How to Communicate Like an Effective Spa Manager

Have you ever tried to communicate a new idea or project to folks who don't necessarily think or operate the same way you do? Have you ever heard dead silence or saw a bunch of vacant looks?

Even your simplest request can get lost in translation if you don't communicate effectively. If your salon/day spa is having a hiccup or two around getting the results you're looking for just read on:

Have conversations—not monologues
Many entrepreneurs want to get results so badly; they issue directives rather than clarifying or discussing what you want. Take your time, choose the setting, ask questions, listen, and then respond appropriately. Develop the habit of having a conversation.

Share the vision—the big picture
The Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland said, "If you don't know where you are going, then it doesn't matter which road you take, does it?" Provide direction where you see the company going and the strategies you see for getting there. Be open for others ideas. You'll find that after your team understands where the salon/day spa is going, they'll be much more confident in you and their own ability to contribute.

Speak—simply and clearly
Think things through so you can best articulate an opportunity you want to capitalize on or a problem that you want to solve. You don't have to figure everything out. You just have to create a framework so your team gets a clear idea of the results you want.

Listen—be prepared to handle objections
Start with the mindset that problems are opportunities. When the team questions your idea and gives you reasons it might not fly, you won't be frustrated. Instead, analyze the situation and identify the obstacles that must be overcome for success. This is the beginning of your execution plan. The great thing is you create an environment where people feel free to express themselves so you have the makings of an entrepreneurial environment. Also, remember you're attached to the idea and they aren't. Their objections may be valid.

Create realistic expectations
Remember the R in S.M.A.R.T. stands for realistic. It takes time for your vision to become a reality. If you are a true entrepreneur, you may not be excited about working out all the details...this is where your team comes in. Share you wisdom and experience, and let them get on with it. Let them know they can bring you in if they get stuck. Be supportive rather than critical when they bring you problems.

Identify your "first mates"
Some people want to jump on board more quickly than others do. Know your crew and work with those who are willing to test new ideas. They're flexible and can quickly overcome setbacks. Once they're working with you, the others will surely follow.

Acknowledge small wins
Look for small wins as signs of success and acknowledge them in public. This helps you build momentum for the idea or project. You're also communicating it's worth the time and energy.

Look at things from another perspective
In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey writes, "seek to understand to be understood." Understand your team looks at and responds to things differently than you do. Look at situations from their prospective. You'll gain insight into how to best communicate with them. Remember, they're there to support you and your business goals. They welcome clarity because it makes their job so much easier.

Understand who's within shouting range
If you're like most owner/managers, you have tons of ideas floating through your mind, most of which will never see the light of day. However, if you're constantly talking about them to people (other than your trusted advisors— sounding boards), you may put yourself in harm's way. Why? Because some people are action people who, if they hear something, will automatically assume you want it done. Too many owner/managers have spoken aloud to the wrong crowd, only to discover later that the team was working on the wrong stuff.

Be aware of the impact of your position
By definition, the role of the owner/manager is different from any other position. Likewise, your people respond to you very differently than they would to anyone else in the salon/day spa. Make sure you are aware of the impact of all your communications: verbal, written, and physical. Use your position wisely: as a positive role model for innovation and courage.