Beauty Link - Volume 4, Issue 1 - (Page 35)
WHY SOFT SKILLS MATTER
BY SUSAN MILLER
TUDENTS enroll in beauty school expecting to learn the techniques that will prepare them to work in the beauty industry. While cutting, coloring and manicuring are essential skills for students to learn, some less tangible but very important skills should not be overlooked—soft skills.
Why are Soft Skills So Important?
Soft skills encompass everything from good manners and eye contact to reading a customer’s non-verbal cues that she’d rather not chat. The term reﬂects a range of human qualities including kindness, compassion and attentiveness.
While soft skills are not complex, instructors shouldn’t discount their importance. “The nature of the beauty industry demands soft skills more than most other ﬁelds,” says Caitlin Kelly, author of Malled—My Unintentional Career in Retail, a book that explores customer service in a post-recession world. Kelly says that whereas most transactions are all about purchasing the product, the salon visit is about the experience, even in a student salon. Additionally, a salon is one of the few places where clients and employees connect through physical touch. The tactile nature of a facial or determining the right water temperature for a shampoo demands a higher level of trust than that required for many high-dollar purchases.
Challenges for Young Students
Soft Skills Do’s and Don’ts
CONTRIBUTED BY KATHY JAGER When it comes to soft skills, your school’s staff can’t forget to “practice what they preach.” Hairstylist, author and speaker Kathy Jager says that school management and staff have an opportunity to model effective soft skills in their everyday classroom interactions.
Top 10 Classroom Do’s
1. Maintain a sense of humor 2. Energize the classroom presentation 3. Know the subject/content 4. Explain things clearly 5. Invest time to help students 6. Model fairness 7. Treat students like adults 8. Relate and empathize with students 9. Show consideration for students’ feelings 10. Avoid favoritism and “teacher’s pets”
Soft skills can be challenging for young people accustomed to communicating through texts and instant messaging. “It’s not their fault they were born into a high-tech world,” says Steve Cascia, a motivational trainer who helps contractors develop soft skills in their technical employees. Cascia says eye contact may not be natural for young people, yet they must practice nonverbal behaviors with older clients who associate competence and integrity with eye contact and handshakes. “Communicating with different customer types is like speaking the language when you’re in a foreign country. Salon staff should communicate in a way that reﬂects the client’s age, verbal cues and communication preferences,” said Kelly.
How to Bring Soft Skills into the Classroom
How can schools integrate soft skills into their curriculum? Role playing various scenarios is a great way to discuss and model soft skills in the classroom. Schools can also bring in experts from non-salon environments to discuss tips for improving soft skills. A school might invite a representative from a luxury hotel, or a retailer renowned for their service, such as Nordstrom or Apple, to speak as a guest expert.
Top 10 Classroom Don’ts
1. Present content in a boring manner 2. Establish unclear expectations 3. Demonstrate favoritism 4. Bring a poor attitude into the classroom 5. Expect too much 6. Demonstrate a standoffish attitude 7. Overload/overwhelm students with homework 8. Refuse to be ﬂexible 9. Withhold personalized attention 10. Lack control in the classroom
The Student Salon Isn’t a Dress Rehearsal
Employees working in a student salon should never assume their customers are not afﬂuent and will consequently tolerate subpar service. The Great Recession has created a seismic shift in how customers spend their money. “Assume nothing in when it comes to customers and how they spend their money. Treat everyone like they are your most valuable client,” Kelly advises. Susan Miller is the editorial director for BeautyLink magazine.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Beauty Link - Volume 4, Issue 1
Message from the AACS President and CEA Chair
Workings of Washington
A Trade Show Workout
Building a Bulletproof School
The Art of Edutainment
Beyond the Fluff
And Then There's Compliance
Beauty Changes Lives
Spring Operations Conference Info
AACS Is Connecting Members
Associate Member Profiles: Collections
People & Places
New Products & Services
New School Members
Upcoming 2012 Events
Index to Advertisers
Beauty Link - Volume 4, Issue 1