Have you ever seen a movie where the actor nailed the part? Where you were so enraptured by their performance that you almost forgot they were acting? When you think back to that movie, how much of their ability to disappear into the character was based on the lines they said? How much of the performance was based on their mannerisms, their facial expressions, or their posture?
Strong non-verbal communication skills can improve your personal and professional life. This goes beyond hair, makeup, and wardrobe. In today’s selfie and Snapchat filter culture, we often lose sight of one of the most primal levels of communication – body language. The next time you’re at work, try to pay attention to what you are saying without words. Is your body language communicating effectively when you interact with clients? Your colleagues? Your boss? Why does it even matter?
HOW ARE YOU PRESENTING YOURSELF?
Whether new to aesthetics or a veteran in the industry, anyone can benefit from body language awareness.
If new to aesthetics, congratulations on your new adventure. School goes by so quickly, and that state board exam was dreadful, but you’ve made it. Or have you? Do you feel like everyone around you knows more than you? Or like you just can’t learn fast enough? What are you bringing to the table for your clients as a new graduate? Are you able to present yourself as confident, approachable, and professional, even though you are experiencing some self-doubt? How do you build rapport while building on your education?
If you are a veteran aesthetician, congratulations on all your achievements. Time flies when you are having fun, and with all the advancements in the industry, it feels like there is always a new modality or product that you can bring to your clients. When was the last time you decided on a little revamp to bring a fresh, new you to your clients? You worked hard to establish great relationships with your loyal clients. Does your body language reflect how much you respect them and value their business?
The way you carry yourself and the message you send through posture are critical components to making a great first impression. This sets the tone for your relationship going forward. Are you exuding confidence or dominance? Approachability or fear? Intellect or arrogance? Knowing the subtle differences can make all the difference.
The first step is to be aware that you could benefit from making some positive changes. It may help to ask a few of your trusted friends, coworkers, or family members if they have any feedback for you on your body language and communication. You may not be aware of something simple, like a tendency to avoid eye contact or not smiling when you say hello to people. Asking those close to you for their feedback may bring small, transformable details to light.
Once you have your list, implement changes. Smile and make eye contact when you shake hands with someone. Sit up straight and nod your head encouragingly during client consultations. Avoid crossing your arms or putting your hands in your pockets while speaking to your clients about their treatment options. These types of adaptations may feel awkward at first, but if you continue to practice them, you will soon find them to be second nature.
Once you’ve adopted new body language, keep going. There is always room for improvement and learning. Maybe you can learn how to better read your clients’ body language. Or, if you are changing jobs, it could be helpful to learn tips about body language for a job interview. What are some behaviors to avoid when considering body language?
How effective is your communication overall? If you find that you are missing opportunities on retail sales and rebookings, it is possible that your communication skills could be improved. What we intend to say and what is heard are not always congruent. It is possible that a few adjustments to your language and word choice could change the tone or direction of a conversation. Do you send e-mail or text correspondence to clients? What is the tone of your written communication? Are you careful to use positive, upbeat word choices?
At the end of the day, we are in the business of customer service. Being able to communicate effectively on all levels is directly correlated to growth and success. Little changes can make a big difference. Your clients will notice, appreciate, and reward your efforts.
Briana McKee is a Texas licensed aesthetician since 2010 and founder and moderator of Texas (A)estheticians Circle on Facebook. Her passion is providing support to spa industry professionals through education and networking. She currently works as a senior business development manager for a leading aesthetic device company.
Leo Cardenas is a body language expert and speaker who is passionate about helping people understand the power of nonverbal communication to communicate, connect, and collaborate better. Cardenas currently creates programs and workshops for corporations and conferences that want to take advantage of their body language superpowers.