The Importance of Communication Skills as a Hairstylist


Communication is at the very foundation of hair styling. Its importance can’t be overstated. Success as a hairstylist is impossible without it. A hairstylist must communicate openly with their clients in order to give them the hairstyle they are looking for. Bad communication can lead to disappointed clients and frustrating experiences. Communication can be a skill that doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. Here are three important areas essential to hairstylist communication. Here are some tips on how a hairstylist might to improve communication skills.

The Importance of Being Inviting

The hair styling experience is different for everyone. Some find the change exciting. Others like to enjoy the pampering side of professional hair care. People can also find a change in hairstyle a little bit scary, even if they are ultimately in favor of a change. It is important that a hairstylist is ready to create an atmosphere that will enhance enthusiasm and ease anxiety. It doesn’t matter how good the hairstylist is, they are going to have a difficult time cultivating a reliable client base if they are socially unapproachable. Here are a few tips that can help clients feel relaxed and confident.

Consider Body Language

It can be difficult for someone to approach a stranger who appears closed off from the very beginning. A hairstylist may be surprised what a little bit of posturing and positioning can do to open up an easy dialogue. Things such as folding your arms, slouching, nervous fidgeting and violation of personal space are some of the physical behaviors that may make a client uneasy. A hairstylist should try to remain confident and relaxed by standing straight with their shoulders open. They should refrain from any postures that may come off as aggressive and maintain an appropriate conversational distance.

Be Mindful of Tone

A good deal of communication is in inflection. The tone of a hairstylist’s voice can change the entire meaning of the words they are saying, so it is important that they pay attention not only to what they are saying but also how they say it. The hairstylist should make sure that the tone of their voice matches what they are trying to communicate. It is important that sarcasm, metaphors and turns of phrase are used with extreme caution, as these can lead to a miscommunication between a hairstylist and their client.

Keep Facial Expressions Under Control

The hairstylist may resist the immediate urge to react to a style they don’t care for when a client asks for it. It could be their forced lack of reaction to a client’s hair crisis. There are many ways the control over facial expressions play a role in communication with clients. Staying both professional and personable with expression during a client interaction can be the difference between a one-time customer and a loyal client.

The Importance of Asking Good Questions

There are inevitably going to be clients a hairstylist will encounter that are very difficult to communicate with. They may come from different backgrounds or have different terminology for various styles and trends. There are many things that can cause a misunderstanding or a miscommunication between hairstylist and a client. Initially it may seem that these kinds of differences will prohibit a hairstylist from delivering their best. There are a few things that a hairstylist can remember that will help them ask good questions and deliver good results even in difficult communication situations.

Ask Open Ended Questions Instead of Yes/No Questions

When a client is vague about what they want it is important to know what to ask them in order to gain clarity about what their ideal end result is. Knowing where to start isn’t always obvious, either. Throwing out specific style suggestions and hoping to get lucky with something the client likes can be time consuming and frustrating for everyone. Rather than play a game of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ or looking through endless volumes of picture suggestions, ask the client open ended questions. How much time does the client like to spend on their hair? Do they prefer layered looks or straight cuts? What is the overall vibe they are going for? Is there anything the client specifically doesn’t want? Take whatever information they give and add to by asking informational, open ended questions.

Don’t Ask Questions You Should Know the Answer to

Getting a client’s input and feedback on their preferences is different than asking them how to do a good job. A hairstylist will likely encounter a large variety of clients throughout their career and it is important that they know how to work with those differences. A hairstylist will be responsible for knowing how to style different textures and lengths of hair and should not rely on their clients for this information. Clients of different races and cultures should all feel equally confident in the hairstylist’s skill and ability. A hairstylist should continue to master the foundational basics and their continued education shouldn’t happen on a client’s time.

Be as Direct as Possible

Confronting certain issues and asking certain questions directly is an uncomfortable thought for many people. The urge to avoid communicating directly is understandable. However, it is important to remember to not be unkind or rude. A hairstylist needs to be clear in what they are trying to communicate or ask. A hairstylist will need this skill for a variety of different situations throughout their career. It may be a client has unrealistic expectations that a hairstylist needs to address. It could be that the hairstylist suspects a client has a scalp condition or health concern that may prevent them from providing service. These situations are difficult without a doubt, but they are not made any easier by hinting at them or avoiding them. A hairstylist should be direct and as sensitive as possible while also doing their best to be clear what they are asking and saying.

The Importance of Listening

Listening is a skill that is going to be crucial to a hairstylist’s success. It doesn’t matter what level of styling skill they have the hairstylist has no hope of success if they aren’t sure what is being asked of them. Knowing what a client wants is the only way a hairstylist can help a client Let’s take a look at a few of the things a hairstylist can keep in mind to improve and enhance their listening skills.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Making assumptions about what a client wants means a hairstylist isn’t bothering to listen to the client, or even include the client in the conversation about their hair. Assumptions take away a person’s ability to choose what they want for themselves. It can also be embarrassing when a client must point out that the hairstylist is jumping to conclusions. Clients should feel important and in control of their own style. Even if a hairstylist is sure they know what their client wants, it is always better to ask and be certain.

Pay Attention

Distractions are everywhere. Many situations make it hard to concentrate on what a client is saying. It is imperative that a hairstylist stay present and focused during their interactions with their clients. A hairstylist is going to keep their mind from wandering if they hope to give their clients a satisfying experience and a look that they genuinely connect to and feel good about. Minimize personal and professional distractions when and where possible to help keep focus. When the distractions are unavoidable a hairstylist can use eye contact, mental checklists and conversation to keep their attention where it needs to be.

Make Sure to Clarify What Was Heard

A hairstylist shouldn’t be afraid to ask a client if they understood what the client is asking. Even if a hairstylist feels like they have a solid idea of what is expected of them it doesn’t hurt to be certain of those expectations. A hairstylist can do this by restating what the client has asked so that the client can determine if the hairstylist is on the same page or not. Asking questions and listening will let a hairstylist understand what a client wants. Restating those expectations back to the client before the hairstylist starts lets the client know whether or not the hairstylist heard them correctly.

Communication is important in establishing trust and exuding confidence. Now you not only know that communication skills are important, you know what is important about them and how you can apply them to your career. Not every professional interaction you have will be effortless or easy, but there are things you can do through communication that will help you through challenging situations.

Ready to learn more about how communication skills help a hairstylist succeed? Interested in earning your diploma in Cosmetology? Meridian College offers a Cosmetology training program in Florida that prepares you to deliver high–quality beauty and hair services to both men and women. Their hands–on Cosmetology training program gives you the skills you need to start an exciting career and become a leader in the beauty industry.

Contact Meridian College today to learn more about becoming a hairstylist.