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The Power of Social Fluency
By: Annet King
Posted: June 11, 2008
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Before engaging in conversation, look straight into their eyes. Allow for two full seconds in which you simply look before you speak. Then smile, step closer, extend your hand, touch the person’s arm or shoulder, and start talking. The look is more important than the words you say—it’s how you make a truly visceral connection. Then ask a friendly question that gets the other person talking. If you have business cards, hand them out freely.
When greeting your client, locking eyes, as much as your gifted hands, is what helps to burn the impression of the treatment experience in their mind. It exposes you as being an open portal and invites them to connect energetically, beginning the experience of deep skin care. This is what the client takes away when returning to the world, as well as what leads to rebooking and referrals.
Looking and touching rapidly are becoming lost arts. Most people know that the emotional quotient (EQ) is the new intelligence quotient (IQ), but what’s missing these days is the social quotient (SQ). This is partly due to the fact that many individuals have become typists instead of talkers. Not only do you spend less time face to face—you spend less time actually conversing because you find it easier to use the keyboard, no matter how tiny the keys. Cold, pixilated text has replaced the human voice with its myriad of tones. As a result, society is becoming less social. Anyone who ever has felt the sting of a poorly worded e-mail knows all about this dangerous loss of social language.
This crucial fluency is being lost in the nuances of not only eye language, but also in every idiom of body language, as well as the nearly infinite range of vocal expression—from snarls to muses to purrs. These days, you often don’t know what to say and find yourself feeling awkward in situations that your grandmother would have handled with ease, because even a few decades ago there was an accepted social protocol.
This loss is evident in every aspect of modern life, including business. Consider the entry-level professional who answers the telephones in your spa—perhaps that person is you. There truly could not be a job that is more important to any professional setting. The telephone-answerer is a gatekeeper, an image-setter and more. A script often is supplied, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Some well-meaning business experts advise smiling or applying lipstick to improve your telephone manner, but this, too, only hints at a much larger awareness that is essential in order to win client loyalty verbally and interpersonally.