Interpersonal Skills

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With this BLOG I wanted to share my learnings in Interpersonal Skills.

As hairdressers we need to learn the technical part of hairdressing (skills) and we also need to communicate effectively to build great relations with our clientele for long term growth.  When we master both we hit the “jackpot”. We retain and grow our clientele because we are producing great work but more importantly, our client enjoys “connecting” with us on a personal level, which ultimately creates a great advocate for you and your business.

Interpersonal skills matter because none of us live in a bubble (some of us choose to). In our industry, we have to communicate and interact with clients on an hourly basis. Good interpersonal skills make the interactions with them smoother and more pleasant, they allow us to build better and longer-lasting relationships at work and in life.

It is no exaggeration to say that interpersonal skills are the foundation for success in life. Hairdressers with strong interpersonal skills work well with clients, and the salon team. It is therefore worth spending time developing really good interpersonal skills.

Interpersonal skills are sometimes referred to as “social skills” or “life skills” that we use every day when we communicate and interact with people. They include a wide range of skills, but particularly communication skills such as listening and effective speaking. They also include the ability to control and manage your emotions.

You can improve your interpersonal skills by developing your awareness of how you interact with others and practising your skills everyday (it’s a work in progress). 

You already have Interpersonal Skills which you have been developing since childhood, usually subconsciously. Interpersonal skills often become so natural that we take them for granted, never thinking about how we communicate with other people. If you have developed good habits, this is fine. However, it’s also possible to develop bad habits, and then fail to understand why your losing clients or unable to get along with the rest of the team.

Communication is far more than the words that come out of your mouth. There’s a reason why we have two ears and one mouth, and that you should listen twice as much as you talk.

Firstly let’s look at 3 key areas, within our communication skills:  Verbal, Non Verbal and Listening.

  • Listening is definitely not the same as hearing. One of the most important things you can do is take time to listen carefully to what others are saying, considering both verbal and non-verbal communication. Using techniques like questioning and reflection demonstrates that you are both listening and interested in a client’s story.
  • Verbal. When you are talking, be aware of the words you use. Seek feedback or clarification to ensure your message has been understood. By using questions effectively, you can learn more from clients.
  • Non Verbal Signals. Non-verbal communication actually plays a much bigger part than many of us are aware. Approximately three-quarters of a ‘message’ is communicated by non-verbal signals such as body language, tone of voice, and the speed at which you speak. These non-verbal signals reinforce or contradict the message of our words and are much harder to fake than words. They are therefore a much more reliable signal. Learning to read body language is a vital part of communication.

Once you are confident in your listening, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, you can move on to more advanced areas around communication, such as becoming more effective in how you speak, and understanding why you may be having communication problems. Communication is rarely perfect and can fail for a number of reasons.

The major issues that make conversations more difficult are Emotion and Change.

  • EMOTIONS: Various emotions can get in the way of communicating, such as anger, aggression, or stress. Few of us are able to communicate effectively when we are struggling to manage our emotions, so the best thing to do in this situation is postpone the conversation until you feel calmer. Remember to breath!
  • CHANGE: Difficult conversations are often about the need for change. Many of us find change hard, especially if it is criticism on our work. For example, when you have an unpleasant conversation with a client who is not happy with their hair or service. The thing to remember here is, detach your personal emotions from the persons opinion, listen to them and see how you can make the situation fair and a “win” for all.

My personal growth journey mastering my own interpersonal skills continues. As I learn, I find it easier to listen, ask questions and understand others emotions and their reactions to a situation. It helps me connect with others, especially my students and it’s particularly useful with my teenage girls!

Remember, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.

Love Dario x

“What Ever it Takes”

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Hairbiz Magazine Page 96. Issue March 2021

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