My Nana’s Rules for Conversation

Carlos Valenzuela | August 16, 2012 | 8:44 AM

We Latinos have a gift of comadrear. We can chat with anyone, about anything and laugh at the latest chiste or chisme. I can sit for a couple of hours with my friends, no hay problema.  When it comes to the salon, what do you think? Are our clients friends, strictly business? Some? Depends?

My Nana’s Rules for Conversation

Do you listen to your cliente? Or, do you just wait for your turno to talk? Hey, maybe you don’t even wait? ¡Guau!  Don’t you remember your Nana telling you to be nice to people so they will like you? Because when people like you, she claimed,you get all the goodies. Or, so it went.

In the salon, we often have to erase personal boundaries. No, not everyone is cool or your best friend. And, unless you know your client really well, follow my Nana’s customer service reglas:

Concentrate on your work and don’t get distracted. My Nana would threaten you with her slipper (la chancla). Even if you know you have it under control, a client resents you multitasking while you create her winning look. Don’t talk on your teléfono or have a long conversation with another stylist or client. Keep your eye contact on your client, not creepy, but almost exclusively.

Dos: Talk about your client’s interests. Which comment do you feel applies to you best?
A) My clients think I am the most interesting person in the world.
B) I make my clients feel like the most interesting person in the world.
Por Favoooooor.

 Tres: Silence is a good option. Nana’s rule was “Don’t trust people who talk a lot.” Conversation is not necessary all the time. I stopped going to a masseuse who would not be silent during my massage. Remember the car ride with that chica who never stop chatting?

There are those clientes who don’t seem to let go until they get to the salon. And then, they go, and go, and go some more. This is where Nana’s handy rule número cuatro comes in.

Cuatro: Practice Mm-mm. This works in any language. When client chatter goes into dangerous territory, and, don’t get me wrong, I like to hear the punch line, too (come on, folks), keep neutral--don’t contribute or applaud. Just stay on task and use your Mm-mm.

Here is a secret weapon for eternal success: Say nothing negative about others. Si,stop badmouthing today. Gain mastery over this skill and you will become powerful beyond your wildest dreams. This may take a little practice, but practice, in this case, does make perfect. You will gather more clients with silence than wit.

Hasta pronto,


 Contact Carlos Valenzuela at  [email protected]

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