Effective communication is likely the most valuable skill a salon owner or manager can possess. Being able to convey a message in theory is easily achieved, however this can be one of the most difficult life skills to master. With clients to serve and a staff to motivate, knowing how to clearly express ideas is closely tied to the success, or lack thereof, of the business.
Excelling as a communicator requires that you learn to listen, understand, encourage, and influence. Here are several essential techniques suggested for improving your communication skills in the salon:
Respect the Listener
Attitude drives most interactions. Your emotions will show through to the listener so it’s important to keep the delivery of your message respectful, clear and as positive as possible. Listeners who sense tension and negativity will tend to react in kind, so think before you speak.
Power of Enthusiasm
The energy exuded through verbal interactions and body language matters, as excitement and anxiety are both contagious. When energy is depleted it’s difficult to move a conversation forward. For the best possible outcome engage the receiver through your own enthusiasm - Show passion for the topic at hand and they’ll be more likely to respond favorably.
Encourage, Not Offend
Think of employees as frontline ambassadors for your business. Staff that feels valued and respected will perform at their best. Make every effort to treat them fairly and avoid talking down to anyone, regardless of their position or rank at the salon. Remember that employees are your greatest assets and that they need to be shown appreciation for their contributions.
Be an Active Listener
Active listening is an overlooked quality of winning communication. Dialogue is give-and-take and, even with disagreements, you must be present, attentive, and engaged. Close off all distractions and focus on the person or persons in the conversation. They’ll be more willing to speak openly once you’ve proven that you’re earnestly listening.
Stay Open Minded
There are many paths to success. Invite your staff to share their opinions and show a willingness to consider their suggestions without being overly critical. Keeping an open mind allows others to be heard and can provide alternate strategies you may not have otherwise considered.
A Thoughtful Delivery
Courtesy is a key trait of master communicators. Though seemingly small efforts, the use of “please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” evoke a positive response and further convey respect, so say it and mean it. A little appreciation really does go a long way!
If you want to harness an uplifting and profitable business, learn to excel at communication. Employee relations will thrive, salon operations will run smoothly and customers stay happy. While it’s certainly not easy the effort is well worth it, producing results you can literally take the bank.
Jim Bower is the founder of Floydware, LLC and Rosy Salon Software. He is a former salon and spa owner with over 30 years of experience in the industry.