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  • Everbody’s talkin’ at me: LOQUACIOUSNESS

    OH, BEHAVE! Keeping Manners In Mind
    by Annet King

    Many etiquette-experts devote lots of advice to the art of polite conversation.

    But today, we live in the age of TMI. We now know things about people we’ve barely met that, a generation ago, would never have gotten outside a doctor’s office, the confessional booth, or a tightly locked diary stashed under the floorboards.

    Which brings me to this: now especially, one of the truly lost arts of conversation is knowing when to simply zip it. When to put a cork in the proverbial pie-hole. When and how to allow natural spaces to easily open up, amidst all of the chatter.

    Part of having good manners, and simply good sense, is knowing that sometimes other people want sweet, healing silence from us as well.

    This is an essential discipline for skin therapists. The sanctity of the treatment room may seem like a good place for a chat. It isn’t, even if the client herself is chatty. Your role as the resident professional demands that you diplomatically minimize the talk.

    Some clients get talky because they are nervous about getting naked in front of you, perhaps. It is your job as a professional to put their minds at ease, and softly silence them.

    The other sort of client already feels that she is paying for a professional service, and looks forward to an hour or more without small-talk. It’s not that this client does not “like” you. If this were the case, she would not be there. She simply wants to sprawl on the massage table or the treatment bed and turn her mind off until it’s time to return to earth and try to remember what her car looks like, and where she lives. (And where did those lovely children come from???)

    The skilled skin therapist needs to begin the session with professional Q & A up-front, but then should cut the chatter to a polite minimum. This allows even the buzzy, high-energy client to turn her internal noise down. If the client starts up about her favorite television show or other small-talk, murmur once or twice in response, making each answer shorter and shorter until you literally are silent. Ask the client if she wants ear-plugs (when, in fact, you may want them yourself!).

    With any luck, she’ll take the hint and allow you to transport her into the realm of silently communicating skin. This is, after all, why she came to you. And then you simply need to say, in hushed tones, “Okay, take your time…sit up slowly…and I’ll meet you at the front desk.”

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