Whenever my brother gets his haircut the stylist always does a different job. I always ask him if he wanted it the way it came out and he replies with, “why, you don’t like it?” Translation: he doesn’t like it.
Every time he comes with another botched haircut, I tell him my secret for getting the haircut I want every time, in an effort to help him finally get a nice ‘do. However, being a stubborn guy, he continues to just hope for the best every time he sits in a stylist’s chair.
Both my brother and I get our haircuts at local independently-owned shops nearby (we don’t have a loyalty with one). The stylists are skilled — however, there is usually a slight communication gap between the stylist and ourselves (most of the stylists are non-native English Speakers.) I, too, used to have the same issue my brother did, until I realized the main culprit was deceptively simple: Communication.
I have 4 simple tips for better communication:
1.) Eliminate jargon – If someone says “bowl cut” or “crew cut” these cuts should be universal but they are not treated equal everywhere, make sure to clarify. Similarly, in the business world, terms like “collaborative environment” and “dynamic salesperson” may mean very different (and often ambiguous) things at different workplaces.
2.) Use simple language – I ask for specifics, like the gauge of the shavers (#1,2,3,4, etc. ), or try using inches. Again, applied to the workforce, consider emails and other modes of communication: it can be helpful to avoid pseudo-intellectual statements and wordiness. Keep It Simple.
3.) Do not assume – Just because someone says “okay, got it” does not mean they do! You can always respond, “Right, so you’re going to ____?”
4.) Use Body Language – I recently read a book called Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman. In it, he states that “happy,” “sad,” etc. are easy to interpret for most people, no matter what language they speak. In addition, acting out in body language with hand signals can also improve communication.
What do I tell my stylist? “A #3 on the side, fade to the top, and 1 inch off of the top (I show the stylist by standing my hair up with my fingers, and only revealing what I want off)”
It works 90+ percent of the time!
Speaking of which — guess where I am going today?
Drew Patterson, MBA