Management Practices

One on One with Rochelle Mucha, Ph.D.

Stacey Soble | July 10, 2011 | 2:43 PM
The Power of Presence
Presence can make the difference between canned customer service and truly stellar customer service.

One on One with Rochelle Mucha, Ph.D.

To research her new book, Aesthetic Intelligence: Reclaiming the Power of Your Senses, Rochelle Mucha, Ph.D., studied two theater groups, discovering a culture she believes would be the envy of any business organization. Mucha’s informal observations as a client at Aria Salon Shoppe, owned by Matthew and Mechelle Khodayari in Alpharetta, Georgia, also contributed to the book.

Her book reveals how business and the performing arts intersect to fuel creativity and innovation by facilitating robust relationships in a diverse and global marketplace.

Mucha spoke with us about the power of presence and how salon owners can shape the performance they give their audience—their clients.

What do you mean by presence?
I’m referring to everything that a client experiences from the moment they walk in. It’s not just the physical arrangement that impacts how they feel, it’s what they see, the conversations they overhear, the energy and pace of the staff, how the chair they sit in feels. What they see, smell, hear, touch, taste  combine to form the sixth sense, which is intuition. Put all the impressions together and you’ve formed a production, and the clients are your audience.

Listen to the podcast!
Rochelle Mucha, Ph.D. is the author of Aesthetic Intelligence: Reclaiming the Power of Your Senses. For this book, which reveals how business and the performing arts intersect to fuel creativity and innovation, Mucha cites interesting observations from the salon she patronizes--Aria Salon Spa Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Are you suggesting that, like a performance, everything should be scripted?

No, you can’t have every interaction and movement scripted. I am suggesting that everyone in the salon have an awareness that every action and every word is being watched and listened to.

For example, let’s take a normal scenario that happens in the salon—a product or tool goes missing. It’s human for the frustrated stylist to accuse someone else, to ask, “Who stole my...?” You can help your staff have an awareness that their conversations with each other are on display. They need to know when to say, “Let’s talk about it later.”

Your book pulls information about your own experience at your salon, Aria. Can you share something about that experience?
After coming to Mechelle for years, I noticed that she was always at a different station and I asked her why. She explained that as the owner and master stylist, she switches chairs on purpose and often, so no one chair takes on a position of power. It’s her way of leveling the playing field and encouraging teamwork.

Rochelle Mucha will be a featured guest speaker at Serious Business 2010. For more information and tickets, visit

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