Learning to use non-verbal communication is vital to improving your client relationships in your salon. It is so important that understanding non-verbal communication cues may mean the difference between retaining a client or losing them to your competitor.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
Non-verbal communication is a form of social language that is richer and more informative than the spoken words accompanying them. The non-verbal cues we use when speaking reflect our inner emotions, and most of the time we are not even aware of it. So no matter how friendly we are sounding, our body language and facial expressions will give away how we are really feeling inside. Most of us are unconscious of our own non-verbal communication but find it easier to pick up on non-verbal cues from others.
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” Peter F, Drucker.
There are many conflicting studies when deciding just how much the percentage of non-verbal communication is part of our language, but current studies suggest an average of 60-90%. Whatever the true percentage is, the significance of non-verbal communication cannot be denied.
Creating the right impression on your client and building a rapport should be of significant importance to you in maintaining a profitable and successful business. Noticing non-verbal exchanges in a conversation with you and your client can reveal a lot about whether you or your client are really feeling what you are saying.
WHAT IS NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION?
Non-verbal communication is where there is no sound or noise but intentions or actions are still understood. Facial expressions and body language are also considered non-verbal clues to how a person is feeling. Other non-verbal languages include; hand gestures, clothing, appearance and hygiene, spatial boundaries and touch.
Differences in culture can sometimes present problems with decoding a persons non-verbal communication but the majority of facial expressions are universally understood.
First impressions can rely heavily on non-verbal communication so learning non-verbal language skills can be invaluable in making a first impression on your clients.
TYPES OF NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION.
Learning to link your non-verbal communication with your words is important to convey an authentic and trustworthy demeanour. So let’s look at the various ways you can improve your client interactions by being mindful of your non-verbal language.
CLOTHING AND APPEARANCE.
The clothing that you and your staff wear in your salon play a large role in the visual assessment of you and your salon. Clothing can convey a lot about the culture of your business. Do your staff look shabby and mismatched? or do you have a standard dress code that properly portrays your salons’ vision? Clothing is an expression of your business, so think about how your salon is perceived on the first impression.
Similarly, personal hygiene can convey a lot about a person. A person with poor hygiene standards will generally be viewed as lazy, uncaring and less driven. The same goes for the appearance of your salon environment. An unclean, dusty or outdated salon my deter a client from even considering your services.
Remember, first impressions are extremely important as they are formed in the first 7 seconds of an encounter. Also, humans tend to become very attached to first impressions and find it difficult to change that first opinion. So
Most of us are aware that certain postures are crucial in deciphering the demeanour of a person. Standing tall, shoulders back, and open hand gestures with palms showing are all considered a display of confidence and honesty. While standing in a slouched position with hunched shoulders or arm crossed can all convey a negative or apathetic attitude. So try to take note of how you and your staff are portraying themselves through their postures and make corrections where possible.
Using open postures has a positive effect on your clients as these postures re-enforce that you are involved and attentive to what is being said. Leaning forward is also a display of interest. Body language experts all agree that postures congruent with speech lead to a more favourable and trusting view of the person talking. Forming a trusting and comfortable relationship with your clients couldn’t be of more importance to your business, so why not use all the tools you have available to encourage bonding.
Gestures can be made with the hands, arms, and body but also include facial movements such as eye rolling, winking, blink rate and nodding. When conversing with your clients or even your staff, it is imperative that your gestures and facial expressions are congruent with what you are trying to say.
It is believed that women are much more adapt at reading non-verbal cues due to child-rearing, as babies and small children mainly communicate through non-verbal means. It is likely that a large part of your clientele
Distrust is very likely to occur if your facial and hand gestures are not in-line with your words. Have you ever had a conversation with someone you don’t know very well but come away with a sense of unease or distrust for that person? This is due to the subtle signs displayed by that person that you may not even be aware of. Negative gestures include looking away often, shuffling, body blocking with a bag or other object which creates a physical barrier, using too many hand gestures or wringing hands together, swallowing or even increased
Using positive non-verbal techniques such as head nodding and tilting your head to one side while a client is speaking conveys a sense of interest and agreeableness. Coupled with a smile, this a very powerful and comforting action.
It is thought that by tilting your head to the side while listening, you are exposing the most vulnerable part of yourself, which is your neck. This indicates to the speaker that you trust them and are intently listening to what they are saying. To read more about active listening and how to improve your client consultations go to https://www.getneko.com/the-key-to-mastering-client-consultations/
Eye contact is a very significant part of any conversation. Good eye contact with your client is a non-verbal way to indicate interest and that you are giving the speaker your full attention. We have all experienced conversations with someone where they are clearly distracted or looking around the room. This is a sure fire way to make your client feel unimportant and not your priority.
The biggest issue atributed to poor non-verbal communication is our electronic devices. Checking your phone when conversing with a client is really sending a message that you are distracted and the phone is more important than your client. Please refrain from allowing access to mobile phones in your salon during working hours as not only does it convey rudeness, it also breaks your concentration from the task at hand. Your clients are paying good money for a service and deserve to be treated with respect.
Most experts agree that maintaining eye contact for around 60-70% of a conversation is a comfortable amount of time for both parties. While staring intently for too long can make a person feel very uncomfortable. So don’t try to force your amount of eye contact but try to remain engaged and undistracted. The avoidance of eye contact is usually seen as a sign of shiftiness, disinterest or disagreement. Something you really
SPATIAL BOUNDARIES AND TOUCH
The salon provides unique opportunities to use touch as a type of non-verbal language. Clients expect to be touched and have a staff member in close proximity to their bodies, where, in usual circumstances, the distance between people is usually much larger. This type of close contact is usually only reserved for more familiar relationships that are formed from trust and closeness.
So this puts you at a great advantage to gain trust very quickly from your clients. Have you ever wondered why your clients open up to you about their private lives so quickly? Whether it be hair, face or body treatments, studies show that the closeness of the work can give a client a sense of intimacy very quickly.
WALK THE TALK
If you really want to make an impact on your clients and build strong authentic relationships, combining your non-verbal language with your spoken words in a congruent manner is imperative. You may not have realised it by now but your non-verbal communication style really does speak volumes. The old adage, “Actions speak louder than words” really does have merit in today’s business world.
Using the right verbal cues not only assist us to communicate better but also to connect on a deeper level. Something we should all be striving for in the salon business.
I hope this blog article has encouraged you to become aware of your own personal non-verbal language and to improve upon it.
If any readers of this blog have any topics they would like to read about in the future, feel free to comment below with a suggestion.
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