I have to do something I do not like to do. I have to sound like a mother. Yes, I know I am a mother, that doesn’t mean I like to sound like one. Today’s tale is more of a lesson, maybe a lesson you learned but have forgotten…I can only hope. Today’s lesson is this…when someone is speaking to you, listen to them. Shut your mouth and open your ears. You will get your turn to talk and believe it or not, what the other person is saying is just as important as all the little words aching to escape from your mouth.
Every day, and yes, I mean EVERYDAY, someone asks me a question about hair products and before I can finish a response, I am spoken over or get the all time no eye contact crossed arm toe tappin’ favorite “mm hmm” or “uh huh”. First of all, don’t do that, you look like an ass – may I remind you – you asked me a question. If you didn’t want me to speak to you maybe you shouldn’t have asked me a question. Second, just because some chick on YouTube said it was the “best product EVER!” doesn’t mean it is the best product EVER! for your hair. Third, do not select the words you like best that I have said and make up a whole new sentence – the telephone game has had it’s day and that day was in the third grade…last week if you are one of the ponytail yoga pant wearing women who’s turf is the school parking lot/drop off zone.
I understand that there is a lack of customer service out there and that we have all been led down the garden path a time or two, myself included…making your own candy molds kit – enough said. You need to remember something. There are those of us in the beauty biz that are professionals, that educate themselves on a daily basis, that have a passion for what we do, that will tell you the truth about products – not our truth – the truth – the facts that we have learned from our product knowledge classes and the answers we have been given. I can only speak for myself – by the end of every product knowledge class I have attended, the educator is exhausted by my questions. I ask what I know my customers/clients will want to know. If I am asking you to spend $15.00 on hairspray, I know that I better damn well know why. Trust me, I am far from perfect and make mistakes all the time. I also own up to my mistakes, say “I don’t know” when I don’t know and then find out as soon as I can. So, me being me, here is a little list for you. It can be used at your next Salon visit, dentist visit, even with your next coffee date with your bff.
– If you don’t want someone to speak to you, it is a good idea not to strike up a conversation. This tends to make the other person think you want to have a conversation.
– After you have asked someone a question, let them finish their answer – until their mouth stops moving yours should not.
– A conversation is not a game of beat the clock. If you can get your next question out before the other person has finished their answer, there isn’t a prize waiting for you behind door #1.
– If you don’t understand what the other person is talking about, tell them, nicely. “I’m sorry, I don’t follow what you are saying” is always better than “what the hell are you talking about asshole”.
– If you don’t know the answer, say you don’t know. Never pretend you know something you don’t. You will be found out and any respect you may have had will disappear.
– Listen. I don’t mean acknowledge that the other person is speaking. I mean listen to them. Don’t just nod your head silently repeating to yourself the next sentence you are going to say. Hey – you want attention. So do they.
– When someone tells you an answer other than the one you have, don’t assume they are lying. Maybe they have the proper facts and you do not – remember – just because someone is a Doctor doesn’t mean they graduated top of the class.
– As Muhammad Ali said “If you can back it up it ain’t braggin'”. If you can’t back it up – stop braggin’ and check your facts.
So there you have it. Listen. Pay attention. Be patient. Do not assume you know best and everyone else doesn’t know what they are talking about. It is best not to paint everyone with the same brush, if you aren’t careful, you will become a part of your own masterpiece.