How conscious are you of your voice? Have you ever thought about how your voice sounds to a client during a treatment? Do you change your tone to reflect your clients’ tone, or do you change your speed and pitch when communicating with a client who is also fast and loud? Perhaps you’ve never noticed your voice prior to us asking just now. Well in the words of Sally Prosser; a well-known Australian voice coach, ‘no matter who you are or what you do, your voice matters. So unless you’ve sworn a lifetime vow of silence, your voice is something you need to be aware of. Our very own Tamara Reid, Founding Director of Beaute Industrie sat down with Sally to discuss the topic of ‘how to get a spa voice’.
Opening the conversation, Sally asks Tamara ‘Could you do your job if you lost your voice?’. Which is an interesting thought to ponder – could a person in the professional beauty industry do their job without a voice? To be perfectly honest, we could do an element of our job as a beauty, dermal, massage or spa therapist, which would be the physical aspect of the treatment. However, as Tamara explores “it would be very, very difficult to explain to clients what you’re going to do to them, how to hop on and off the bed and how to maintain their treatment. So I would say maybe 20% is a yes, however, a good 80% would be a no.”
So, why the importance of voice in an industry which relies on our hands? “A lot of people still yet haven’t had a treatment ever! And so a lot of the time for clients, it is quite daunting. When a client walks into a space, a therapist has to be quite emotionally intelligent and have a beautiful voice, which evokes a sense of calm, a sense of relaxation and also a sense of knowledge and experience, because within the first seven seconds the first impression is made.” Tamara continues, “within these first seven seconds it doesn’t matter what you say, it matters how you say it – that’s your tone of voice! So, if a client were waiting in a lounge area, and we were to greet them and say, ‘Sally, my name’s Tamara, I’m going to be your therapist today. Let’s go on through to the treatment room’, the client already knows instinctively whether that treatment is going to be good or not just based on that first interaction!”. A fascinating notion given our magic is held in our hands as a therapist, yet we cannot quickly give a new client a seven-second scalp massage to convince them of this rather than the tradition greeting we provide.
Producing a calm and relaxed voice filled with knowledge and expertise can sometimes be difficult for therapists if they’re running around between clients and they’re not calm themselves, so Sally asks “what would you advise a therapist do to get into that state of being relaxed when they are running around?”.
It’s a great question to ask, and a lot of the time therapists have to train themselves because we are very empathetic people by nature! “If you are busy, you hold that within you and then you invoke that into your client,” explains Tamara. “So it’s always important that before you open that door and ask the client, are you ready? Or, may I enter the room? that you actually have to centre yourself and you have to be present. That means you have to forget about Saturday night, forget about boyfriend, forget about what you’re going to eat for lunch, and you need to centre yourself ready for that client and ask yourself, how can I give this client my all and my 100% – because at the end of the day, when you are having a treatment, you are swapping time for money, so it is absolutely imperative that you are connecting with your client and that is your brain and that is your presence and your energy. Otherwise you can start to bring in your life and your own feelings into the treatment room and the client has enough of that, which they want to get out and relax as well!”
When speaking about communication and talking to clients, how do you gauge what the right level of speaking is? Does your client want relation from their treatment today, or perhaps they’re hungry for education and they want you to describe every step of the treatment – what’s the best way to ask them?
Tamara suggests, “just to be 100% sure what your client is after, I would always advise that people have this question on their consultation forms. On some consultation forms, it will point blank ask you how much talking would you like in today’s treatment? The client can generally tick low, medium or high. So for example, if you’ve ticked low, well, then you might explain how the treatment is going to be performed today, how to get onto the bed, and then you might recap the treatment. Versus a high level of talking would be how you’re going to get on the bed, what’s going to be performed today, the individual steps, as you’re explaining (ie. this is the *insert cleanser*, this is the *insert mask*) And then afterwards would give you quite a prescriptive base. A general way to gauge this for your client is, if you’re providing a relaxation treatment, I would say generally provide a low to moderate amount of talking, versus if your client does have a concern (for example, concerned with acne scarring or ageing) and they wanted a solution, then you would probably discuss the things around that concern and confirm how that concern is going to be treated and the followup products required – and that would be a high level of talking.”
All this being noted, if the importance of a therapist’s voice no matter which segment of the industry you’re in is so important, why are we not taught about the importance of communication and voice in our studies?
“You don’t really find your voice until you are a little bit more experienced. It’s almost until you have had a treatment yourself and heard another therapist or a client in the hallway or in the lounge, or until you’ve heard a receptionist laughing with a client, that you truly understand the power of voice and they way in which we communicate. I think you have to A) find your voice to understand how to change it, but also hear other people’s voices and see how they sound, reflect and think, okay how am I consciously thinking about my own sound? So, not only do you have to understand the education of the treatment, how to perform the treatment practically and how to communicate with your client, but then how is all that enveloped in how and what you say, which is quite difficult sometimes!”
We are curious to know what you think about your voice? It is something you have ever thought about previously? Have you heard therapists and clients communicating while you’re in treatment or have you overheard a conversation and thought ‘I really liked the way Erika explained that, I might give it a try’?
If yes, we would love to know what and how you thought about your voice and comment on our Facebook post to let us know, or you can tune into the entire conversation with Sally Prosser and Tamara Reid over on the That Voice Podcast episode number 50