Friday, 29 March 2019 00:03

Real Talk: Dealing with Difficult Conversations

Written by   Antonia Schreiber, licensed massage therapist, cosmetologist, and electrologist

Communication is an important part of being an aesthetician – not only with clients, but with colleagues and coworkers, as well. As life and work would have it, conflicts arise and can prove to make communication not only challenging, but also unpleasant at times. Whether a manager or not, at some point in a career, if not with some regularity, an individual will have to have difficult conversations. How dramatic or unpleasant a conversation is has a lot to do with how the situation is approached and starts with a willingness to accept that tough conversations are a part of life and that they do not have to ruin a day or take emotions hostage.Communication is an important part of being an aesthetician – not only with clients, but with colleagues and coworkers, as well. As life and work would have it, conflicts arise and can prove to make communication not only challenging, but also unpleasant at times. Whether a manager or not, at some point in a career, if not with some regularity, an individual will have to have difficult conversations. How dramatic or unpleasant a conversation is has a lot to do with how the situation is approached and starts with a willingness to accept that tough conversations are a part of life and that they do not have to ruin a day or take emotions hostage.

 

Unpleasantries can arise at work because of anything – from dissatisfied clients to a conflict with a coworker. No matter the source of distress, it is important to not shy away from an uncomfortable situation and ignore it or let it fester. Problems, great and small, do not just dissolve. They do the exact opposite – they compound. Instead of putting off a conversation and letting anxiety build, lean into the situation and come at it head on with the goal of resolving the issue at hand. It is critical to acknowledge the situation and the parties involved and make it a goal of conversations to be positive, transparent, and constructive.

 

It is important to note that tough conversations may occur between any two professionals – from management to service providers. Also, professionals enter the workforce with varied backgrounds – from fresh out of high school to seasonal individuals making career changes. What does that mean and how is it relevant to the conversation? It means that there are different levels of life and professional experience. Not everyone comes from the same background, not even remotely close, which means communication styles will vary drastically. 

 

When it comes to aestheticians of all ages and experience – especially, perhaps, women – they often shy away from having transparent conversations because they fear that if they speak bluntly, while being open, honest, and direct, they will cross an invisible line and step into an undesirable role of being perceived as rude and hostile. However, this leads to individuals lying about how they feel and putting up a façade over speaking the truth. That is a big problem and keeps professionals from doing their best work as service providers, coworkers, and colleagues. The potential for every role professionals play in their work is profoundly limited when professionals avoid having honest conversations.

 

The only way to get better at having tough conversations is like everything else in life: practice. Few people have an innate ability to navigate troubled waters; it is a skill that is learned and practiced. If professionals work on empowering each other to speak openly and honestly, they will create endless possibilities. After all, the better professionals communicate with each other, the better their work will be, and the better the work is, the better the industry is.

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