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The Power of Social Fluency

By: Annet King
Posted: June 11, 2008

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When a client asks how you are, remember that this is a social pleasantry, not an invitation for you to start chattering. Also, you are not a professional movie critic or a prize-winning philosopher, so don’t go off on a rant. Do not be full of opinions. And when the client asks, “How was your vacation in Bulgaria?” or “How are things with your divorce?” or “When does that lovely neck brace come off?” answer as pleasantly and briefly as possible. Turn every polite inquiry back to the client—they should be the focus of the appointment.

No entrepreneur is an island

Perhaps this sort of social assertiveness feels a bit intimidating to you. Connection and communication are at the heart of your profession. Yet many—if not most—skin care therapists are entrepreneurs, and nearly every entrepreneur will tell you that there is an aspect of solitude to their work. Entrepreneurial success is based on an ability and willingness to work alone.

Compared with hair and nail artists, skin care therapists tend to be contained and introspective. Think about it: You choose to work in small dimly lit rooms one-on-one with half-naked clients who you render virtually incapable of speech through the alchemy of your effleurage, petrissage, tapotement and more. This would not be described as the chosen profession of an extrovert, especially when contrasted with the flouncy hair and nail worlds. But you reach deeply into the consciousness and being of your clients—what could be more intimate?

The science, craft and art of skin care are all about communication that involves nonverbal contact even more than words. Although you literally “press the flesh” for a living, you may cringe at the thought of networking in the sense of glad-handing and working a room. The fact is that your largely silent communion with your clients is a powerful form of networking. Your profession requires the total package—your voice, your eyes and, of course, your good hands. Most importantly, you network via the human skin, and this is the most personal and profound language on Earth. Speak it with love.