Clients often don’t know what they want. That’s okay. Not knowing is the reason they come to a creative professional like you. But how do you move clients along when they don’t know what they want?

You are running late, and every minute counts. You already listened, asked key questions, and offered options and suggestions, but still nothing. Who knows why—they might not know, don’t care, or are having a bad day.

If you could change one simple thing in your communication, you could completely transform how people perceive your needs. I lived many years unaware of this magical move. As soon as I learned it, I began using it everywhere. And it works!

What is the pause?

It’s important to speak up, but timing is everything. Speak less (seriously), measure and choose your words carefully, and pause. Pausing for emphasis is a quick break in speaking before responding to anything—just three to five seconds. It gives weight to what you're saying.

Why do it?

Incorporating the pause during your consultation phase shows the client that you are listening and that what they say is important to you. It tells the client you are actively listening, understanding, and ready to personalize their suggestions, enhancing their satisfaction and trust.

How do you do it?

Ask the client an open-ended question or one that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Listen to their response attentively. Maintain friendly (non-creepy) eye contact, and don't say another word for a few seconds. These seconds are known in psychology as the "pause technique."

What’s the benefit?

The pause facilitates effective communication, collaboration, and decision-making, ensuring that the final result aligns with the client's vision and preferences. By embracing the power of the pause, hairdressers elevate the client experience and establish long-lasting professional relationships.

De-escalating Tension

A pause can calm the atmosphere of a heated conversation. In the past, if ever caught in a difficult conversation, I would listen, thinking of my probable answer. I didn’t know to allow a few seconds to go by, then reply with a good answer. A pause relaxes your mind and body. Aside from better handling your behavior, a pause breeds confidence and adds energy to your message.

Don’t wait until your next consultation. Begin now using the pause in all your conversations. The pause is your superpower.

Carlos Valenzuela is a bilingual writer and a past global beauty educator with a master's in international business. He writes about positivism and success for Modern Salon. and is the author of the multi-award-winning novella Letters to Young Carlos and its sequel, Camaleón: The Lost Years Living in the Closet. 

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