerous or high-pressure position without and gently easing them into it.

For example, I have been guilty of this recently. As I am starting to build my brand and business on LinkedIn, I’m reaching out to connections in my industry, potential clients and podcast hosts to get leads, collaborations 🤝and market my services.

Instead of taking the time to check out their work in detail and building a rapport with them, I have tended to “go straight for the jugular” and have started pitching to them about speaking, interviews, collaborations and to make sales.

I have now learnt the hard way to not do that, and comment on their content, build a rapport before suggesting working together in the future.

Unless your intentions are malicious, “going for the jugular” is never a good idea. Connecting, networking, building trust and credibility are far more vital before ‘getting down to business’.

Have you ever had a scan of the jugular vein done on yourself ?

When was the last time you unintentionally “went for the jugular” when connecting with someone ? What were the consequences of your actions and how did it make you feel ?


Hi, I'm Shweta

I coach non-native English speaking healthcare professionals how to advance in their career and build better relationships with their patients and colleagues by expressing themselves more articulately and confidently in the English language.

I work closely with healthcare professionals who work with patients regularly. I help them improve their communication skills when interacting with patients and colleagues, teach them how to show up authentically, assertively and articulately in their field of work in order for them to ultimately gain credibility, validation and respect.

If you work in a clinical role in the healthcare industry and would like to learn more about how to better connect and communicate openly with your clients / patients, book a complimentary 30 minute discovery call with me to see how I can best support you.

Shweta Ramkumar - English Language Confidence Coach